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EN 373: Contemporary American Literature

Professor Dominic Ording

Library Resource Guide

Locating Books

Library Catalog
Start by entering a broad subject, and selecting the Library of Congress Subject Headings button. You can then browse a list of headings that contain a variety of subheadings. As you look at various books, pay attention to the subject headings that have been assigned to that item. This will lead you to additional subjects you can search. Keep exploring new subject headings until you have exhausted all possible headings.

If you are looking for information about a particular author, enter the authors name (last name first) and select the Library of Congress Subject Headings button. Look for subheadings such as biography, criticism and interpretation, as well as individual works).

Oxford Reference Online — Online full-text (some with illustrations) reference books. Includes Oxford Companion series, over 120 dictionary, language reference, and subject reference works published by Oxford University Press.

Literature Resource Center
Provides access to three recognized author collections from Gale Publishers--Contemporary Authors, Contemporary Literary Criticism, and Dictionary of Literary Biography--along with over 300 journals, a variety of other important reference works, and selected Web sites. Also included is a literary-historical timeline with over 6,700 events to help place literature in its historical and social context, and Merriam-Webster's Encyclopedia of Literature , featuring more than 10,000 descriptive entries on literary figures, works, and terms.

Interlibrary Loan
Use interlibrary loan to obtain materials (books, articles, etc.) Olson Library does not own. While the average time to obtain materials through interlibrary loan is 7-14 days, it can take longer so submit requests early.

Locating Journal Articles

The premier index to scholarly publications (journals, books, proceedings, etc.) in the fields of literature, language, and linguistics. Use the "Search for Full Text" icon to locate journal articles or search the library catalog to determine if Olson Library own other materials (books, proceedings, bibliographies, etc.).

Internet Sources

Evaluating Internet Sources
Because of the hodge-podge of information on the Internet, it is very important you develop evaluation skills to assist you in identifying quality Web pages.  There are six (6) criteria that should be applied when evaluating any Web site: authority, accuracy, objectivity, currency, coverage and appearance. 

Librarians’ Index to the Internet (LII)
Sometimes it’s hard finding what you want through a standard search engine: too many results and not enough relevance. LII is maintained by a group of librarians whose motto is to locate “Information You Can Trust.” LII is a searchable, browsable collection of over 16,000 high quality Web sites. If you are looking for a scholarly resource on a topic, LII is a great place to start. Just don’t expect to find everything here. Also, highly specific searches will be less successful then browsing my topic

Google Scholar
Contains peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, abstracts and articles, from academic publishers, professional societies, preprint repositories, universities and other scholarly organizations. Provides unique features, such as relevance ranking of your results, the ability to find "Related Articles", and the opportunity to see other papers that have cited a specific paper. A couple of drawbacks include limited searching capabilities (full text or title), and no consistent links directly to the article.

MLA Style

MLA Style Guide
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 reference collection (Reference Collection: LB 2369 .G53.) 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