University Library & Learning Resources Center

ENG 331: Colonial & Early American Republic
Dr. Roberson

Reference Sources Journal Articles Books Web Citing Your Sources Your Comments

The purpose of this course research guide is to acquaint you with some of the resources in the University Library and others on the World Wide Web useful for doing research on your paper topic. Should you have questions, stop by the Reference Desk on the first floor. You may also call the Reference Desk at (334) 229-4110 during the hours the Library is open.


Reference Sources

Sources in the Library's Reference Collection and similar sources online are a great place to start your research. They'll provide background information on your topic and can help you find brief factual information quickly. As you explore these sources, write down words that describe your paper topic. You'll be able to use these later when you search for articles and books. As you continue with your research, you may find that you need to return to these reference sources for additional information.

Subject Dictionaries & Encyclopedias

Subject dictionaries and encyclopedias focus on specific subject areas. Below are a few examples of these. Ask at the Main Reference Desk on the first floor for assistance with finding a subject encyclopedia that is appropriate for your paper topic.

  • American Writers: A Collection of Literary Biographies
    Main Reference: PS 129 .A55
  • American Writers Before 1800: A Biographical and Critical Dictionary
    Main Reference: PS 185 .A4 1983
  • The Cambridge History of American Literature
    Main Reference: PS 92 .C36 1994
  • A Dictionary of British and American Women Writers, 1660-1800
    Main Reference: PR 113 .D5 1984
  • Encyclopedia of Southern Literature
    PS 261 .S52 1997
  • Galenet Literature Resource Center (ASU) (includes Dictionary of Literary Biography)
  • Galenet Scribner Writers Series (ASU)
  • Reference Guide to American Literature
    Main Reference: PS 129 .R44 1994


You'll discover bibliographies, lists of works on a specific subject, at the end of a book or as individual publications. They are a great source for leading you further into your research. Use Bibliographic Index to find citations for bibliographies on your topic. Since the call numbers for many bibliographies begin with the letter Z you may wish to browse this area. You may also try a builder search in the Library's online catalog HORNetCat to locate bibliographies in Reference and the Circulating Collection on the 3rd and 4th floors of the Library.

  • Bibliographic Index
    Main Reference: Z 1002 .B595

Literary Criticism

The first two sources provide excerpts from journals, books, and other sources containing criticism of literary works. The Twayne Authors Series provides access to the full-text of books on various authors.

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Journal Articles

The best method for finding journal articles is to use one of the Library's online article databases. For additional information on the databases listed below and for others, explore our list of databases. Our databases are now easily accessible off campus by clicking on the database name and typing in the information requested. If you need additional assistance with accessing the databases, contact Randy Curtis (334 229-6968) or Cedric Davis (334 229-6998).

Some of the databases provide access to the entire text of articles. If the text of an article is not available in a database, check for the journal title in Serials Solutions (ASU) to determine if the article is available in another online database. Also check HORNetCat, our online catalog, for availability of journals in the Serials Department on the third floor. You may order those not available in the Library or via a full-text database through Interlibrary Loan.

Literature Databases

Other Databases

Print Indexes

  • Humanities Index
    Serials: 3rd floor

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Because of their length, books provide a more in-depth look at topics than articles do. Some books include essays or chapters on related topics.


Essays in Books

  • Essay and General Literature Index - essays in books
    Serials: 3rd floor

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Web Sites

Some libraries and archives are making digitized images of materials in their collections available online. These materials include books, magazines, journals, diaries, letters, and images.

Digitized Collections

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Citing Your Sources

A copy of MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers is available at the Main Reference Desk on the first floor of the Library.


Your Comments

Please take a few minutes to let us know what you think about this guide. Has it helped with your research? Do you have any suggestions for improving the guide? You may e-mail Marsha V. Taylor ( or call her at (334) 229-6839 with your comments and suggestions.

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Course Research Guides | Information Literacy Program

Alabama State University | University Library & Learning Resources Center

Alabama State University
University Library & Learning Resources Center
Authored by: Barbara Hightower, Information Literacy Librarian
All contents copyright 2003, ASU. All rights reserved.
March 6, 2003