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ENGL 213: Texting: How to read like an English Major

Methods for Finding Books

Use CONSORT, the shared catalog of Kenyon, Denison, Ohio Wesleyan, and Wooster, to find relevant books.

Author searches will locate books, poems, plays, etc. by a particular author: shakespeare, william

Title searches will locate a specific work: Flutie

Keyword searches:

  • Find works (such as poems or stories) that appear in collections or anthologies 
    • T.S. Eliot and the Wasteland
    • Legend of Good Women
  • Find literary criticism about a particular work 
    • Ovid and Metamorphoses
  • Find criticism related to themes, ideas, and topics in an author's works: 
    • Keats and mythology

When searching for literary criticism, consider using subject headings for more precise results. If a keyword search leads to a book that seems promising, click on the subject heading links at the bottom of the record to see similar items. You can also select "subject heading" in the "search by" box and try the following:

  • Ovid, 43 B.C.-17 or 18 A.D. -- Influence
  • Mythology, Classical, in literature
  • English literature -- Early Modern, 1500-1700 -- History and Criticism
  • Chaucer, Geoffrey, d. 1400. Legend of good women

You can also search the OhioLINK catalog, which contains the holdings of almost every college and university library in Ohio.

Methods for Finding Journal Articles

The CONSORT and OhioLINK catalogs do not contain information about individual articles published in journals. However, if you have a citation to a journal article--the author's name, the title of the article, the title of the journal, and the date or volume/issue number-- use our Journal Search to see if we have a subsciption.

To search for articles on your topic, you should use an index or database. In many cases, you can get the full-text of the article by following a link from the database. If you're searching in an index without links to full-text articles, you'll need to search by journal title in CONSORT as described above.

The search process will vary for each resource, but here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Come up with good keywords. 
    • Consider synonyms, alternate spellings, and other ways to approach your topic. 
  • Look for subject headings. 
    • Most databases will include their own subject headings. When you find a relevant article, click on a subject heading, or refine your search to include both a subject heading and keywords, to find similar articles. 
  • Set reasonable limits. 
    • Some databases will let you limit your search--examples of limits include choosing to search just peer-reviewed (scholarly) journals, or just book reviews, or just articles published in English. Sometimes limits are helpful; if you don't want book reviews or articles written in a language you don't read, it doesn't hurt to limit your search accordingly. But be careful not to impose too many limits, especially if you're just beginning your research--extremely narrow searches will rarely lead you to "the perfect article." 
  • Use bibliographies. 
    • If you do happen to find the perfect article (or a great essay in a reference work, or a relevant book on your topic), check out the bibliography, and then search for some of the listed sources.

Finding Journal Articles

Searching the Library Catalogs

Use CONSORT to find books, journal titles, videos, and other items in the library. You cannot use CONSORT to find journal articles.

Oxford English Dictionary

MLA Handbook

Suggestions for other types of materials