English 120 Course Guide
Bibliographer for English
- English Research Guides
- English Course Guides
- ENG 110 Course Guide
- ENG 120 Course Guide
- ENG 151 Course Guide
- ENG 165 Course Guide
- ENG 170 Course Guide
- ENG 251 Course Guide
- ENG 320 Course Guide
- ENG 333 Course Guide
- ENG 345 Course Guide
- ENG 391 Course Guide
- ENG 395 Course Guide
- ENG 399 Course Guide
- ENG 701 Course Guide
- ENG 724 Course Guide
- English Literature Subject Guides
The CUNY Catalog is the best place to search for books. There are two types of searches you may want to do.
Criticism of a work
Most authors are subject headings; try a Subject begins with… search and browse for subheadings like “dictionaries”, “encyclopedias”, and so forth.
Also notice other useful subheadings as you browse, such as titles of particular works or “Criticism and Interpretation”.
Because works about an author are kept together in the library, finding the call number of one book and physically browsing the shelves is also a good strategy.
Information on a theme
An All Fields search (that is, a keyword search) is a good place to start. For example, you might search for terror and literature. Scan the results to see if any of them are relevant to what you are looking for.
When you have found a relevant book, check the subject headings to find out what your topic is called in the subject heading system. Some subject headings you may find useful are:
- Fear in literature
- Psychic trauma in literature
- Psychoanalysis in literature
- Totalitarianism in literature
These are just some examples of topic-oriented subject headings. Please explore on your own.
Start your search for articles at our databases list. Here you can find all the resources I've listed below, and many more. Note that you can sort by subject.
The MLA International Bibliography is the most comprehensive database of quality scholarly articles in literature and related fields, and easier to search than many others.
It supports searching fields such as “Author as Subject” and “Literary Theme” in addition to standard fields like author and title. Use “Name of Work” to search for articles about a particular work.
Use the Find It button to access full text, electronically or in print.
Search by author or work. The Literature Resource Center provides an array of general resources that can help you start your research. A good source for:
- Information on contemporary authors
- Overviews of the work, themes and criticism (often with good bibliographies)
- Multimedia and web resources
WARNING: If you access MLA and LRC through the CUNY Portal, they look the same! Please make sure you look at the top of the screen to determine which database you are using--the content is very different.
JSTOR offers archival access to older issues of journals in all disciplines but is difficult to search because of limited field searching capabilities. It is a very good database to search for multidisciplinary, “thematic” topics.
Think about the articles you would like to find. If, for instance, you are taking a psychological approach and you want specifically psychological (rather than literary) information, consider searching a psychology database such as PsychInfo. You can find databases in a field by using the drop-down menu on the databases page.
These are the commands you will use to search in most databases. The most common are:
- Finds documents containing both the words you have entered. Use to search for multiple concepts (such as articles about The Turn of the Screw and hallucinations).
- Finds documents containing either of the words you have entered. Use to search for related concepts (such as articles about terror or horror or fear).
- Finds documents containing your first term, but excludes all that also contain your second. Use sparingly to eliminate irrelevant results. For instance, you could search for articles referencing Lolita but not Tehran.
* (asterisk) is called a wildcard. Use it to search for words with a particular stem. For instance, use “psychol*” to search for documents referencing psychology and the word psychological. PLEASE NOTE: Some databases may use another symbol instead of an asterisk.
When you are searching a database, take a minute to look over the interface and see what limiters are available. These often take the form of checkboxes. Common limiters include:
- Date range searching
- Limits to a particular type of item (e.g. articles only, or no dissertation abstracts)
- Specific language searching (e.g. English only)
Books or Journals Available at QC
Click on Queens in the record to find the call number. For journal articles, you must search for the JOURNAL TITLE, not the article title. Then, click on Queens to find out which volumes and issues we have. For help reading call numbers, please see this tutorial.
Books in Other CUNY Libraries
Click on “Title Request” and enter the barcode from your QC ID.
Books Not Available in CUNY or Other Materials Not Available at QC
Use interlibrary loan (ILL). It's also available directly in Find It.
Please see the library's online guide to British and American literature. This guide includes more detailed descriptions of all the relevant databases, links to useful resources on the free Web, and more.
MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 7th ed.
- Stacks (Call # A-L Level 4; Call # P-Z Level 5) - LB2369 .G53 2009
- Desk Reference Level 3 - LB2369 .G53 2003
- Online MLA Formatting and Style Guide from the OWL at Purdue