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Writing Program: WP120

Librarian for Humanities


Karen Gillum | Librarian for Humanities


To look for E-Books, change Entire CBB Collection to E-Books

or a complete list of Colby's databases, Click here

►For 1-minute Videos on more resources and techniques ... Click here

Directions on signing up for ILL

Research Links



Look for ARTICLES in:

  • Academic Search Complete - A broad database including both academic and popular periodicals
  • MLA International Bibliography - A database of articles on literature, most written by scholars
  • JSTOR - A collection of scholarly journals on Humanist topics. JSTOR searches the entire text of articles. This means you need to be a little more careful in framing your searches.
  • British Periodicals - covers from late 18th through the 19th century
  • ECCO - books, pamphlets, etc., from the 18th century
  • Shakespeare Survey - a yearbook of Shakespeare studies

Find more information in GUIDES on these authors:

Poetry sites on the Web:

Research Remotely


WP 120A: Language, Thought and Writing

Francis Hayman, Wrestling Scene from As You Like It, Tate Museum

Think Strategically About Your Research


  • On the Libraries' home page check UPDATES and REMOTE ACCESS.
  • Make sure you have Okta set up for access to articles in Colby databases.
  • Interlibrary loan connects you to even more articles electronically. How to register here.

Think Strategically about Your Research

  • Looking up background information first can save you time later - use Credo Reference, or Scribner Writers The Oxford English Dictionary gives definitions, etymologies, first known use of words
  • Use terminology and facts learned from the background information to search for articles in MLA International Bibliography, Academic Search Complete and other databases listed on the left
  • Search for books in any of Colby's catalogs, expanding your search with subject linking
  • Investigate the notes and bibliographies of every good source you find for leads to more
  • Think about what sorts of publications the information you need might be published in.

               Biographical? Try Scribner Writers, Credo, or monographic biographies.
               Contemporary reactions?  Search British Periodicals or ECCO.
               Literary analyses of an author? Search in MLA International Bibliography.

              Shakespeare in particular: Shakespeare Survey is a yearbook of studies in Shakespeare, many volumes focusing on some special aspect.

And if you need help with anything, don't hesitate to contact me:                              

Searching Tips


  • Use an asterisk to stand in for different word endings:  gene*  = genes, genetic, etc.
  • Use quotation marks to "glue together" a phrase:  "reproductive rights" 
  • Use parentheses & OR to search synonyms:  (death OR dying)


Find a good book or article in a Keyword search? Look at its item record to see if there are Subject Terms. Click on these links to find other items about that subject.


Check the notes, references and bibliographies of every relevant article or book. One good source can lead to another!


Use MLA style to create citations in the humanities

The purpose of citations

  • to show the research path someone took to develop an idea
  • to provide leads for other researchers 

You need to cite when...

  • you directly quote someone else
  • you refer to another person's ideas 
  • you outline someone else's argument  

EXAMPLE of MLA Style on a Works Cited Page for an article retrieved from a database:

Stuart, Christopher. "William Maxwell's So Long, See You Tomorrow and the Autobiographical Impulse." Critique: Studies in Contemporary                               Fiction, vol. 47, no. 3, 2006, pp. 261-73. MLA International Bibliography. 17 January 2013.

Thus the pattern is:

              Author. "Title of Article." Title of Journal, vol. #, no. #, year, pp. #s . Name of database. [doi if available]. Accessed [day month year].


MORE EXAMPLES and explanations at Purdue's OWL site:   

         In-Text Citation Formatting

Getting the Books! NOT AVAILABLE SPRING 2020


For books in Miller:

Look for the stacks plan beside the stairs.

For books at Bates, Bowdoin, or in Colby Storage:

Click on the CBB Request button in the record for the book you want. Then fill in your name and the barcode number (no letters) on the back of your Colby ID card.

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