Web Links for Literature


Google Books and Google Scholar

There are other features in Google Advanced Search that are useful for you, but I will leave them for you to find out about by yourself! For now, I will just talk about Google Books and Google Scholar.

A few years ago, books were books, academic papers were academic papers and the internet was the internet. All that has changed. Now the internet incorporates books and academic papers. Let's start with Google Books. As you can see, these are all books. Let's take a book that is in the university library. Let's take The rise of the novel : studies in Defoe, Richardson, and Fielding, by Ian Watt. You can find it if you search the library catalogue and you can go to the 7th floor of the library and have it in your hands. Or you can find it on Google Books.

OK, there are some differences between the online text and the book in the library. The online text isn't complete. Some pages are missing. That's so that people will buy the book!

But the online text has some advantages. Suppose you want to search for a particular word or expression, for example, "feminism". All you have to do is type that word in the search box to the left of the book and all references to feminism are shown. Very convenient!

And what if the book you are interested in is not in the university library? Then you can't just go and borrow it. Google Books is the only way you have of reading that book. It may not be complete, and not all books can be read in this way, but quite often Google Books is the most convenient way to get a look at a book you are interested in.

Now, there is no difference between what you read in a book accessed on the Internet and what you read in the same book in the library. When you give a reference for it you do it the same as if it was a book, though, to be fully honest, you should add "Accessed via Google Books", or whatever, to show that you didn't actually hold the book in your hands, but read pages from it online.

The same is true basically true for Google Scholar. It is not instead of academic publications, but just another way of accessing them. Most of what you find on Google Scholar has already been published, although these days some academic journals are only published online, and are not published on paper any more. Probably, this will happen more and more in the future.

Google Scholar will give you access to many scholarly journals and online databases, such as JSTOR and The Literature Resource Centre. As well as accessing databases like these through Google Scholar, you can access them from the university library online catalogue. Mostly, we are interested in the humanities database. Please note that the reason you can access these databases is because the university is paying for access. That means the most convenient way to access them is from a computer on the university campus. If you want to access from your home you need to go through the VPN portal. You can also download files from these databases and convert them into a PDF file and save them on a USB memory stick or other data storage device.

Some of the search results you get on Google Scholar will not be available even if you are using a computer on the university campus. This is because the university does not subscribe to that database.

When giving references for academic material accessed on the Internet, give the reference for the published journal (that is, the title of the journal, the volume number, etc.), but add "Accessed via JSTOR" (or whatever database you used).

Other Databases

In addition to these databases, there are many useful links that will help you in your research. For example, you can find nearly all the classics of English literature (as long as they are out of copyright) on Project Gutenberg and the IPL2 online texts resources web page gives many useful links. IPL2 also has a useful page of links for Literary Criticism. Another very handy resource is the Internet Archive. This has complete digital copies of many out of print books, as well as an archive of previous versions of web pages (so you can see what a particular web page looked like a year ago, or ten years ago, or whatever) and other valuable data.

Online Catalogues

These can be very useful if you cannot get the full bibliographical details of a book you have found online. For example, you might find something on Google Books or Amazon and want to use infromation from it in your academic paper, but it may not be clear who the publisher is or what date it was published. Online catalogues can also be useful if you are trying to find something scarce, or if you want to know when the first edition of a particular text came out, or something like that.

The following sites should help you with searches for that kind of bibliographical information:

COPAC This is a catalogue of most of the major UK libraries.

Library of Congress US catalogue.

Advance Book Exchange Sometimes useful if you want to buy a book that you can't find anywhere else; it can also be useful for getting information about first editions (use the "highest price" option for this).


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