General and Biographical Reference Works
The reference collection contains many works that will provide quick information on English and American literature. These can be very broad or very specific in nature: an encyclopedia on American literature or an encyclopedia on Mark Twain. Browsing the collection can often be very useful: Call number 808.08 for general literature; 820 for English literature; 810 for American literature.
To find a single work or a collection BY an author, first try searching by the AUTHOR’S last name. If that doesn't work, try searching by KEYWORD or TITLE:
- Austen, Jane author search to browse a list of all works by an author
- Sense and Sensibility title search
To find works ABOUT an author, such as general criticism, criticism of a specific work, or biographies, search the author's name as a SUBJECT.
- Austen, Jane 1775-1817 subject search to browse a list of all works about an author
- Austen, Jane 1775-1817 - Criticism and Interpretation subject search for general criticism about an author
- Austen, Jane 1775-1817 - Sense and Sensibility subject search for criticism about a particular work
In addition to books, the library has many online databases that are helpful when you are getting started. They are listed below under Databases
The single most important database for research in literature is the MLA (Modern Language Assn) International Bibliography, which indexes scholarly articles, books, book chapters, dissertations, and conference papers that focus on literary research.