The following is a guide to secondary sources in Geisel Library that pertain to the assigned literature as well as to sample themes that are embraced in the writings. All of these resources can be accessed either on campus or remotely by entering the S number on the back of your student ID.
Hopefully, this guide will point you to some useful reference books and library databases. It will also serve as a 'reality check', reminding you of the search tips you picked up during the library segment of your EN 103 class last term, providing helpful examples. You will be introduced to special tools and library services that will make the process of searching and locating relevant materials a bit easier.
For further assistance, please stop by the Reference Desk in person or pose your question online.
Reference books are shelved by call number in a separate area near the Reference Desk on the main level of the library. They may not be checked out, but photocopiers are available on the lower level. Here's why you should consult reference books:
- They will assist you in the topic selection process by providing ideas and insights. Many of them are arranged so that larger topics are broken down into sub-sections, allowing you to evaluate where a topic fits within its broader context and helping you to decide whether a topic is too broad or narrow.
- In the field of literature, they will offer succinct literary analyses of the authors, titles, and sometimes the genre under discussion in your class.
- Reference books will also help you to locate background information about structure and themes pertaining to your primary source readings.
- Reference books will familiarize you with vocabulary that might be unique to your topic of study, making searching of the databases easier later.
- They will point you to additional sources for more detailed scholarly information through bibliographies and lists of 'Further Readings'. If a citation found this way is of interest, determine its 'whereabouts' by using the Journal Finder tool available on the library's home page.
Encyclopedia of British Writers: 1800 to the Present
Ref PR451 .E55 2009 (2 vols.)
Literature Resource Center (LRC)
Provides lengthy biographical profiles and work overviews.
Oxford Companion to English Literature
Oxford Encyclopedia of Children't Literature
Ref PN1008.5 .O94 2006 (see vol. 3)
Supernatural Fiction Writers: Contemporary Fantasy and Horror
Ref PN3435 .S96 2003 (2 vols.)
Some of the best information may be found in books and book chapters, and the Geisel Library's collections are substantial.
Sample Subject Headings:
- Pullman, Philip
- Fantasy Fiction
- Young Adult Fiction
Sample Keyword searches:
- philip pullman
- pullman and spiritual*
Here are some examples of books found by using subject and keyword searches:
Wand in the Word: Conversations with Writers of Fantasy
PS 374 .F27 W36 2006
Alternative Worlds in Fantasy Fiction
If you are unable to locate enough materials in the Geisel Library catalog, repeat your search by using the collections of libraries worldwide through WorldCat. This expansive database enables you to identify relevant books owned by other colleges and have them delivered to Geisel Library for your use, via our Interlibrary Loan (ILL) service. Try searching on the same keywords and subject headings that you used in the Library Catalog as noted above. If you find a relevant book, click on the title and look for the 'Request ILL' link. Once you submit the request, the book is typically delivered to Geisel Library within 5–10 days.
Here are some book titles related to this author that would be identified using WorldCat:
Fantasy, Myth and the Measure of Truth :
tales of Pullman, Lewis, Tolkien, MacDonald and Hoffmann
Killing the Imposter God :
Philip Pullman's spiritual imagination in His dark materials
The Dharma of Dragons and Daemons :
Buddhist themes in modern fantasy
The Elements of His Dark Materials :
a guide to Philip Pullman's trilogy
Return of the Hero (Christopher Wrigley)
Use ebary to search through over 40,000 e-books spanning across all scholarly disciplines. Books can either be opened in QuickView for instant viewing or in the ebrary Reader (a downloadable plug-in), which provides enhanced functionality such as the ability to copy/paste, highlight, or take notes.
Before you begin your search for articles in online journal databases there are three helpful library tools for which you need to be aware.
When examining search results, you may come across the WebBridge icon. This icon means that the full text is not available in the database you are currently searching. To locate the full text, simply click on the icon to determine whether the journal is available in Geisel Library or in another electronic database. If the article isn't available, click on the Interlibrary Loan (ILL) link to request a PDF copy of the article from another library. Articles requested via ILL will be delivered to your email inbox in approximately 2–5 business days. To learn about how to use WebBridge, please watch our video tutorial (3.5 mins; includes audio).
If you find a citation to a journal in the bibliography of a book or article you can use Journal Finder to see whether or not Geisel Library has access to the volume and issue that you need. Simply type in the name of the journal in Journal Finder and click search. If we have access to that title Journal Finder will tell you where you can locate it (either electronically or in print). If we do not have access to the journal you need you can place an Interlibrary Loan request for that item. To learn more on how to use Journal Finder watch our video tutorial.
To search for journal articles across multiple databases at once, try CrossSearch. For articles with a literary analysis focus, check the 'English' subject category and perform your search. For other perspectives, you may wish to search in 'History', 'Psychology' or 'Sociology'. CrossSearch displays the first 20 results from each database. If an article looks useful, click on the WebBridge icon to see if it is available in full-text or in Geisel Library's periodicals collection on the lower level.
Core English Research Databases
Literature Resource Center
In addition to providing lengthy biographical profiles of authors, plot summaries, and literary, this resource also provides the full text of articles from more than 100 literary journals.
MLA International Bibliography
Produced by the Modern Language Association of America, this electronic index consists of bibliographic records pertaining to literature, language, linguistics, and folklore.
Use Project Muse to gather research articles from a variety of disciplines. Its content strong in the area of literary analysis.
Additional Search Interfaces
Academic Search Premier and ProQuest Central
These two databases are multi-disciplinary and many of the articles are available in full-text. They are a good place to begin searching for scholarly sources.
Google Scholar is becoming more and more useful for performing scholarly research. The Geisel Library has enabled a connection between Scholar and WebBridge, allowing you to determine the whereabouts of a needed item.
Search here for full-text articles from major journals in the humanities and social sciences. Coverage is generally from the beginning of publication to within 5 years of the current issue.