Contexts and Backgrounds

Subject Bibliographies [Key source: Oxford Bibliographies Online ]


Handbooks and Companions [Key strategy: add these keywords to your HOLLIS search]

Subject Specific: MLA Bibliography

MLA Bibliography

This is the most important academic database for deep searching of the scholarship produced about all periods of literature (and in all languages). It also has strong and substantial coverage of scholarship on film, popular culture, and folklore.

In other words: if a Literature Department teaches it, you'll find it covered here.

Multidisciplinary: Google Scholar

Google Scholar 

It searches differently than the MLA bibliography, by including full-text.  This can be an advantage when you've got a very narrow topic or are seeking a "nugget" that traditional database searching can't surface easily.

Google Scholar incorporates more types of information -- not just books and journal contents-- and depending on your need, comfort level, and perspective, that eclecticism can be an advantage.

It's also an excellent way to& follow CITATION TRAILS. Enter the title of a book or journal article and then click on "Cited by" when the item appears.  If the cited references are very numerous, consider keyword searching with them.

Etymologies: the OED

OED (Oxford English Dictionary)

The OED has been "the last word on words for over a century" -- the authoritative source on the English language. 

It provides you with the meaning, history, and pronunciation of 600,000 words— past and present—from across the English-speaking world. 

As a historical dictionary, the OED is very different from dictionaries of current English, in which the focus is on present-day meanings. You’ll still find present-day meanings in the OED, but you’ll also find the history of individual words, and of the language—traced through 3 million quotations, from classic literature and specialist periodicals to film scripts and cookery books.

In the OED, You can find out when and where words are known to have first appeared, when they changed meanings, when some meanings became obsolete, when words disappeared entirely from usage.