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ENG 307 — Practice in Literary Criticism

How to Interpret Literature--textbook

Contact Information

Carol Dales
cdales@csudh.edu
(310)-243-2088
LIB SOUTH 2037K

Navigation

Borrowing Books

Locating Books and eBooks by Using ToroFind Online Public Access Catalog (OPAC)

Off-campus Access

Recommended Electronic Databases for Literary Research

Locating the MLA International Bibliography database

How to Do an Article Search in MLAIB

How can I get fewer results (narrow my search)?

How can I get more results (expand my search)?

Viewing the Results of a Search

What if CSUDH Doesn't Have My article?

How do I Use the MLAIB Thesaurus?

Can I Save, Print and / or Email Search Results?

How do I find an article in a specific journal?

Tips for using JSTOR

Selected Internet Resources


Borrowing Books
    • To borrow books, take your CSUDH photo ID with a current sticker to the Library Circulation Department on the 2nd floor of the library.
    • Before borrowing books, read the regulations on the Circulation /Borrowing Books page.
    • Use the Library's ToroFind catalog to search for books by author, title or subject.
      In addition to finding materials available in the CSUDH Library, you will find links that enable you to request books directly from other libraries.
    • Here are links for searching in other CSU libraries and in libraries worldwide:






Locating Books and eBooks by Using ToroFind Online Public Access Catalog (OPAC)
  • Use both keywords and Library of Congress Subject Headings to find books with literary criticism, critical or biographical information about an author, or information about a literary movement. (English majors and grad students will find many books they need in the "P" section of academic libraries, but that's usually a huge section, so it's best to get in the habit of checking the online catalog!)
  • Search any author's first and last names as subject keywords when looking for critical literature about that author's works.

    Examples of typical "author as subject" entry (last name first):
  •  Use the "Advanced Search" screen to combine title and author information or to combine concepts.
  • Here are other sample Library of Congress Subject Headings (aka LCSH ): 
    (Don't bother to type dashes and commas when you type a search into the catalog)


Off-campus Access

If you are on campus, access any of our online journal article databases and ebooks by clicking on the database name in the Database List; you will go immediately to the database.

If you are off campus, you will need to log in using your username and password (the same information you use to log in to MyCSUDH and Blackboard). When you click on a database name while using an off-campus computer, you will see a blue authentication screen asking you for this information.

After entering your campus username and password, you will be able to access any of our electronic databases and ebooks just as you would while on campus.



Recommended Electronic Databases for Literary Research
  • Click on a link below to access the database of your choice or use our list of Article databases to see all available CSUDH databases.
  • For an in-depth review of how to use databases to find journal articles, click here.
  • Note: In general databases such as Academic Search Premier and Humanities Full Text, you may limit your results to peer reviewed articles by looking for the words "scholarly" and/or "peer reviewed" and placing a check in the box beside these words (you can also do this in MLA).
    • MLA International Bibliography: (indexed bibliographic records, no abstracts; occasional links to full text) of scholarly research in literature, language, linguistics, and folklore from 1921 to date. 
      Note: As MLA Bibliography is the official database of the Modern Language Association, (a not-for-profit organization committed to the study and teaching of language and literature), it should generally be the first place graduate English students check for electronic resources!
    • JSTOR:  indexing and full text of back issues of 70 frequently used language and literature journals, e.g.:  Journal of Modern Literature, 1970-2013; supplies citations and abstracts only for later issues. (see Tips for using JSTOR below). Most JSTOR language and literature titles are now also indexed in MLA Bibliography.
    • Academic Search Premier: indexing, abstracts and high percentage of full text articles from journals in social sciences, humanities,   education, computer sciences, language and linguistics, arts & literature, and ethnic studies.
    • Humanities Full-Text: covers 1984 to date; includes indexing, abstracts and selected full text in Archaeology, Area Studies, Art, Classical Studies, Communications, Dance, Film, Folklore, Gender Studies, History, Journalism, Linguistics, Literary & Social Criticism Literature, Music, Performing Arts, Philosophy, Religion and Theology; contains selected full text from 1995-date.
    • Digital Dissertations (citations, abstracts, 24 page previews and as well as full text of many theses and dissertations from 1,000 grad schools and universities. Full text of recent CSUDH theses is at CSUDH Digital Masters Theses
    • Project MUSE: includes indexing and full text of over 70 drama, language and literature journals published by Johns Hopkins U. Press.
    • Oxford Journals: website of a major publisher of academic journals, over 70 of which relate to literature studies.


Locating the MLA International Bibliography database
  • How do I get to the MLAIB (without using the link above)?

1. Go to the library website.

2. Click Databases by Title.

3. Click on "M", move your cursor all the way down down to MLA Bibliography & click on it.

  • Does the MLAIB include any full text journal articles?

             Yes, but fewer than 20% of the records for journal articles include actual links to full text.



How to Do an Article Search in MLAIB
  • MLAIB is not case sensitive.
  • Write down the most important key word or words that describe your topic. Whenever possible, list synonyms for each word. The resulting words and /or  phrases are your search terms.
  • Type a word or phrase into the Search boxes that describes what you are looking for:
    e.g.: Shakespeare   (on 1st line)
    AND sonnets           (on 2nd line)


How can I get fewer results (narrow my search)?
  • Type another word or phrase into the search box on the third line:
    e.g.: poststructuralist literary theory 
    Leave the small dropdown box to the left of your search set as AND.
    Your search then becomes:
    Shakespeare AND sonnets AND poststructuralist literary theory
  • This narrows your search (fewer results) because you specified that both words or phrases you entered must be present in all results. Combine search terms with AND whenever a search contains multiple concepts.
  • Limit your results, as needed, to a date range or to full text , or to a particular language, by clicking in the boxes below your search (just below the "Refine Search" tab).

  • Use the connector word NOT (also a Boolean operator) to exclude unwanted terms.
    NOT will narrow or limit your search (fewer results) because the excluded word must not be present in results: Ulysses NOT Grant.


How can I get more results (expand my search)?
  • Use a truncation symbol (an asterisk works in most databases):
    e.g.: child* retrieves records with child, child's children, etc.
  • Use a wild card symbol (a question mark works in many databases):
    e.g.: wom?n retrieves woman or women .
  • Add synonyms to your search with OR: e.g.: histor* OR past OR archiv* (type all related OR terms on one line).
    This broadens the search (more results) because any one (but possibly more than one, or all) of the words or phrases you specify may be present in results. (OR is a connector word or Boolean operator , just like AND and NOT (above).
  • Expand your search to include related words (synonyms and plurals), by checking the appropriate box at the bottom of the Refine Search screen.
  • Check your search terms for correct and alternate spellings and typos.
  • Reduce the number of concepts you are using, e.g. if you are searching for three concepts, try just searching for two.


Viewing the Results of a Search
  • After entering your search terms and parameters, click the Search button.

The Result List will appear in table format with most relevant first.

Each record in the Result List shows search terms highlighted in bold italicized type.

Optional: you can also sort articles by Date descending or other criteria--see "Sort by" box, top RH of each Results page)

Optional: you can click on the yellow Add to folder icon beneath each record in the results list to collect all of the best results from searches for viewing/saving/printing in a folder.

  • Here are several possible options, at least one of which will be offered on the last line of each record:
    1. PDF Full Text or HTML Full Text  - links to Full Text articles from other EBSCO databases and electronic journals to which we subscribe.
    2. The red and white "Find it @ CSUDH Library" icon appears after articles for which the MLAIB database itself includes only a citation, in other words, full text is not included in the database!  However, full text MAY appear in hard copy somewhere in the Library OR in a completely different journal index. Click to find out!
    3. Records without links of any kind are usually records of book chapters or dissertations. Check for books by title and/or author of book (after IN: in the database record) in the Library catalog.
    4. You may request dissertations and theses on Interlibrary Loan (if they are not already available through Digital Dissertations).


What if CSUDH Doesn't Have My article?

To request a book , you can either:

  • Click the Search for, or Request Books & Articles NOT in CSUDH Library bar at the bottom of the CSUDH University Library Catalog web page and check for holdings at other academic or large public libraries you can visit in person
    OR
  • Use the online ILL book request form to submit an online request.

To request an article , you can either:

  • Request an article directly when the message "CSUDH Library does not own this item. Click Here to fill out an Article Request form" appears after you click the red & white "Find it @ CSUDH Library" icon.
    OR
  • Use the online ILL article request form to submit an online request.


How do I Use the MLAIB Thesaurus?

If you are not sure of the correct descriptor (subject heading) for the topic you are investigating, the Thesaurus will help you find it. The Thesaurus contains over 49,000 topical terms and over 327,000 names.

  • Click the Thesaurus button on the blue toolbar at the top of the screen.
  • In the box below the blue Thesaurus tab, type a term for which you would like to identify a subject heading into the Browse box and click beside one of the Term begins with, Term contains or Relevancy Ranked radio buttons.
  • Click the Browse button.
  • You will see your term as used in the database, or the correct term for your search term, as well as a list of narrower , broader and related terms.
  • You can click directly on these terms, check the boxes beside them to search a combination of terms or cut and paste them into the search screen where you are working.
  • If you need help using the Thesaurus, please visit the library Reference Desk or E-mail a Librarian.


Can I Save, Print and / or Email Search Results?

You can print, e-mail and save most individual articles, abstracts, and folders by clicking the appropriate commands on the EBSCO screens.

PDF article exceptions:

  • to safely email an article in .pdf format, open it, save it and e-mail it as an attachment.
  • a .pdf article longer than 10 pages usually will not fit on a floppy disk. Use a USB thumb drive instead.
  • save or print a .pdf article by clicking the appropriate icon closest to the open full text article or by using the floating menu that appears at the top or bottom of some PDF documents(using the File/Save/Print menu in Internet Explorer will not ususally work).


How do I find an article in a specific journal?

 e.g.: Find an article in the Winter, 2003, issue of Papers on Language and Literature entitled:           Performance Anxieties by Tim Conley.

  • type Papers on Language and Literature in the top "Find"  text box
  • click the dropdown box to the right to read SO Journal_Title .
  • click the dropdown box at the beginning of the second line to read And
  • type Performance Anxieties in the "Find" text box on the second line
  • click the dropdown box at the end of the second line to read Title
  • type Conley in the Find box on the third line (it's usually best to use author's last name only)
  • lick the dropdown box at the end of the third line to read AU_  Author.
  • click the Search button.  

     OR

  • If you know the title of the article, you can try entering it into Quick Search or Google Scholar (both are on the Library Home page).  



Tips for using JSTOR
  • if you want only journal articles, check beside "Articles" (below "Narrow by...") to eliminate reviews and opinion pieces.
  • Unless you want to search journals from all disciplines, remember to select from Narrow by Discipline(s) and / or Publication title(s) before you click Search.
  • default search is Full-Text; JSTOR has no subject headings or thesaurus, but you can limit to Abstract, Item Title, Caption or Author to refine your results.
  • Truncation: search for the singular and plural forms of a word by placing * or & (the ampersand on your keyboard, made by typing Shift 7) at the end of the singular form.
  • Proximity Operators : find terms within a specific number of words of each other by using the dropdown menu on "AND" to search for single terms within 5, 10 or 25 words of each other. Use this tip to achieve more precise results when searching the full text of long articles.
  • all articles are in .pdf format and require that a recent version of Adobe Acrobat Reader be installed on your computer (http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html )
  • use the Print / Save icons on top toolbar of Adobe Acrobat Reader, closest to the article full text or (sometimes) floating near the top or bottom of an article page (using Browser File /Save /Print menu commands may produce flawed copies).
  • Citing JSTOR articles: the citation is on the cover page of every article you print; follow MLA guidelines.


Selected Internet Resources
  • Feminist Literary Criticism and Theory: includes information on different literary genres, specific historical periods, literature, and literary theory.
  • Literary Resources on the Net: a metasite of literary resources maintained by a dedicated Rutgers University professor; contains numerous links to e-texts and links to pages about individual authors.
  • Voice of the Shuttle: renowned, gigantic, searchable database of humanities websites; look under contents for categories Literature (in English) and Literary Theory.
  • The James Joyce Scholars' Collection: links to digital versions of out-of-print critical books on James Joyce, courtesy of University of Wisconsin Digital Collections.