Here are some shortcuts for finding reliable information on the Web:
Here's a tip that should help you organize your research in EBSCOhost: set up your own account and you will be able to save articles and access them whenever you are logged in. Here's a quick video to show you how to do that: http://screencast.com/t/l3LfhfDTJ0
These library databases are useful for finding journal articles on literary subjects:
Please watch this up-to-date video tutorial to learn more about EBSCOhost and score some great tips on using it effectively.
For your convenience, here it is in black and blue:
The main databases you want to use are EBSCOhost (Academic Search Elite and MLA Int'l Bibliography), LION, JSTOR, and maybe Salem Literature. I recommend that you start with EBSCO because you can most easily refine your search there. Here's my famous strategy for Literature Criticism Seconday Source finding:
1. Choose Academic Search Elite and MLA Int'l Bibliography from the first list and click on continue,
2. The search screen has three empty boxes. Make them look like this:
Angelou, Maya (Make. Sure. You. Spell. Her. Name. Correctly.)
AND "caged bird" (or other distinctive words from another title. if there are more than one, put them in quotes to keep them together)
3. Ignore the drop-down boxes to the right of the formerly empty boxes. If you leave them alone you will be doing a Googlish keyword search and that is what we want.
4. Ignore most of the stuff beneath the thick horizontal green line. Check the boxes next to Full-text Only and Scholarly (Peer-Reviewed) Journals to make sure your results come from the appropriate sources.
5. Click SEARCH and you should get a nice list of stuff. Click on the title for more info about the article including other keywords you could use and a short abstract or summary (this is not the article and can't be used as a source). Click on PDF Full-Text or HTML Full-Text to see and read the actual article.
6. Use this same strategy or a variation of it for the other databases I mentioned. Exceptions:
The publisher Gale has been on top of literary criticism for decades with these wonderful volumes that compile excerpts from scholarly literary crticism articles by century and by genre. Librarian Brian Johnstone shows us in this video how to use the print versions of these tools (still in the library on the Newtown campus), but now we also have access to them online! Look for Literature Criticism Online in the box above. Professor Bruck and I believe that Nineteenth Century Literary Criticism, Twentieth Century Literary Criticism, and Contemporary Authors would be the most helpful for you.
Salem Literature is a collection of ebooks about literature criticism. Not all authors and works are covered here, but if your selected writer is, you'll find a plethora of good, scholarly information. Watch this quick video to learn how to search this collection.
It is not unusual for students to have problems getting access to the library databases. Please don't despair! Read the information at this link, and if you still have problems, call our Technology Learning Center (TLC) at 215-497-8754.