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24/7 Online Reference Databases
Oxford Reference Online This link opens in a new window
This collection of reference books includes dictionaries, thesauri, and encyclopedias, both general and subject specific. Use this collection when searching for reputable background information on just about any academic topic.
Literature Resource Center This link opens in a new window
Literary criticism, literary magazines, magazines on writing, journals about literature, and information about authors, their works, and on literary movements. The scope is worldwide and it covers all genres and time periods.
Credo Reference This link opens in a new window
Offering a thorough introduction to topics across the academic spectrum, Credo provides full-text online versions of published reference works, including general and subject dictionaries and encyclopedias. Search Keywords, Subject Categories and Topic Pages.
Examples of Individual Library Reference Titles
Using HamCAT will allow you to locate both "reference or background resources" on your topic, as well as journal, magazine and newspaper articles, and videos on your topic.
What terms (or subject headings) should I use when searching?
Make sure you understand which terms to use when searching. Using the right terms will help you locate content, in both academic and popular sources. Here are some example subject headings that you'll find in HamCAT. Consider mixing these terms with other terms that describe your research topic. Remember that not all terms have been used over time. Some terms are newer, some have changed over time. Think about synonyms for terms.
- Think about literary movements that the works you are reviewing fell into, for example
- Gothic Literature
- Speculative Fiction
- Dark Fiction
- Think about literary themes, techniques and the contexts used by the author or that influence how the work is viewed historically, intellectually, and culturally. For example:
- Reflection, Resilience, Hope
- Body parts
Remember to use quotation marks around a phrase when searching to help the search engine identify that you want those words in a particular order in your search results. For example, "American Expressionism"
Examples of Individual Library Reference Titles
Horror Literature Through History: an Encyclopedia of the Stories That Speak to Our Deepest Fears [2 Volumes] by
Publication Date: 2017
This two-volume set offers comprehensive coverage of horror literature that spans its deep history, dominant themes, significant works, and major authors, such as Stephen King, Edgar Allan Poe, and Anne Rice, as well as lesser-known horror writers. Through profiles of major authors, critical analyses of important works, and overview essays focused on horror during particular periods as well as on related issues such as religion, apocalypticism, social criticism, and gender, readers will discover the fascinating early roots and evolution of horror writings as well as the reciprocal influence of horror literature and horror cinema. In the first section, overview essays on horror during different historical periods situate works of horror literature within the social, cultural, historical, and intellectual currents of their respective eras, creating a seamless narrative of the genre's evolution from ancient times to the present. The second section demonstrates how otherwise unrelated works of horror have influenced each other, how horror subgenres have evolved, and how a broad range of topics within horror--such as ghosts, vampires, religion, and gender roles--have been handled across time. The set also provides alphabetically arranged reference entries on authors, works, and specialized topics that enable readers to zero in on information and concepts presented in the other sections. Describes horror literature during different periods, thus helping readers understand the roots of modern horror literature, how works of horror have engaged social issues, and how horror has evolved over time Connects horror literature to popular culture through sidebars on film adaptations, television shows, video games, and other nonliterary, popular culture topics Includes excerpts from selected literary works that exemplify topics discussed in the entries that support English language arts standards by enabling students to read these excerpts critically in light of the entries Prompts students to consider the nature of horror as a genre, the relationship of horror literature and social issues, and how horror literature intersects with mainstream supernatural concerns, such as religion.
The Literary Theory Handbook by
Publication Date: 2013
The Literary Theory Handbook introduces students to the history and scope of literary theory, showing them how to perform literary analysis, and providing a greater understanding of the historical contexts for different theories. A new edition of this highly successful text, which includes updated and refined chapters, and new sections on contemporary theories Far reaching in its inclusion of a detailed history of theory and in-depth discussions of major theories and movements Four distinct perspectives on theory--historical, thematic, biographical, practical--are carefully intertwined, so that key concepts, terms and ideas are developed in different contexts and cross-referenced, in the text and in the index. Includes alphabetically-arranged biographies designed for quick reference, and sample readings to illustrate the practical application of theory
Why Use Reference Resources?
Bush Library provides you access to many encyclopedias and dictionaries in online and print formats.
By using with these resources you will:
- Obtain background information on your topic (e.g., person, event, theory, terminology, etc.)
- Identify additional search terms to use when searching for book and article resources, and
- Find citations to other works (e.g., books, articles) providing longer, more detailed coverage of the topic.
TIPS for using Reference Materials
HINT: Often signed encyclopedia or handbook articles (references sources) are written by experts who have written other texts (books, articles, blog posts, etc.) You can search for those authors in HamCAT or Google to discover some of their other works. Reference sources often also have a Further Reading section or a Bibliography at the end of them, with other sources on your topic, that can be worth exploring.
Other Books of Interest
Monster, She Wrote by
Publication Date: 2019
From Gothic ghost stories to psychological horror to science fiction, women have been primary architects of speculative literature of all sorts. And their own life stories are as intriguing as their fiction. Curated reading lists point you to these writers most spine-chilling tales. Part biography, part reader's guide, the engaging write-ups and detailed reading lists will introduce you to more than a hundred authors and over two hundred of their mysterious and spooky novels, novellas, and stories.