John Donne and Friends


Research Guide

Welcome! This page highlights key resources for conducting effective  research for John Donne and Friends.

If you need assistance identifying additional resources, search terms or strategies, please schedule a research consultation.

Personal Librarian:
Vani Natarajan
208C Lehman


Finding Books and Other Materials


  • Go to CLIO and use the Catalog search to find books, journals (but not articles in journals), links to online journals, and other materials in the Barnard and Columbia libraries, including the Health Sciences Library.
  • For a known item, search by Title, Author, standardized Library of Congress Subject HeadingISBN, etc.
  • For an All Fields keyword search, "use quotes" for a phrase, and * for truncation (to find variant endings of a word), e.g. feminis* finds feminism, feminist, feminists, etc.
  • For a complex search, use Boolean Keyword searching:
    • AND finds records which have all the search terms you entered;
    • OR finds records which have one of the search terms you entered, as well as records which have more than one of the terms. OR finds MORE.  Use parentheses to group terms, e.g. “Renaissance England” AND (sex* OR gender).

Worldcat: search for items in libraries worldwide.

BorrowDirect: borrow books directly from the libraries of Brown, Cornell, Dartmouth, the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton, the University of Chicago, and Yale, in addition to select libraries of Harvard and MIT. Items requested through BorrowDirect typically deliver in 3 to 4 business days, with a 6-week loan period + one 6-week renewal.

Interlibrary Loan: borrow books, articles/book chapters, music scores, and selected audiovisual items (i.e. maps or films) that are not currently available at Columbia University Libraries. ILL has a larger scope of participating institutions than Borrow Direct.

Browse the stacks using these call numbers:


PN Literature (General )

PN451-PN487 Literary Biography

PN1010-PN1525 Poetry

PR English Literature

PS American Literature


English Dictionaries

OED Online provides a complete historical record of the English language. It's the largest dictionary of the English language, containing 615,000 word forms with 139,900 pronunciations, 219,000 etymologies, and 2,436,600 quotations, along with timelines and historical thesauri.

Oxford Historical Thesaurus presents a "taxonomic index of language history" by tracing the changing uses of language around specific concepts and meanings across time. You can conduct searches for words or headings, or you can browse entries in a thesaurus tree.


Other Reference

Start here for biographical and bibliographical background research.

Gale Biography in Context consolidates biographical entries from over 100 reference sources, allowing for multiple perspectives on lives searched. You can also search for poets' biographies by selecting "Poet" under "Occupation."

Johns Hopkins Guide to Literary Theory and Criticism includes almost 300 entries and subentries on critics and theorists, critical schools and movements, and literary criticism and theory in specific regions of the world across history. You can browse or search articles in full text. Each article features a bibliography of works cited, organized into two sections: “Primary Sources” and “Secondary Sources.”

Oxford Reference Online offers full text of 100 searchable reference tools, including subject dictionaries and mythology dictionaries.

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy features extensively peer reviewed entries on key figures, concepts, and terms in philosophy. Entries feature extensive bibliographies with monographs and scholarly articles cited in each entry.


Journal Articles

If you are looking for secondary sources, check out these databases.

Arts and Humanities Citation Index features citations and abstracts for articles from leading journals in the arts and humanities, with some related content from sources in the social sciences and sciences. Coverage spans the early 20th century to the present. Results feature e-links to quickly search CLIO for electronic and print copies.


  • Historical Abstracts offers citations and abstracts for publications relating to world history, excluding the US and Canada, from 1450 to the present.
  • Humanities and Social Sciences Index Retrospective covers a broad range of scholary sources in the humanities and social sciences, with publication dates from 1907 to 1984.
  • Humanities Full Text features citations and abstracts from scholarly sources in the humanities, as well as lesser known specialized magazines. Many of the entries are available in full text. Documents covered include articles, interviews, obituaries, bibliographies, original works of fiction, drama and poetry, book reviews, and reviews of performances, recordings, and films.

FRANCIS provides citations to articles from journals in a variety of subjects in the humanities and social sciences, including archaeology, ethnic studies, history of art, history of science, linguistics, literature, philosophy, prehistory, religions, sociology, and economics. Results feature e-links to quickly search CLIO for electronic and print copies.

Iter:Gateway to the Middle Ages and Renaissance provides citations for scholarly journal articles and book reviews on the Middle Ages and Renaissance (400-1700).

JSTOR includes page images of key scholarly journals in the humanities and social sciences, with a particular strength in Languages and Literatures. Coverage spans the mid-19th century to the present.

Project MUSE provides full text scholarly journal articles, with citations and abstracts, from key sources in the humanities, with a special strength in literary studies. Content is updated daily, and coverage is extremely current. You can browse journals by title and discipline, and can also search articles by their assigned Library of Congress Subject Headings.


  • Arts and Humanities Full Text provides full-text access to articles from journals in diverse areas of the arts and humanities, including sources in ethnic studies, women's studies, and other related fields.
  • British Humanities Index offers access to citations from 320 internationally respected humanities journals and weekly magazines published in the UK and other English speaking countries, as well as UK newspapers. Topics covered  include architecture, archaeology, art, antiques, education, economics, foreign affairs, environment, cinema, current affairs, gender studies, history, language, law, linguistics, literature, music, painting, philosophy, poetry, political science, religion, and theatre.
  • MLA International Bibliography features citations and abstracts to scholarly articles on literature, language, linguistics, and folklore from around the world, with e-links to possible full text provided. Sources include periodicals, books, essay collections, working papers, proceedings, dissertations and bibliographies. Coverage spans 1923 to the present.
  • Periodicals Archive Online archives hundreds of digitized journals in the arts, humanities, and social sciences.


Primary Literary Sources

Digital Donne: The Online Variorum is the online component of The Variorum Edition of the Poetry of John Donne. It includes facsimile images of several early editions of Donne's work, including poems and letters.

HathiTrust Digital Library includes scanned books and manuscripts from libraries and special collections. Most of these date from the 18th century onward.

Writing and Citing

OWL: Purdue University Online Writing Lab provides general and subject specific writing tips and techniques, along with research advice and detailed citation and formatting standards for the APA, MLA, and Chicago styles.

Research and Documentation Online serves as the online version of Diana Hacker's guide Research and Documentation in the Electronic Age. It provides detailed citation and formatting standards for the APA, MLA, Chicago, and CSE styles, along with tips for research in subjects within the humanities, social sciences, and sciences. Other features include a glossary of research terms, a list of additional style manuals organized by subject, and tips for evaluating sources.

Zotero is a free, open source program that allows you to quickly save, organize, format, and share your bibliographic citations.


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