A Hypertext Resource for Literature

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Library Research
Step IV: Databases

This process ends where many students begin, with searches of databases that contain or link to the full text of scholarly articles. If you follow this process, you will get to these resources with a sense of context for what you see. Even the most complete full-text databases will provide access to only a fraction of the resources that may address the concerns of your project.

The following databases are among the most useful for research in English literature.

  • JSTOR (Grinnell link)

    JSTOR is a multidisciplinary database of several hundred full-text journals; its archives usually do not include the most recent two to five years of each journal's contents.
  • Project Muse (Grinnell link)

    Another multidisciplinary database, Project Muse is valuable for the recentness of its materials, though not for breadth. It includes a fraction of the titles of other databases
  • Humanities International Complete (Grinnell link)

    A relatively recent and valuable addition to the library's holdings, Humanities International Complete includes more than 730 full-text journals in the humanities, with varying date ranges.
  • Academic Search Premiere (also called EBSCO Host; Grinnell link)

    A large multidisciplinary database with 4600 full-text titles, Academic Search Premiere can be search simultaneously (through the same interface) with Humanities International Complete—as well as Historical Abstracts, which is useful for some literary topics.
  • Google Scholar

    Google Scholar will generally return a big pile of results with widely varying relevance to your search.
  • Google Books

    Google Books has the advantage of allowing full-text searching of a great many books, though your view of the results is generally limited to certain parts of the book, snippets of text, or no direct view at all. Google Books is especially good for finding commentary on a specific phrase that you wish to track down.
  • Literature Online (LION; Grinnell link)

    Along with extensive holdings of primary sources, LION contains a Criticism & Reference search function that is worth trying alongside some of the tools listed above. LION does include some full-text sources, though they are formatted strangely, sometimes without page numbers.

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