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EN 493 Senior Seminar: Issues in Literature

Library Resource Guide

Biographical Information Sources

Dictionary of Literary Biography (Gale)
Reference Collection: PN 451 .D52
Each entry in this 300 volume (and growing) set includes a 7-15 page biographical essay as well as a list of the authors writings since the essay was published.  Entries conclude with a list of references. Valuable for gaining insight into themes, motives, and other influences of an author's writing.   Use the Literary Index to determine if your author has been listed in this multivolume set.

Contemporary Authors (Gale)
Reference Collection: PN 771 .C65
Short biographical essays on thousands of writers can be found in this 200 volume (and growing) set.  Also gives a comprehensive listing of writings as well as a bibliography of biographical and critical sources for each author.  Use the Literary Index to determine if your author has been listed in this multivolume set.

Biography and Genealogy Master Index
An index to more than 13 million biographical sketches found in hundreds of standard reference sources.  Consult the library catalog to determine if we have a particular reference title since Olson Library does not own all of the souces listed in this index.

Library Catalog
When searching for biographical information in the library catalog, be sure to search from the title/author/subject search screen.  Also, select the Library of Congress Subject Heading search button and enter the authors last name first (ex. O'Neill, Eugene).

Biography Reference Bank (1984-present)
Indexes Collection: AP 2 .B5 (1946-1983)
An index to biographical infomation found in over 2,700 periodicals and 1,800 books.  Use the printed indexes for information published before 1984.


Historical and Cultural Infomation Sources

Library Catalog
When searching the library catalog for historical and cultural information, begin by searching under the broad social, political, or historical conditions relevant to your topic. When reviewing your results, look at the subject headings, found in the complete record, indicating additional subjects relevant to your topic. Subject headings are linked so you can simply click on them to see a browsable list of sources.


Literary Criticism Information Sources

Contemporary Literary Criticism (Gale)
Reference Collection: PN 771 .C5
This multivolume set provides excerpts from articles found in a variety of literary criticism sources.  Since only an except of the article is included in this source you will need to track down the original for the complete text. Use the Literary Index to determine if your author has been listed in this multivolume set.

Twentieth Century Literary Criticism (Gale)
Reference Collection: PN 94 .G35
This multivolume set also provides excerpts from articles found in a variety of literary criticism sources.  Use the Literary Index to determine if your author has been listed in this multivolume set.

MLA International Bibliography (1926-present)
The premier index to scholarly publications in the field of literature.

Library Catalog
Search the library catalog from the title/author/subject search screen.  Select the Library of Congress Subject Heading search button and enter the authors last name first (ex. O'Neill, Eugene).  Pay particular attention to the subheading Criticism and Interpretation or titles of individual works (O'Neill, Eugene --Long Day's Journey Into Night)

Masterplots
Reference Collection: PN 44 .M33
Articles on Twentieth Century Literature
Reference Collection: PN 771 .P66
Women Writers in the United States: A timeline of literary, cultural, and social history
Reference Collection: PS 147 .D38
These three sources exemplifiy the different types of material found in the Reference collection. Similar sources exist covering a variety of genres, authors, and time periods. The easiest way to identify such sources is to browse the Reference Collection in the call number sections where these sources are found.

IPL Literary Criticism Collection
An excellent site offered by the Internet Public Library that provides links to critical and biographical sites about individual authors.

Book Review Index (1965-2003)
Indexes Collection: Z 1035 .A1 B6
Another source of potential book reviews.


Borrowing Materials From Other Libraries

Interlibrary Loan allows you to obtain materials not owned by the Olson Library.  Materials such as books and periodical articles, among other sources, can be borrowed from other libraries.  The average time to receive requested materials is 1-2 weeks and you will be notified by email when your items arrive.  Consult the link above to submit a request and for further details.


MLA Style

MLA Style Guide
Reference Collection: LB 2369 .G53.
Examples of how to cite some of the more common sources, including web sites and online articles, according to the most recent edition of the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers.  Consult the Handbook in the library's reference collection for sources not listed at this site.


Need Further Assistance?

Stop by the Reference Desk for further assistance with any of these sources.  You can also contact the Reference Desk through live chat or by phone at 227-2294.



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Tue: 7:30 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Wed: 7:30 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Thu: 7:30 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Fri: 7:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Sat: 12:00 noon - 8:00 p.m.
Sun: CLOSED
For exceptions and full year hours