- The MLA International Bibliography tracks scholarship on literature, language, linguistics, and folklore back to 1926. It is both international and multilingual, making it a great general tool for preliminary searching. (As the index is produced in the U.S., there is a natural bias toward anglophone literature and toward works by American scholars.)
- Literature Online (for Anglophone literature) includes a large corpus of literary texts, author biographies, an excellent selection of specialized encyclopedias, and an index to scholarship.
- The Johns Hopkins Guide to Theory and Criticism offers in-depth encyclopedia entries on literary theorists and critical movements.
Search terms that can help you improve your results in HOLLIS, Academic Search Premier, and other multidisciplinary resources:
- Literature, “criticism and interpretation,” rhetoric
- genre terms (novel, fiction, poetry, drama)
- geographic terms (United States, American)
- time period terms (19th, "to 1500")
- Terms for region or language (Italian, Asian)
See Search Vocabulary for more details
HOW TO USE THIS GUIDE
Each page of this guide recommends my favorite tools and strategies:
- Get Organized - access, organize, and cite
- Find Background - from simple encyclopedia entries to detailed guides and histories
- Find Scholarship and Criticism - top sources and search strategies
- Basics - understand what you're looking for
- Where to Search - specialized search engines and techniques for using them
- Search Vocabulary - the specialized language search engines use for literary topics
- Obscure/Recent Topics - tips for when standard research methods won't find the material you need
- Find Primary or Archival Material - when you need newspaper articles, first editions, manuscripts...
- Literary Theory - deceptively tricky to search for!
- Foreign Language Literatures - if you're working with languages other than English
- Distant Reading, Close Reading - computational tools (e.g. chart word usage over time), the OED, rhetorical figures
Literature: A Guide for Graduate Students supplements this guide with:
- Get Started - a to-do list for new graduate students
- Find a Database - how to locate the best search engines for your field or project
- Research Dos & Don'ts - tips to help you be productive and efficient
Literary Research in Harvard Libraries was originally written by Sue Gilroy and Laura Farwell Blake, and remains deeply indebted to their work.
Research & Pedagogy Librarian