Resources for English Literature

Philip Robinson Library

We’ve got a wide range of specialist information resources for English literature students. We know it can be rather overwhelming knowing where to start, so this blog post gives you a whistle stop tour of what you can find.

Library Search and your reading lists are great starting points for finding books, journals and other resources for your modules, but we’ve highlighted below some more specialised resources which you’ll want to explore.

Interdisciplinary academic research databases

Interdisciplinary bibliographic databases, such as Scopus or JSTOR are a great starting point after Library Search, as they enable you to discover secondary literature, irrespective of the subject area, and have really helpful features to help you focus your search. This can be useful if your topic covers more than one subject area, or if you’re trying to scope your topic broadly. Content includes journal articles, conference papers, book chapters and reviews.

Specialist English literature research databases

Literature Online (LION) is an indispensable database for researching English literature. It comprises three main sections:

  • literary criticism: search articles from over 400 journals, together with the Annual Bibliography of English Language and Literature
  • primary texts:  350,000 works of poetry, prose and drama from the 8th century to the present
  • reference: encylopedias, topic overviews and author biographies
Screenshot of the Literature Online homepage, showing the basic search options.
LION search screen

You can search all of these information types at once with the All button selected, or focus on a particular section by choosing the appropriate button. 

If you haven’t used LION before, or would like a refresher, a good way to get an insight into the content, and different ways to search, is to try out the sample searches in this LION guide (Links to an external site.).

Film and Television Literature Index

If you’re researching a film or television studies topic, including literary adapations, then you may find Film and Television Literature Index to be useful. It includes articles from academic journals and film magazines, and coverage is focused on film and television theory, writing, production  and reviews.  

Digitised archives

Screen shot of a verse manuscript from Romanticism: Life, Literature and Landscape.
Romanticism: Life, Literature, Landscape

There is a vast range of digitised literary archives available, and it would be impossible to list every one, but we have picked out some major resources on the English Literature subject guide, in the General literary resources > archives section. These include:

Literary Print Culture

Perdita Manuscripts

Romanticism: Life, Literature and Landscape

Click on the links above for blog posts giving more information about these fascinating archives.

We also have a fascinating range of historic and contemporary literary archives in our own Special Collections section: please browse the web site by subject to find out more and read here for how to consult items and get further advice.

Literary texts: historic book collections online

Oxford World’s Classics

As well as the many individual literary print and e-books in our collections, we also have access to several major online collections of literary texts from different historical periods, which feature in-depth contextual information, facsimile images of the original texts, and sophisticated search and analytical features.

From Early English Books Online (EEBO) and Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO), we have access to almost every book published in English from the fifteenth to nineteenth century, complemented by other specialist collections, such as Oxford Scholarly Editions Online.

ECCO screenshot

Our blog post gives an overview of five of the major collections. You can find all the individual books from these collections on Library Search, but we recommend searching and browsing the databases themselves (for example, EEBO) to get the best searching and viewing experience.

Audiovisual resources: Box of Broadcasts and Drama Online

Box of Broadcasts (BoB) contains over two million programmes from over 75 television and radio channels. Coverage mostly dates from 2007 to the present day.  It’s a great resource for finding literary adaptations on television, film and radio, together with documentaries about writers, and arts review broadcasts. Find out how to get the best out of BoB via our BoB blog post.

Drama Online screenshot

The Library has purchased various collections from the Drama Online database, which comprises the text of over 3,000 plays, from ancient Greek drama to contemporary works, together with contextual works relating to drama theory and practice. We have also recently bought several video collections, featuring films of major theatrical productions from the National Theatre, Globe and Royal Shakespeare Company.

Read more about this exciting platform and the very latest content on our blog post.

English Literature Subject Guide

This posting is just a taster of all the great resources available for your subject area. To access them and find out more, visit your Subject Guide and explore the databases and other subject specific resources which we’ve curated for English literature.

There are also subject guides for related subject areas which you may find useful, including English language and linguistics, and Film Studies.

Our Resource Guides point to different types of information, such as newspapers, images and statistics.

Resources for Language and Linguistics

Book and notebook on a desk with a book shelf in the background.

The Library has lots of great collections and resources, so when it comes to finding wider reading for your topic or beginning research for your assignment or dissertation it might all seem a bit overwhelming.  Library Search can be a great place to start looking for information but there are many other resources you might want to try. To help you get the best out of our resources we’ve put together this list of some of the most useful online databases and collections for the study of Language and Linguistics.

Let’s dive in!

Scopus

Scopus is a large, interdisciplinary database of peer-reviewed literature, providing an index of articles, book chapters, conference papers and trade publications. 

One of the main advantages of using Scopus is that it provides a lot of useful information about the articles it indexes. This includes full reference lists for articles and cited reference searching, so you can navigate forward and backward through the literature to uncover all the information relevant to your research.  You can also set up citation alerts, so you can be informed of new, relevant material automatically.

Video guide to expanding your search results in Scopus.

Scopus includes other smart tools that can help you track and visualise the research in your area, including author and affiliation searching, visual analysis of search results, a journal analyser, and author identifier tools. You’ll find tutorials and advice on using these features in the Scopus support centre and on their YouTube Channel.

JSTOR

JSTOR provides access to full-text materials including scholarly journals, books and book chapters in the arts, humanities, and social sciences. It has basic and advanced search options that allow you to search by topic keyword, author, subject area, title or publisher.

Take a look at our Get more out of JSTOR blog post to find tips for advanced searching on this database.

Screenshot showing the JSTOR homepage

Linguistics and Language Behavior Abstracts (LLBA)

Linguistics and Language Behavior Abstracts is an excellent resource for those interested in the nature and use of language.  The database focuses on academic resources for the study of language, including phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax and semantics, and descriptive, historical, comparative, theoretical and geographical linguistics.

LLBA has the added advantage of including a specialised linguistics thesaurus, which you can use in advanced search to refine and focus your search. The thesaurus provides a searchable list of all the subject terms used in the database and highlights links between broader, narrower and related terms, helping you to select all of the keywords relevant to your topic.

Screen shot showing the thesaurus in LLBA.

ProQuest provide a helpful and detailed guide to LLBA which includes search tips for basic and advanced search as well as some sample searches you can work through to familiarise yourself with the database. 

The Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics

The Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics is a comprehensive online reference work covering 27 key areas of the field, including Language Learning and Teaching, Bilingual and Multilingual Education, Assessment and Testing, Corpus Linguistics, Conversation Analysis, Discourse and Technology and Language.  You’ll also find over 200 entries on the philosophy and history of applied linguistics and biographies of key applied linguists.

You can browse the Encyclopedia by topic or look for keywords using simple or advanced searches.

Accents and Dialects

Accents and Dialects is a searchable database of English accent recordings from the British Library Sound Archive.  Recordings include early spoken word snippets from the 1890s onwards, Opie’s collection of children’s songs and games, an evolving English word bank, and a survey of English dialects.  Each recording includes a detailed description, and some include additional linguistic descriptions too.   Most recordings can be downloaded for academic use.

You can browse the database by project, county, or date.  You can also use the search box on the top right of the page to look for specific keywords, including dialects or places.

Screen shot of the Accents and Dialects homepage.

The British Library have also developed an interactive timeline showing the evolution of the English language from the 11th Century to the present day.  This requires Adobe Flash to view.

The Cambridge History of the English Language

The Cambridge History of the English Language is a six-volume work providing an authoritative account of the history of English; from Old English through to modern variations in Britain and overseas. Each volume gives a chronological overview of the data, links to scholarship in the area and considers the impact of current and developing linguistic theory on the interpretation of the data.

You can access volumes individually on Library Search or sign in via institutional login at the link above to browse all volumes together.

Historic Newspapers

The Library provides access to several million digitised pages of historic newspapers, dating from the seventeenth century.  We have all UK broadsheet archives online (e.g. The Times, The Guardian, The Telegraph) as well as titles which are strong in arts and culture coverage, such as the Times Literary Supplement.

If you want to search across a range of historic new sources, start with Gale Primary Sources, as this gives access to all our British newspaper archives, except The Guardian and The Observer. Gale also has a useful tool called term frequency that allows you to track the history of particular words and phrases.

Screen shot from Gale showing term frequency for Fake News.

You’ll find an overview of all our News resources on our Newspaper Guide.

Box of Broadcasts (BoB)

Box of Broadcasts allows you to access TV and radio broadcasts from over 65 channels, including most of the UK’s Freeview network, all BBC TV and radio content from 2007, and several foreign language channels. It’s a great resource for finding documentaries or critical opinions.

You can view archived programmes, create clips and playlists, and see transcripts to help with citation and translation. You can also search other user’s public playlists to see curated lists around topics similar to your own. There are lots of helpful tutorial videos on the BoB website.

Unfortunately, Box of Broadcasts is not available outside the UK.

English Language and Linguistics Subject Guide

This list was just a taster of all the great resources available for your subject area, to access these and to find out more visit the English Language and Linguistics Subject Guide and explore the journals, databases and subject specific resources we’ve curated for students interested in this field of study. 

There are also subject guides for specific languages which may be useful for you to explore, including Chinese and Japanese studies, German studies, French studies, Italian studies, and Spanish and Latin American studies.

Resource in focus: State Papers Online

The Library has access to the digitised State Papers Online from 1509 to the end of the State Papers series in 1782, providing a fascinating research resource for early modern Britain and Europe.

What are the State Papers?

They are predominantly official papers of the Secretaries of State from the period, and include correspondence, reports, memoranda and civil service drafts, covering a wide range of domestic and international matters, and emanating from the highest levels of power. The collections include letters from popes, diplomats, and rulers of other countries, as well as records such as military and naval registers, and thus provide a fascinating record of the Tudor, Stuart and early Georgian periods in England and beyond.

A selection of entries

It is an major resource for researching themes such as the monarchy, law and order, religious conflict, wars and treaties, international trade and the emergence of party politics.

What’s in this collection?

The digitised collections comprise the papers themselves, digitised from the original manuscripts, as well as the ‘calendars’, which catalogue and briefly describe or summarise the manuscripts, and which have been transcribed into text. The manuscripts themselves are mostly not searchable (except for a few series which have been transcribed). The calendars are searchable, and each calendar entry links to its manuscript, making the research process significantly easier than pre-digitisation.

How to search

You can search or browse the State Papers in various ways. We’d recommend selecting Advanced Search to access all the options for focusing your search. Note useful options such as fuzzy search, which enables you to search for spelling variants, plus the option to limit your search to records with a manuscript, and/or a transcript of the manuscript.

Advanced search screen

The Browse function may be useful if you wish to work through a particular series of State Papers: you can either browse the calendars or manuscripts.

There are various options for saving, downloading and exporting results.

Help and guidance

Help options
Help options

If you are using the State Papers for the first time, we’d recommend reading the relevant About State Papers Online section to get an overview of what each collection contains.

You will also find very helpful contextual information in the Research Tools section.

  • Reference includes glossaries, explanations of dates, weights and measures etc;
  • Links gives links to useful guidance such as paleography courses.
  • Essays gives more detailed insights into each collection, written by experts.
  • Key documents picks out important highlights from the collections.
  • You can also click Help in the top right of the screen for in-depth help with searching and exporting.

We’re here to help (even when we’re not)

Christmas scene with dining table

The University may be closed for the Christmas period but if you are studying, writing assignments or revising, library resources and help are always available. We may not be in the building, but the library team can help you with your semester 2 preparation.

Use your Library Subject Guide

If you are not sure which resources are best to use for your subject or what you can access off-campus, visit your Subject Guide . The guides bring together links and help for the specialist information sources in your discipline.

Visit the Library over the vacation

The Philip Robinson Library building will be open for the majority of the Winter break (Friday 24th December 2021 – Monday 3rd January 2022) but is closed on Christmas Day (Saturday 25th December) and New Year’s Day (Saturday 1st January). All other library buildings will be closed for the entire Winter break.  If you need access to books and journals, or a quiet place to study, all you will need is to book your study space online and to bring your University smartcard to enter the building. Visit the website for the Library vacation opening hours. Please remember that it is currently mandatory to wear a face covering when moving around indoors in all university buildings (free masks are available at the Library Welcome Desk).

Have a question? Check the FAQs

We have an extensive database of frequently asked questions available on the Library website. You can search by keyword or browse by topic area and find answers to the most common questions. So whether you want to know how to access newspapers from the Library, how to book study space or get help with EndNote, check the FAQs to see if we have already answered your question.

Contact Library Help

If you need help or have a question, use Library Help to get in touch with us. You can live chat with a librarian outside of the University to get immediate answers, or send us a message and we will get back to you when the University reopens.

So remember, you can access all of our online resources, journals and e-books from the Library website and we will be back in the Library on Tuesday 4th January 2022. Enjoy the festive season!

Tips for creating your study space

If you’re away from Newcastle over the Winter break you may be studying in unfamiliar or unusual spaces, which can make it more challenging to concentrate or find your motivation. Procrastination may be a struggle and creating a space, both physical and online, in which to be your most productive is something that many of us find challenging. It may not always be possible, but creating a managed space to study in will help. So what are our tips for creating the perfect study space at home?

1. Select your space

If possible, designate a space as your study environment. It may be your room in a shared house, the kitchen table, office, dining room or a spot in the hallway. Wherever you choose, claim it and make it yours in order to reduce distractions from those you live with and to create a studying mindset.

It can be invaluable to have a ‘work space’ which is separate from the rest of your life and spaces in which you relax. Even if this is simply a cheap desk in your bedroom, having a ‘study spot’ which is dedicated to your academic work will help you create structure and routine, and feel in the studying zone. It also makes for less embarrassment when you turn your camera on in Zoom or Teams.

2. Make it comfortable

While it may be tempting to study from your bed (which we’ve all done!), sitting upright will help you stay alert. Not to mention the benefits for your shoulders, back and neck. Start with a desk or table if you can, as it will allow you to make an organised space and leave your hands free to take notes.

It’s also worth thinking about how you can make the space more comfortable by opening a window for fresh air every so often, and the level of natural light you can introduce. Perhaps think about studying earlier in the day so that the natural brightness helps you stay alert and boosts your mood.

3. Tidy space, tidy mind

A cluttered study space can make it more difficult to focus and introduce unwanted distractions. By filing away your notes and de-cluttering your space at the end of a day, you will be able to start the next day fresh and find the learning materials you need.

This goes for your online spaces too. Think about how and where you keep your assignments, notes and any materials you download from Canvas, to ensure you are able to access the materials as you prepare assignments or revise for exams. Set up folders in One Drive that relate to each module or project you are working on and be sure to keep track of any collaborative work, such as projects in Teams. Managing the information you collect as you study and keeping it organised in some way is an essential study skill. Visit the Managing Information Guide for more tips.

4. Gather some stationery

It’s a simple tip, but keep a pen and paper nearby so that you can make quick notes. This might be jotting down an idea or something to remind yourself about at a later date. Many of you will take your notes digitally and may have a tablet you use within your programme, but having a notebook and pen to hand is a valuable backup. If you prefer handwritten notes, make sure you have a good organisational system so that you are able to retrieve the information you need.

You’ll find lots of useful tips around notetaking on the ASK website.

5. Listen to some music

Some of you may find studying in silence works best for you, while others may need a little background noise to block out distractions. Select a soundtrack for your study that helps you concentrate, with a mixture of mood boosting tracks and songs that are a little more mellow and calming. You’ll find lots of readymade study playlists on streaming services, or you could start with our Library Spotify playlists.

6. Switch off your devices

Many of us will recognise our mobile phone as a significant source of distraction and cause of many unproductive minutes. Switch off your mobile phone, log out of social media accounts on your study device and turn off the TV. This will help you create designated study time as well as space. It will also be a step towards introducing breaks in your study routine.

7. Take breaks

Taking regular breaks and walking away from your study space will help you return feeling refreshed. Why not download the iNCLude App? It has been designed to help you take small steps to improve and maintain your wellbeing, by creating positive habits and helping you focus on more than just your academic studies.

One valuable bonus tip from the WDC about taking breaks:

When you break, take a moment to leave a ‘note to future self’ about where you got to or what you were intending to do next.

Writing Development Centre, Managing Time and Motivation
Student studying with laptop and notebook.

8. Be organised

Learning remotely is challenging when you have to manage your own time and motivation. Being organised and creating your own plan or timetable can help.

The WDC have created some great guides, podcasts and videos with tips that might help, including creating structure and routinestudying in short bursts and how to motivate yourself.

When you begin your study session make sure you have everything you need to hand so that you don’t interrupt your flow. You might want to leave your laptop charger nearby!

Our mobile apps and resources guide also includes some suggestions for apps that can help you be more organised and boost your productivity.

Visit the ASK website for more study and academic skills advice

Try the new Web of Science

Web of Science homepage with advanced search

Over the summer we moved to the newly revitalised Web of Science platform and the consensus amongst the Liaison Team is that it’s great! When asked the difference between Scopus and Web of Science and why you would use one database rather than the other, it is largely a question of personal preference and you when engaged in more advanced research you may need to use both databases.

If you are new to Web of Science the name may imply it is a science database, however it provides access to current and retrospective multidisciplinary information from approximately 21,000 peer-reviewed, high-quality scholarly journals published worldwide (including Open Access journals); over 205,000 conference proceedings; and over 104,000 editorially selected books within their Social Sciences Citation Index®, and Arts & Humanities Citation Index™ collections. 

Web of Science also allows cited reference searching where you can navigate forward, backward, and through the literature, searching all disciplines and time spans to uncover all the information relevant to your studies.

Where to find Web of Science

You can access Web of Science from Library Search. This will help you to access the database successfully as you will be prompted to log in with your University username and password. Simply search for it by name from the Library website.

You will also find a link to on the Journals and Databases page of your Subject Guide, which provides a list and links to the recommended databases in your discipline.

Web of Science content

As we alluded to above, Web of Science includes much more than ‘science’ information, including:

  • life sciences, biomedical sciences
  • social sciences, arts & humanities.
  • strongest coverage of natural sciences, health sciences, engineering, computer science, materials sciences.

What’s new about Web of Science?

Start with this quick introduction to the new Web of Science to find out about the improved user interface and search functionality.

Get started with Web of Science with these advanced search tips tutorial and find out how you can be use the techniques most effectively in Web of Science. 

Help with Web of Science

As the platform is new you may find that the database automatically begins with a guided tour, taking you through the main features as you begin your search. This is a great way to get to know Web of Science. There are also lots of tip sheets, videos and training resources to explore.

Black History Month: Proud to be

Our book carousel on the EDI guide

October is Black History Month, with the theme Proud to be: “inviting black and brown people of all ages throughout the UK to share what they are proud to be.”

On the Library’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) guide, we’ve highlighted books and other resources from our collections which focus on black British people and themes across many fields, such as politics, law, music, art, business and literature.

Please take a look, and if you would like to suggest books which you think we should add to our collection, we’d love to hear from you: just fill in our suggestion form.

We’ve also compiled a Black History Month themed playlist on Box of Broadcasts, with a great collection of films and documentaries.

Don’t forget to explore the other sections of our EDI guide too: it aims to curate and highlight information resources of all kinds, relating to different EDI themes. You’ll find books, films, social media, digital and physical archives and more. We’d love to get your recommendations for anything we’ve missed, and you can still catch up on our summer reading challenge if you’d like to be inspired, or inspire others.

You can read about Newcastle University’s events to mark Black History Month here.

And watch out for a really interesting Black History Month feature from our colleagues in Special Collections and Archives, coming up later this month….

New e-book collections: Bloomsbury and Manchester University Press

We have bought several new e-book collections from Bloomsbury and Manchester University Press, complementing and updating our existing collections from these two publishers.

From Bloomsbury, we have bought new collections in:

architecture

arts and visual culture

classical studies and archaeology

education

history

linguistics

music and sound

politics and international relations

These new modules give us just under 500 new titles in total.


From Manchester University Press, we have bought the latest collections in:

political studies

history of medicine

film and media studies

These give us 136 new titles in total.

All the titles are individually catalogued on Library Search, or if you prefer, you can browse them from the publishers’ platforms via the links above. NB If you are browsing any of the Bloomsbury subject collections, under Access, tick Purchased/Open Access.

Find UK and international news with Nexis Uni

If you’re looking for UK or international news from the last thirty years or so to today, then make sure you explore Nexis. The Nexis database has recently moved to a new platform (Nexis Uni): we think you’ll find it is easier to search than the old version, and it has some really useful features.

If you’re used to ‘old’ Nexis, don’t worry: the content on Nexis Uni is exactly the same, and you can still use the ‘expert’ search features if you want to.

What does it cover?

Nexis Uni enables you to search over 17,000 news, business and legal sources. This includes most UK national and regional newspapers, together with international sources, including newspapers, newswires and news magazines in multiple languages. Coverage of news titles often dates back to the 1990s and includes today’s news. Coverage is text only, and doesn’t include images, layout, adverts etc.

Nexis Uni also gives access to specialist business information, including dossiers on major UK and international companies, together with specialist legal information.

How to search news on Nexis Uni?

There are various ways to limit your search to newspapers/news sources, but the simplest is to select the News button from the Guided Search section:

Guided Search

Type in your search term (use ” ” if searching for a phrase), select your date range, and click Search.

Limit by location of publication

Once your results are displayed, you can then further limit your search by date, publication type, location, language and more.

If you want to search news from a particular country, such as the UK, select Location by Publication >International> and then choose your continent and country.

If you would like to try more complex searching (e.g. searching in a particular section of the newspaper, or combining terms together in various ways), then click on Advanced search from the home page.

There is more detailed guidance about searching in the Nexis help centre.

Searching/browsing a particular newspaper

If you want to find a particular newspaper, choose Menu>All Sources, and then type the newspaper’s name in the Search within sources box. Click the three dot menu to get more information about coverage of the newspaper in Nexis Uni (NB ignore the phrase which says Archived source: no longer updated).

You can also use this route to add one or more newspapers as search filters, if you just want to search across certain titles only: to do this, type the newspaper title in the top search box entitled All Nexis Uni.

Personalisation features

If you’re using Nexis Uni regularly, we’d recommend you create a Nexis account, which enables you to set up alerts (click the bell icon at the top of your results listing), save searches, annotate and bookmark items, and share these with others. You can read more about alerts here.

Alert button

Please note: if you had previously set up alerts or saved searches on ‘old’ Nexis, they won’t migrate to Nexis Uni, so you’ll need to set them up again.

Where can I get more help?

Click the large question mark icon at the bottom right of the screen to get to the Nexis Help Centre >Support Resources, which includes videos and short guides.

Should I use Lexis or Nexis for UK news searching?

The ‘news’ section on the Lexis legal database enables you to search UK national and regional (but not international) newspapers. Nexis Uni is produced by the same company, and should have the same UK news coverage as Lexis, though Nexis Uni also includes a wider range of news sources such as broadcast news and news wires. We also think you’ll find the Nexis search and personalisation options are better, and easier to use, so we’d recommend Nexis. However, you might prefer to stick with Lexis if you use it regularly for legal information.

New resource now available: JSTOR ebooks collection

The Library now has access to over 59,000 extra ebooks via JSTOR. These books are from nearly a hundred different publishers in 25 countries mainly in Europe, Africa and the USA, and were all published in 2018 or earlier. We also have access to 6,500 Open Access titles.

The content is wide-ranging, encompassing many subject areas across the humanities and social sciences, as well as some natural sciences.

Our access to all the books is for an initial twelve month period, after which we will buy permanent access to certain titles; usually those which have been most heavily used.

Finding JSTOR books

JSTOR search limit

All the books are individually catalogued on Library Search, or you can find them when you search JSTOR (you can limit your search results to find books only).

You can also view a full title list in the Evidence-Based Acquisition section here.

If you would like to find out more about JSTOR’s other collections, and how to get the best out of this resource, please see our blog post.