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English Language and Literature Research Guide: General Reference

A research guide for English.



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Selected Yale Resources

This is a selection of ready-reference sources, including catalogs, dictionaries, directories, and general guides, that are currently available in electronic format or microform. Consult with a reference librarian for information about additional printed reference materials.

Annual Bibliography of English Language and Literature (ABELL)
Annual Bibliography of English Language and Literature (ABELL) contains records covering monographs, periodical articles, critical editions of literary works, book reviews, collections of essays and doctoral dissertations published anywhere in the world from 1920 onwards. The subject areas covered include: English language, English literature, bibliography, and traditional culture of the English-speaking world.
Arts & Humanities Citation Index
An index to the literature of the arts and humanities.
Book Review Digest Plus
A bibliographic database that cites and provides excerpts of reviews of current English-language fiction and non-fiction books for children and adults. An abstract of each book is also provided. Periodical coverage includes approximately 109 leading magazines from the United States, Canada and Great Britain.
Books In Print
Index to books in print, forthcoming books, and recently out-of-print books. The current printed volumes are available at the following libraries: Art & Architecture, Divinity, Engineering and Applied Science, Forestry, Geology, Kline, Law, Medical, Music, Social Sciences Library, and Sterling Memorial Library.
Gale Literary Databases
Includes Associations Unlimited; Biography and Genealogy Master Index; Contemporary Authors, Contemporary Literary Criticism Select; Dictionary of Literary Biography
Humanities Abstracts Full Text
A bibliographic database that cites articles from English-language periodicals in the fields of archaeology and classical studies, art and photography, folklore, general scholarship, history, journalism and communications, language and literature, literary and political criticism, music and performing arts, philosophy, and religion and theology. Periodical coverage includes some of the best-known scholarly journals and numerous lesser-known but important specialized magazines.
Individual Literature Collections (LION)
Lit Finder
Lit Finder is a international literature resource covering all time periods, comprised of five databases that provide extensive full-text content in English or English translation of the works included.
Provides the full text poems; citations to poetry found in anthologies, single-author volumes, and periodicals; poems published in the current year which forms an annual anthology of the latest poetry published; poetry explication; and biographical and critical essays on hundreds of poets.

Short stories with accompanying biographical information and critical discussion.

Full-text essays and discursive writing based on books published in the 20th century that focus on the humanities and social sciences, and include biographies and literary criticism.

Plays covering the range of dramatic expression, including one-act plays, puppet plays, Harlinquinades, tragedies, gothic, children's, religious, romantic, historical, and comedic plays. The collection includes many nationalities, all in English or English translations.

Over 1,800 of the best and the best-known speeches of the past 2,500 years and categorizing them into easily searchable genres.
Literature Online with MLA
English and American poetry, drama and prose, plus biographies, bibliographies and key criticism and reference resources. A search in this database also automatically searches the MLA Bibliography, Annual Bibliography of English Language and Literature (ABELL) (the Annual Bibliography of English Language and Literature), and selected Web resources chosen by the editors. Search results in Literature Online also link directly from this database to EEBO (Early English Books Online).
MLA Bibliography
Index to materials on literature, languages, linguistics, and folklore, excluding book reviews.
Orlando: Women's Writing in the British Isles from the Beginnings to the Present
Orlando provides entries on authors' lives and writing careers, contextual material, timelines, sets of internal links, and bibliographies. Interacting with these materials creates a dynamic inquiry from any number of perspectives into centuries of women's writing.
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
Short Story Index
Short Story Index is the electronic version of the standard reference work Short Story Index. It is an index to short stories written in or translated into English that have appeared in collections and selected periodicals. The periodicals are those indexed in Readers' Guide to Periodical Literature and Humanities Abstracts Full Text.
Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd Edition
Fully searchable version of the OED, 2nd edition (1989). Includes definition and etymology searches, quotation searches, proximity searches, as well as boolean searching.

Biographical Information


American National Biography
Portraits of more than 17,400 men and women -- from all eras and walks of life.
American biographical archive. (Series I and Series II) (Gerry Easter. London; New York: K.G. Saur, 1986. 850 microfiches)
Fiche B1209 in Starr Main Reference Room (Annex)
This collection reproduces, in a single alphabetical sequence, the complete biographical entries on 350,000 individuals, cumulated from 400 sources dating from the 17th to the early 20th century. It covers Canada as well as the United States. The first several fiche contain the biographical sources used to compile the collection.
GUIDE: No index is necessary; all the entries for an individual appear together, and eye-legible fiche headers provide access.

Bio-Base (Detroit: Gale, 1978- .)
SML (Fiche S320) in Starr Main Reference Room (Annex)
This microfiche set indexes a large number of biographical reference sources. The guide to Bio-Base abbreviations, next to the Fiche reader, is annotated with Yale Library locations and call numbers.
Biography Index
SML, Reference Z5301 B56 (LC)
Cumulative index to biographical information in books and magazines. The print volumes cover 1946- present, and the online version goes back to 1984.
Biography Resource Center
Database of biographical information throughout history, around the world, and across all disciplines and subject areas. It combines more than 245,000 biographies from sources such as Contemporary Authors, Encyclopedia of World Biography, Newsmakers, Contemporary Theatre, Film, and Television, Contemporary Musicians, Historic World Leaders, Notable Twentieth-Century Scientists, Contemporary Black Biography, Religious Leaders of America, International Dictionary of Art and Artists, Writers Directory; with full-text articles from nearly 250 periodicals including American History, The Christian Century, Saturday Night, U.S. News & World Report.
British Biographical Archive (Series I and Series II)(Laureen Baillie and Paul Sieveking. Munchen; New York: K.G. Saur, 1984- . 1158 microfiches)
SML, Reference Fiche B1275 in Starr Main Reference Room (Annex)
Included in this British biographical archive are biographical entries from 324 reference books originally published between 1601 and 1929. Particular care was taken to include women in this collection, and there are many cross references. Like the other Saur biographical archives, the first fiches provide the title pages and prefaces from the source works. The entries are arranged in one alphabetical sequence.
GUIDE: There is a short introduction filed with the fiches in the Starr Main Reading Room.
Biography and Genealogy Master Index
Biography and Genealogy Master Index is a comprehensive index to nearly 12 million biographical sketch in more than 2700 volumes and editions of current and retrospective reference books, covering both contemporary and historical figures throughout the world.
Contemporary Authors
Information on the lives and writings of nearly 100,000 authors along with critical reaction to their works.
Dictionary of Canadian Biography
Biographical information on persons who died between the years 1000 and 1920 or whose last known date of activity falls within these years.
Dictionary of New Zealand Biography
Biographies of New Zealanders no longer living which were originally published in the printed Dictionary of New Zealand Biography series between 1990 and 2000, and in the parallel Maori-language series, Nga Tangata Taumata Rau.
Orlando: Women's Writing in the British Isles from the Beginnings to the Present
Orlando provides entries on authors' lives and writing careers, contextual material, timelines, sets of internal links, and bibliographies. Interacting with these materials creates a dynamic inquiry from any number of perspectives into centuries of women's writing.
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
Biographical information on persons connected with the British Isles from all periods of history. The qualifications for inclusion are that subjects not be living, that they inhabited or were connected with the British Isles, and that they were noteworthy. The noteworthy and influential element in a subject's life may range from the great and good to the popular, philanthropic, pioneering, scientific, social, curious, or criminal. Building on the work originally incorporated in the Dictionary of National Biography all of whose entries were revised or rewritten for this work -- the Oxford DNB contains 50,000 biographies and 10,000 images of men and women who shaped all aspects of Britain's past, from the fourth century BC to the year 2000.

Selected Internet Resources


British Fiction, 1800–1829: A Database of Production, Circulation, and Reception
British Fiction allows users to examine bibliographical records of 2,272 works of fiction written by approximately 900 authors, along with a large number of contemporary materials (including anecdotal records, circulating-library catalogues, newspaper advertisements, reviews, and subscription lists).

Historical Directories 

A digital library of local and trade directories for England and Wales, from 1750 to 1919. It contains high quality reproductions of comparatively rare books, essential tools for research into local and genealogical history.
A Serials UNion CATalogue for the UK. SUNCAT will be both the key tool for locating serials held in UK libraries and a central source of high-quality records that can be used by university and college libraries to upgrade their local catalogues.
Welsh Bible 1588
A digital version of the first Welsh translation of the complete Bible, including the Apocrypha. It was the work of William Morgan, 1545-1604, a native of Penmachno, Conwy and a graduate of St. John's College, Cambridge. This folio volume was printed in black letter by the deputies of Christopher Barker, the Queen's Printer. It was intended for church rather than home use.

Librarian for Literature in English, Comparative Literature, and Linguistics

Todd Gilman's picture
Todd Gilman
Sterling Memorial Library

130 Wall Street

PO Box 208240

New Haven, CT 06520-8240

(203)-432-1761 (office phone)