Olson Library Home Page Visit NMU's Home Page Olson Library Home Page Visit the NMU Home Page MyNMU EduCat


EN 504: Principles of Critical Investigation

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.

Completely full text, this collection of over 200 journals in a variety of fields contains nearly the complete run of a particular journal title, some as far back as 1878. There are 39 journals in history, 16 in literature, and 17 in philosophy.

America : History & Life
Includes citations from journals covering history and culture, area studies, and current affairs of the United States and Canada from prehistory to the present. Also includes book and media reviews. 2,000+ sources. Coverage from 1964 - present; updated monthly.

OCLC WorldCat
A combined catalog of the holdings of over 40,000 libraries which are members of the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC). This includes most of the medium-sized or larger libraries in the United States , plus several large international libraries. Use WorldCat to search for books and other items which are not owned by the Olson Library. However, it does NOT index the contents of periodicals. Sources include books, periodicals, photographs, sound recordings, motion pictures, artworks, historical artifacts, and anything else owned by a member library. Over 47 million catalog records from over 40,000 member libraries.  Updated daily.

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.

Critical Survey of Poetry
Reference Collection: PR 502 .C85
Critical Survey of Long Fiction
Reference Collection: PR 821 .C7
Critical Survey of Short Fiction
Reference Collection: PN 3321 .C7
Reference Collection: PN 44 .M33
Check the index found in the last volume of each of these sets to determine if your author has been included in the set. References to additional sources are found at the end of each entry.

Articles on Twentieth Century Literature
Reference Collection: PN 771 .P66
Poetry Explication
Reference Collection: PR 502 .K8
Twentieth-Century Short Story Explication
Reference Collection: PN 3373 .W35
These three sources are bibliographies listing articles on a wide variety of authors and works.
The sources above 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.

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

Annual Bibliography of English Language and Literature (1921-2002)
Books, LRC 3rd Floor: PE 10 .M69
An international bibliography of scholarship about English language and literature published annually by the Modern Humanities Research Association in Cambridge, England. While each year must be searched individually, this source compliments the MLA International Bibliography and contains many sources not found in the MLA bibliography. Consult the index for particular authors.

Library Catalog
When looking for literary criticism in the library catalog, search the catalog from the title/author/subject search screen.  Select the Library of Congress Subject Heading button and enter the author's name, 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)

When searching for information concerning a particular literary theory, perform a Subject Heading search on your particular theory (ex. realism, feminism, structuralism, etc...) and look for the subheadings "(literary analysis)" or "in literature," or "and literature."

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

Literary Resources on the Net
Maintained by Jack Lynch at Rutgers Univesity-Newark, this site organizes useful web sites according to time periods and various topics (theory, feminism, etc...).

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.

Library Hours
Mon: 7:30 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
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.
For exceptions and full year hours