ENG 165 Course Guide
Research guide for English 165: Introduction to Poetry
Bibliographer for English
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- English Literature Subject Guides
Browse the subject headings in the CUNY Catalog to find works on a particular author.
For example, a Subject begins with… search for Blake, William will bring you a list of subheadings describing our books on William Blake. The subject headings will be broken down into subheadings, including:
- Criticism and Interpretation
- Dictionaries, Indexes, etc.
- Songs of Innocence and Experience
- Political and Social Views
Many of these subheadings, including Criticism and Interpretation and the references to specific works, exist for nearly all authors.
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 literature are typically shelved under headings beginning with P. PR is used for British literature and PS for American. Within that range, books are arranged roughly by the time period they cover; books on Beowulf come before books on Blake. Within time periods, they 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 Blake will be earlier in that range than works by and about Wordsworth.
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 library's databases page lists databases in which you can find journal articles. You can use the drop-down menu to see only those databases relating to English. Here are some of the most important:
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.
Please make sure you use the Advanced Search rather than the basic.
Search Terms in MLA
- Name of Work
- Allows you to search for criticism of literary works, such as Songs of Innocence and of Experience.
- Does not always work well for poetry because a poem may be discussed in an article indexed only under the author's name and “Poetry”.
- Allows you to search for criticism on the works of an author, such as Sylvia Plath.
- Used in conjunction with terms like “Poetry”, this can help you find works that aren't indexed by poem title.
- Use this along with a work or author search to narrow your search based on themes or topics.
- Example search: child* OR adult* OR age OR time OR play
- As show above, you will often want to use several keywords to find as many articles on your topic as you can.
I have used OR and * in the examples above. OR, in this case, means that your search will return all records containing the word “age”, the word“time”, any other word listed, or all of them together. The asterisk means that I am interested in any word that starts with the letters before that symbol. So, my search would find any reference to child, children, childhood, childish, or, unfortunately, Childe Harold. See this explanation for more information on searching.
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, which may be very recent or as early as 1924
- 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.
- Contains the full text of a wide array of journals in all fields.
- Allows full text searching, so you will get many more results, but they may not all be relevant.
- Results will be older because many journals do not allow content to be included in JSTOR for 2-5 years after publication.
- You can search with quotation marks, as in Google.
- Contemporary Literary Criticism
- Good for contemporary authors that are not well covered in other databases.
- Collect excerpts of criticism; if you like them, you need to look up the full text.
- Literature Resource Center
- Generally less scholarly than MLA, but it does include interviews and other materials which can be very useful, especially for contemporary authors.
- Oxford English Dictionary
- Please see the OED for etymology and comprehensive definitions of words.
- Project MUSE
- Allows full text searching AND includes good indexing.
- Contains less content than JSTOR or MLA.
- Blake Archive
- A collection of scans of original material by Blake. Allows comparisons among different copies of the works. This is a wonderful resource if you want to see how the poems looked when they were published in their original, illustrated forms.
MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 7th ed.
- Stacks (Call # A-L Level 4; Call # P-Z Level 5) - LB2369 .G53 2009
- Reference Level 3 - LB2369 .G53 2009
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.