English 345 Course Guide
Research guide for English 345: The Victorian Novel
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MLA International Bibliography
MLA is the most comprehensive database of quality scholarly articles in literature and related fields, and easier to search than many others. Like other databases provided by the Queens College Library, it is available in our database list. You can limit to only relevant databases by selecting “English” from the drop-down menu on the top.
Please make sure you use the Advanced Search rather than the basic.
Search Terms in MLA
MLA allows many different types of searches, including Person-About and Name Of Work. These allow you to search for literary authors and works (for instance, Charlotte Brontë or Jane Eyre) rather than the titles of the articles or their authors. Use one of these options to limit your search.
Use Keyword or Subject to search for themes or topics. For instance, if you are interested in the relationship of fairy tales to Jane Eyre, you might enter the term folk OR fairy in the Keyword field. OR, in this case, means that your search will return all records containing the word “folk”, the word“fairy”, or both. In some cases, it is possible to look through all the articles on a work, but this is certainly not true if you are searching for articles on a very famous work like Jane Eyre! See this explanation for more information on searching.
MLA also specifically indexes terms having to do with genre, among them, “novel” and “genre”. Searching those helps to bring up the works that specifically mention generic distinctions. If you are not certain how a genre is described in the database, you can find out by using the Subject Guide Search in the bar at the top of the screen. One useful feature of the subject guide search is the presence of Related Subjects; that is, a list of terms similar to the one you have found. For instance, subjects related to “folk tale” include “noodle tale”, “cumulative tale” and “fable”.
Don't expect to find all the articles you need with a single search. You will need to look at your results to garner new keywords, and try to think of different ways of expressing your topic. For instance, although genre and the novel are clearly closely related topics, not all articles indexed under one term will be included under the other. Examine the subject headings to see if you are missing any useful terms, and try to think of similar ideas.
Item Records in MLA
An item record in MLA includes a lot of useful information, including:
- Title and author of the article
- Source of the article, which may be a journal or a book
- Date of publication
- Language of article
- Subject terms—These can help you decide whether you are interested in an article, and provide keywords for further searching.
- A Find It button to help you get to the full text.
Item records do NOT include abstracts or full text. The next section has more information about getting full text when you have a citation.
Full Text & Exporting Citations from MLA
To get full text, click on the orange Find It button. A new window will pop up, and you will be presented with several options:
- Full Text Online
- If you click on this, you will usually be taken directly to the article. You may see several links if the item is available from multiple sources.
- CUNY has a copy
- This means there is a copy in print. The link takes you to the CUNY Catalog, where you can see whether the item is held at QC or another CUNY campus. If the item is a journal article, you will also need to check to make sure we have the correct issue. This information is available when you click on the word Queens in the catalog, under Holdings. You will know what date to look for because it is included in the citation in MLA.
- Request document via Interlibrary Loan>
- This option allows you to get items that we do not own. If you click the link, most of the form will already be filled in. For JOURNAL ARTICLES, use ILL for items that are not at QC. For BOOKS, use it for items that are not held in CUNY. For books held in other CUNY libraries, use CLICS.
You must create an account the first time you use Interlibrary Loan!
If you want an article and you are not in a database or the Find It button is not available, you can do a Title begins with… search for the journal title in the CUNY Catalog. You will find our holdings, whether print or electronic.
A menu on the right side of each citation allows you to print, e-mail or download individual records in MLA. Or, you can do this all at once. A checkbox will be included near the top of each record. By checking it, you can add it to your Marked Items folder, which is linked at the top of the screen. There, you can print, email or download any number of checked records.
The CUNY Catalog
Browse the subject headings in the CUNY Catalog to find works on a particular author. For example, a Subject begins with… search for Austen, Jane will bring you a list of subheadings describing our books on Jane Austen. A particularly useful subheading, and one you will often see, is Criticism and Interpretation.
The subheadings also include references to particular works, such as Mansfield Park. However, even though there are not too many books specifically about Mansfield Park, you will very likely also find references to the work that interests you in other books dealing with the author in question.
There are also subject headings dealing with genre and time period, for instance, English Fiction—19th century. Sometimes you may also have some success doing keyword searches for literary themes.
You can search our collection at Queens College, or any other CUNY library, or all of them together. Choose with the Select Library menu. Use the Title Request feature to send books here from other CUNY libraries.
Reference works such as encyclopedias and dictionaries can be found on the third floor, and can serve many functions. See the English Literature Guide for information about types of reference works available in the library.
Browse the Shelves
Reference books will be on Level 3, while most other books will be on Level 5.
Books on particular works of nineteenth-century British literature can be found between PR 4001 and PR 6000. Within that range, books are arranged alphabetically, based on the author in question--that is, their author, in the case of primary texts, or the author of the works they cover, in the case of secondary works. Thus, books by and about Austen will be earlier in that range than works by and about Stoker.
Books on the genre of fiction in the nineteenth century can be found between PR 860 and PR 880. Our collection includes several books specifically intended to provide analysis of the Victorian novel as a genre.
If you find a good book in the catalog, look at the books that are near it on the shelf. You may find something else of interest.
The best place to find journal articles on literature is MLA International Bibliography, which is discussed in some detail above. However, if you wish to search other databases, you can find them on the database page of the library website. Other useful databases include:
- Full text searching of journals in a wide array of fields. Make sure you select Language and Literature before you begin your search. Because you are searching the full-text, you will likely need to use more search terms than in MLA. In fact, this is a useful strategy when your search turns up too many items. Significant overlap with MLA, but you are likely to find different articles because of the different search capabilities.
- Project MUSE
- Full-text searching of over 200 journals. Provides less material than JSTOR, but better indexing. Some overlap with MLA.
- Humanities Full Text
- Citations to articles in general and specialized journals from across the humanities. Includes less material than MLA or JSTOR, but more items that are not found in MLA. It is particularly useful for book review.
See Full Text above for more information about getting the full text of articles you find in databases.
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 2000
Online MLA Formatting and Style Guide from the OWL at Purdue
RefWorks is a database for research management, writing, and collaboration. Users can create a personalized profile to create, gather, manage, store, and share citations regardless of original format. Citation lists and bibliographies can be generated using many standard citation formats, including MLA.
A code is needed to access RefWorks from home—please ask at the Library Research Office (RO 307).
If you use Firefox, you may also want to check out Zotero, a citation manager that works directly from your browser.