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EN 104 - Reading and Writing About Family


This is a guide to selected sources of information related to the Reading and Writing about Family course. Due to the depth of our collection on this topic as well as the variety of topics and subject areas you are able to pursue in this course, the guide is only meant to be a starting point for your research. Depending on your topic you may need to consult other Geisel Library subject guides. For further research assistance, please take advantage of the reference services available to you in Geisel Library.


Research Basics

The reference librarians have created a group of Web pages named Research Help to help teach you the basics of library research and to introduce you to Geisel Library. On the Research Help pages, you will find a guide on Research Basics and a helpful guide on evaluating Web resources titled, our guide on Evaluating Websites. Please take advantage of these resources.


Reference Resources

Electronic Reference Materials

Use the following electronic reference materials instead of wikipedia; these resources are full of quality information and are as easy to use as wikipedia.

The following resources are restricted to the Saint Anselm College community.

Credo Reference

Gale Virtual Reference Library (GVRL)

Oxford Reference Online (ORO)

Encyclopaedia Britannica Online

Literature Resource Center

Print Reference Materials

African-American Writers
     Ref PS153 .N5 A344

American Writers: A Collection of Literary Biographies (13 volumes)
     Ref PS129 .A55

Critical Survey of Short Fiction (7 volumes)
     Ref PN3373 .C7

Critical Survey of Long Fiction (8 volumes)
     Ref PN3451 .C7

Literary Criticism Series
To find out the volumes in which your author or literary work are covered, use the Gale Literary Index.
     Contemporary Literary Criticism (Ref PN94 .C65)
     Nineteenth Century Literary Criticism (Ref PN761 .N56)
     Twentieth Century Literary Criticism (Ref PN94 .T83)

Modern American Women Writers
     Ref PS151 .M54

Twentieth-Century American Literature (8 volumes)
     Ref PS221 .T834

Twentieth-Century Short Story Explication
     Ref PN3373 .W33


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Search Tips

To search the library catalogs and databases listed below you will need to use Boolean operators (ANDs and ORs), truncation, and quotation marks to pull up books and articles on your topic. Here is a brief overview of how to use these search functions:

  • AND — use AND to link together search concepts (African American AND motherhood)
  • OR — use OR to link together synonyms and related terms (austism OR Aspergers syndrome)
  • *  — use * to retrieve variant endings of a search term (enter: south* to retrieve articles containing the words south and southern)
  • Quotation marks — When performing keyword searches use quotation marks to search for your keywords as an exact phrase (Type "Fugitive Slave Act" to look for the exact phrase of: Fugitive Slave Act. If you do not enclose your phrase with quotes the catalog will look for the term fugitive and slave and act as separate words throughout the entire catalog record.)

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Books/Secondary Sources

Search the Geisel Library Catalog to locate books, government documents and web materials on your topic. There are 2 main ways to search the library catalog, by subject heading or by keyword. Each method has its own benefits and drawbacks, it is important therefore to know the best time to use each method.

Subject Headings Searches

Subject headings are keywords that are assigned to books to capture the item's key subject matter and themes. Use subject headings to look for books on broad concepts such as criticism on U.S. southern literature or books on the causes of the Civil War.

Possible Subject Headings include:

Keyword Searches

Keyword Searches work best if you are researching a narrow concept or if you have an author or title that you would like criticism on. Keyword searches will look for your search term(s) in the citation, subject headings, and chapter titles (if available). Many books on literary criticism have chapters on specific authors or works, this search method will pull up those materials.

Possible Keyword searches include:

  • Morrison AND criticism
  • father* AND literature
  • south* AND literature OR authors

If you searched the Geisel Library Catalog but could not locate a book on your topic try searching WorldCat, a database that allows you to search the collections of libraries throughout the United States. If you find a book that you want you can request it through interlibrary loan (ILL) by clicking on the ILL icon in the book's catalog record.


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Find Journal Articles

When examining your 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, consider clicking on the Interlibrary Loan 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 3-7 business days. To learn about how to use WebBridge, please watch our video tutorial (3.5 mins; includes audio).

Core English Research Databases

Literature Resource Center

MLA International Bibliography

Academic Search Premier

Project MUSE


Additional Research Databases

If you are searching a topic outside the scope of literary criticism consult Geisel's article databases by subject. Click on the subject area that you are researching; you will then be brought to a list of databases that will help you perform research in that discipline. If you need assistance in identifying a useful database please contact a reference librarian.


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Selected Internet Resources

Searching the Internet can yield a vast amount of information, but in terms of quality and reliability, your results may be uneven at best. The ease and speed with which individuals can publish information on the web, regardless of accuracy or quality makes it imperative that when doing research on the web you know how to evaluate the information you find. To learn more, see our guide on Evaluating Websites.

If when searching the Internet, you locate references to books or articles that you would like to view please check with a reference librarian to see if the items can be located in Geisel Library's print or electronic collection or through Interlibrary Loan.

Electronic Book Collections

Project Gutenberg
Project Gutenberg allows you to read digitized versions of novels on its website. Search by author, title, or genre to locate a book of your choosing. To search by genre, click the Bookshelf link on the left side of the screen.

Google Book Search
Google Books also lets you read digitized books on its website. To search for full text versions of works:

  1. Click Advanced Book Search
  2. Enter in your keywords
  3. Click the "Full View" radio button

By selecting Full View you are limiting your search to only those books that are available in full text in the Google Books collection. Full View books are limited to those works that are no longer copyright protected.


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Citing Sources

For assistance with formatting your citations in MLA style, consult the University of Wisconsin-Madison or The Ohio State University online guides. If you are in the library feel free to ask for the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (Ready Ref LB2369.G53) at the library's reference desk.


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