Library Resources

About the Libraries


There are 8 libraries at the University of Maryland. The main library for literature and related materials is:     

McKeldin Library         Hours         301-405-9075     



The English Department has a subject specialist librarian who is ready and willing to help you with your research. She can help you identify the best  databases, brainstorm keywords, navigate library services, and more. Call or email to consult with Pat Herron, the English subject librarian.

Pat Herron      











You may also find materials of interest at these other campus libraries:

Art Library
(Visual Arts)



Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library
(Theatre, Music and Dance)

     Hours  301-405-9217

Hornbake Library
(Archives & Manuscripts; Nonprint Media)   


  301-405-9058 (Archives)
  301-405-9236 (Nonprint)







Research Methods

This is a basic guide to research in the field of literary studies. For more complete information, visit the course web page for your section of ENGL 301, or contact Pat Herron, the English subject librarian at OR 301-405-9280.

Finding Biographical Information on an Author

Finding biographical information about your author is a good way to get started on your research. The database Credo Reference database provides excellent biographical information for well-known authors. You can also use WorldCat, which is located on the Libraries' home page, to find biographies. To get started, enter your author’s name and the word “biography”. (For example: Olaudah Equiano biography)

 Equiano, the African : biography of a self-made... by Vincent Carretta

Finding Books of Literary Criticism on an Author or Work

Critical essays are often collected and published in book form. You can use WorldCat to find these collections of essays. The most efficient way to search for these items is to search the “Subject” field (su:) for your author’s name and the word "criticism.” (For example:  su: Joseph Conrad criticism)

 Conrad in the twenty-first century : contemporary... by Carola M Kaplan

Finding Articles of Literary Criticism on an Author or Work

To find critical essays published as journal articles, you should use the UM Libraries’  Database Finder to locate journal article databases by subejct. The Libraries subscribe to many databases in a wide range of subjects, but the most important databases for finding literary criticism are:

JSTOR and Project Muse are also helpful, although they are electronic journal collections, not databases. While they may contain a number of full-text articles on your topic, they may not represent all (or even the best) of the available scholarship.

Both MLA and ABELL include citations for articles, books, essays, dissertations, conference proceedings and more from the 1920s to the present. You can search them by entering the name of your author and/or work, alone or combined with other subject terms (for example, “abolition,” “creativity,” “feminist approach,” etc.)

When you find an article you like, click on the PDF of the article or the Find@UMD button to identify if the UM Libraries own the full-text of the article in print or electronic form. You can use the databases from off campus by logging in with your University Directory ID and password.

Primary Sources

Some ENGL 301 instructors may require you to include “primary sources” in your research. For basic information on what primary sources are and how to find them, visit the guide to Research Using Primary Sources.

Evaluating Web Sites

If you use Internet resources in your research, be sure to evaluate them for quality and reliability. The UM Libraries has created a guide to Evaluating Web Sites that can help.

Citing Your Sources

It is important to properly cite your sources to avoid plagiarism and to lend credibility to your work. These sources can help:

Contact Pat Herron, the English subject librarian, for help.

Course Pages & Guides

The guide below contains resources applicable to most sections of ENGL 301.

The Librarians also create research guides in other subject areas that may be valuable for your topic. For the complete list of research guides, see

Helpful Hints

This page offers helpful hints for your research--ways to save time and increase the effectiveness of your searching.

Research Tip #1: Working with WorldCat

WorldCat UMD is a powerful tool that allows you to search for materials in academic, special, public, and research libraries around the world. WorldCat records will tell you whether an item is owned by College Park libraries, another University System of Maryland campus, one of the Big Ten Academic Alliance Libraries, or by WorldCat (i.e., other) libraries. Items not owned by the UM System Libraries can be requested via Interlibrary Loan.

Research Tip #2: Follow the Trail

Research can be difficult, but you don't have to start from scratch if you follow the clues left by scholars who have gone before you! Two ideas:

  • Trace Footnotes: When you find a useful book or article, look at the footnotes and bibliography to find more sources on your topic.
  • Find Published Bibliographies: Search WorldCat for published bibliographies on your author. Use the "subject word/s" search option and enter your author's name and the word "bibliography." A quality bibliography may point to hundreds of primary and secondary sources on your author.

Research Tip #3: Use Your Subject tags

When you find a useful book in WorldCat, click on the full record of the book, and then click on the Description.  This will take you to the "Subjects" links which you can use to search for other books on the same topic. These links are called Library of Congress Subject Headings, and they can save you lots of time. Databases such as the MLA International Bibliography also have subject terms (sometimes called Descriptors) that you can use in the same way.

Research Tip #4: Find the Full Text of Your Article

When you find an article you like in any of the Libraries' databases, just click on Find@UMD to locate the full text wherever it is available. Find@UMD will connect you to the Libraries' e-journals and other databases to find the article in electronic form, if available, or to the Catalog to find it in print form.

If the article is not available either electronically or in print, you can use Interlibrary Loan to request it from another library.

Research Tip #5: Email Your Articles

Save time and headaches by emailing from the Libraries' Catalog and databases to yourself. That way, you'll have the complete citation when you need it, and you'll know where it came from in case you need to look it up again!

Research Tip #6: Print Out Web Pages

Did you ever find a really good Internet site that, when you visited again, had disappeared or changed completely? Unfortunately that kind of instability is the rule, not the exception, in the online world, so if you find a great site for your research, print it out! That way you can capture the pages you want to use, as well as the information you need to cite the source in your bibliography.