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EN 200 B Foundations of Literary Studies (Sagaser): Research Resources

Find Scholarly Articles in Databases

Articles in scholarly journals are particularly important to academic research. They:

  • report original research in a specific discipline
  • use in-text citations and bibliographies
  • typically contain peer-reviewed articles

Above left: American Literature: a Journal of Literary History, Criticism and Bibliography
Above right: Shakespeare Quarterly

Magazines & Newspapers

The Atlantic

Magazines and newspapers are aimed toward popular and niche audiences and can vary in quality. Look for INTELLECTUAL POPULAR PUBLICATIONS that contain insightful articles incorporating evidence, reflection, exploration and analysis.

Although not as rigorous as scholarly journals in their analysis and use of citations, these type of articles can be valuable in building general knowledge and understanding.

However, peer-reviewed articles from scholarly journals and scholarly books from academic and university presses are the types of sources usually required in academic work.

Some of Colby's databases include magazine and newspaper articles. For multi-format databases, be sure and refine your search by using the source type limiter. Carefully evaluate each publication!

Find Articles in a Known Magazine or Newspaper

Want to see if Colby has a subscription to a particular magazine or journal?  On the Colby Libraries home page click on the "Journals and Articles" tab.  

Once the orange bar has moved down, enter the publication's name in the search box.

Note that Colby also has arrangements with the NEW YORK TIMES and the WALL STREET JOURNAL that enable Colby students to have their own FREE digital subscriptions to those publications. Sign up HERE.


OneSearch searches multiple resources at once. It's most useful for precise, controlled searches.

Use Advanced Search and limit by format.

To find an article listed in a bibliography, enter title of article in top row search box. You may need to also add the last name of the author in the second box.

To find book chapters discussing a writer or an artistic work, enter the name of the writer or the work in the search box and check the box Book Chapter in the "Show Content Type" limiter.

To find book reviews, enter the title of the book in the search box and check the box Book Review in the "Show Content Type" limiter.

Tree by Tommy Clark, 2013, Flickr (CC by-NC-ND 2.0).

Helpful Resources

Primary Sources

PRIMARY SOURCES - Documents and artifacts from a particular time or event. The testimonies, memories and recollections of people who experienced or witnessed an event. Original creative works. Examples:

  • Photos or images from the time being studied
  • Newspaper or magazine articles/ads from the time
  • "Personal narratives" (used in CBBcat records) and diaries
  • Novels, poems, artworks
  • Author's notes and original manuscripts
  • Reviews of a creative work at the time it was published

SECONDARY SOURCES - Writings after the fact by people who did not experience the event. Works analyzing a primary source. This includes the scholarly analysis found in journal articles.


Check related museums, archives and association websites (as listed above under Helpful Resources)

Colby Libraries Historical Newspapers webpage

Colby Libraries Primary Sources Guide

Library of Congress Digital Collections

Check Reference & Historical Context box for other resources that may include primary sources.

Search Google Advanced Search

  • Use archive-related phrases with your topic
  • "digital collections"
  • "oral histories"
  • papers (with an author's name)
  • Try adding the domain .edu or .gov
  • Evaluate archival sources carefully. What organization is curating the material?

Searching Tips


In library catalogs and databases, keyword searches only look for exact matches.

To narrow results, try using QUOTATION MARKS to glue together words in phrases, titles or an author's name. "stream of consciousness"

An ASTERISK is a wild card that stands in for different endings of a word. ideal* = ideal, ideals, idealism, idealistic



Subject searches take you to books that have been tagged as being about that person or subject. Identify SUBJECT HEADINGS by checking the item records found in a keyword search.

To find subject headings for an author, do a Subject Search using the author’s name (last name first): Douglass, Frederick (Select Subject from first drop-down option in CBBcat.)


Not very many search results?  Look for broader subject headings in item records. Browse these areas in Miller Library's bookstacks. Books covering broader topics may include chapters or significant passages on the author you're interested in. Check a book's table of contents and index.

Following a Citation Trail

Check the works cited, notes, references and bibliographies of every relevant article or book. You may discover a book or article perfect for your topic.

sample citations

Hafley, James Robert, 1928 - The Glass Roof: Virigina Woolf as a Novelist. Berkely: University fo California Press, 1954. (link to bibliography)

One good source can lead to another!
Look for a Cited Work using:

MLA Citation Help

Older editions of the MLA handbook are also available. Many databases still use the 7th edition.  OWL uses the 8th edition. Note the differences! Be consistent.

MLA 7th Edition: Falk, Cynthia G. "'The Intolerable Ugliness Of New York': Architecture And Society In Edith Wharton's The Age Of Innocence." American Studies 42.2 (2001): 19-43. MLA International Bibliography. Web. 19 Jan. 2017.

MLA 8th Edition: Falk, Cynthia G. "'The Intolerable Ugliness Of New York': Architecture And Society In Edith Wharton's The Age Of Innocence." American Studies, vol. 42, no. 2, 2001, pp. 19-43. EBSCO, Accessed 19 Jan. 2017.


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Laine Thielstrom
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For assistance via email, Zoom or in person. Miller 107C.

Find Books in Our Library Catalog

CBBcat, the library catalog, logo image

Search for physical and digital books, films and other media in our library catalog.

A book of literary criticism can be by a single author or can be an edited anthology with chapters ("book articles") on different aspects of the book's general theme.

To identify SCHOLARLY BOOKS, investigate/examine the:

  • author (university affiliation, research specialty)
  • publisher (academic or university press)
  • writing style & intended audience
  • arguments, analysis, study methodology
  • notes, references, bibliography

PRINT: Look at the location and call number. Most Colby owned books related to literature can be found on the two bottom floors of the Miller Library book stacks. Order books from Bates, Bowdoin and the Colby Annex by clicking CBB Request in an item record.

DIGITAL: look for a small circular red E in the icons to the left of your results . .

Or use the drop-downs on the CBBcat search page, for a more precise search.


Reference & Historical Context


No Full-Text?

Articles not available in full-text? Request through ILLiad, our interlibrary loan service. Some articles are sent in just a few hours.

In databases, look for Request from ILLiad or Request from another library links when you are directed to a screen that that says full-text is not available at Colby.

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