First-Year Writing: Women and Culture (Spring 2017)

Nitecka, Agatha. Still of Kaya Scodelario (Cathy) in Andrea Arnold's Wuthering Heights (2011). Via FlickrCC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

Make an appointment for a Research Consultation!

Welcome! This page highlights tips and key resources for doing research in Reinventing Literary History: Women and Culture.

If you'd like to meet in person for additional help with your research, please use the link above to schedule a research consultation, or get in touch with your personal librarian directly. Barnard librarians are here for you!


Getting Started * Finding Books and Media * Articles * Citing Your Sources * Additional Resources
English Department Guide: Reinventing Literary History

Getting Started

  • Think of a topic that you're curious about, and write down keywords that come to mind. You can use these to search. Be open to the possibility of new keywords, and try out different combinations! Language reference sources, like the Oxford English Dictionary, can be helpful in suggesting related words and terms, too. 
  • Explore backgrounds and contexts. Reference sources can help you with concepts and terms, and they can also lead you to other relevant sources: check out the Women and Culture Spring Reference Sources Guide for some examples.
  • Search for books and articles on your topic. Carefully skim each source---including the synopsis, abstract, table of contents, and/or index--- to assess how relevant and useful it will be to you. 
  • Document the sources you find and want to use as soon as you can.

Finding Books and Other Materials at the Columbia Libraries

CLIO provides access to the vast resources of the Columbia University Libraries, including Barnard Library, but excluding Teachers College and the Law Library. Search the Catalog for book and media materials.

  • When searching for a known item, use the "title" or "author" field in the drop down search menu, and enter your search terms. 
  • If you don't yet know what you're lokking for, try a keyword search using "All Fields." Use "quotes for a phrase" and the asterisk * for truncation (liberat* searches for liberation, liberate, liberates, liberatory, etc.)
  • If a title you want isn't available via Columbia University Libraries, you may request it via Borrow Direct or Interlibrary LoanWorldcat searches libraries worldwide, to give you a broad picture of where sources may be found.


Finding Scholarly Articles

If you aren't sure where to start, you might try the CLIO Articles search, which searches multiple databases at the same time. Barnard Library's subject specific research guides can also help familiarize you with search tools for different disciplines and subject areas. Below are some suggested databases for finding sources related to your assigned texts:

  • Gender Studies Database brings together scholarly sources, including articles and book chapters, in the studies of women, gender, and sexuality.
  • Historical Abstracts covers the history of the world (excluding the United States and Canada) from 1450 to the present, including world history, military history, women's history, and history of education. 
  • Humanities Full Text brings full text (starting 1995) plus abstracts and bibliographic indexes (starting 1984) of noted scholarly sources in the humanities, as well as lesser known specialized magazines.
  • JSTOR provides access to core journals in many scholarly fields, including History, Literature, Sociology, and Women's Studies, from the earliest issues to within a few years of current publication. To refine your search, you might try limiting to journals in a specific discipline, e.g. History.
  • MLA Bibliography indexes critical materials on literature, languages, linguistics, and folklore, with access to citations from worldwide publications, but not the full text article. Use e-links to get to full text; if an e-link does not work, consider ordering the article via ILL or contact your personal librarian.
  • Proquest Direct is a multidisciplinary database of magazines, newspapers, scholarly journals and dissertations, including the full text of the New York Times from 1851 to the present.

Primary Source Research

You can use CLIO to start exploring primary sources. It's helpful to use the date-limiting facet here: specify a date range for the historical period you are investigating. 

Other places where you may find primary source material:

  • Digital Public Library of America serves as a portal to the digitized collections of various instutitions across the US, including millions of photographs, documents, books, audio materials, and moving images. The focus here is on images. You can search or browse items. 
  • Europeana presents a searchable collection of image, text, sound, and video from libraries, museum, archives, and special collections in Europe, with a focus on European history.
  • HathiTrust is a large repository of digitized texts from research libraries and digitization initiatives such as the Google Books project and the Internet Archive. Many of these texts are in the public domain and fully viewable.
  • New York Public Library Digital Collections features digitized materials from the New York Public Library's archival collections.
  • ProQuest Historical Newspapers provides full-text and full-image articles from major American newspapers: Atlanta Constitution, Baltimore Sun (1837-1985), Boston Globe, Call and Post (1934-1991), Chicago Tribune, Christian Science Monitor (1908-1997), Irish Times (1859-2009), Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Norfolk Journal and Guide (1921-2003), Philadelphia Tribune (1912-2001), San Francisco Chronicle (1865-1922), Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Scotsman (1817-1950).

Citing Your Sources

  • Citation management software allows you to manage your citations and save a lot of time! Most tools allow you to grab citations directly from CLIO, databases, and Google Scholar. Tip: While these tools can quickly generate bibliographies for you, double-check to make sure they're formatted the right way.
  • Cite Source from Trinity College Libraries shows you how to cite books, articles, tweets, podcasts, art works, blog posts, and more in th efollowing styles: ACS, APA, APSA, ASA, Chicago, and MLA.
  • Purdue University Online Writing Lab offers formatting and style guides for APA and MLA.

Additional Resources

Feedback Form