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EN 329: American Literature I

Finding books

In the library catalog, you can search for books in multiple ways, including using a keyword, an author, a subject, and a title. All of these will produce different results in a library’s catalog.

Try a keyword search in the catalog with the author's name and compare that to an author search (if you type in Emily Dickinson the catalog will ask it you mean Dickinson, Emily. Yes, you do.)

Tip: An author search for an author's name will bring up books by the author, not about him or her.


You might also check to see if a bibliography has been published on the author you're researching. To search the catalog for these, try the author's name and "bibliography" as a keyword search. Example: emily dickinson bibliography‚Äč


Subject search can be done with the author's last name, and first name (Dickinson, Emily). The results will show all of the subjects combinations we have on that author. For example, within this search, it listed: 

  • Dickinson, Emily, 1830-1886.
  • Dickinson, Emily, 1830-1886 -- Aesthetics.
  • Dickinson, Emily, 1830-1886 -- Criticism and interpretation.
  • Dickinson, Emily, 1830-1886 -- Political and social views.
    • Subject headings are the specific way that libraries like to organize works on the same subject. This case Dickinson, Emily, 1830-1886 is the exact term that we add to the record any book that contains information about or works by this author, so that way when you find one, you can easily find all the others with that same subject. 


If you have found a book you want to use, you might also want to look at its call number. Books on the same subject will have a similar number so that they can be put on the shelf next to each other. For example, the majority of books about Emily Dickinson will start with the call number PS 1541

Glossary of Literary Terms

While reading, have you ever come across words like Bildungsroman and Pastiche? Here is a glossary to help navigate these terms:

Glossary of literary terms