Home | My Account | Sitemap | Ask a Librarian
University of Texas Libraries
Celebrating the Life
Brainstorm and Use Keywords
1. How can you make the best use of your time and find the best materials? 
Start by identifying the different threads in your research question. For each of these threads, brainstorm multiple keywords, including synonyms and related terms. This keyword tool lets you brainstorm online and send the results to yourself.

2. Use search strategies to combine and use these keywords.
Combine keywords using AND and OR:
  • AND narrows your search by looking for articles with all of the words
  • OR broadens your search by looking for articles with any of the words
Try truncating words and using a wildcard* (often the asterisk) to find multiple endings. For example, searching for wom* will bring back woman, woman's, women, and women's... and also wombat. Be strategic about how you use this to define your search.

3. Brush up on the search strategies available in the resource you are using!
Find Navigation Tools
Encyclopedias, dictionaries, and indexes can act as Navigation Tools by compiling selected information about your author, text, publisher, or era into one place. These are great places to begin your research web. Also use relevant entries to update the keywords you'll use for searching in critical and historical databases and indexes.

Dictionaries & Encyclopedias
(Tip: Search for your author and then look for bibliographies of reception, criticism, and more, and look for biographies that may contain reception information.)
  • American National Biography. Search a biographical dictionary to find details about the lives of people whom the editors consider influential in American history and culture. Entries also include bibliographies. Try searching the name of your author.
  • Dictionary of Literary Biography. Search biographical entries for a description of your author as well as reviews of and further reading about their work. Further reading includes critical bibliographies useful for information about production and reception.
  • Contemporary Authors. Includes biographical sketch, bibliography of writings including newspaper articles and obituary entries about influential authors active before 1960. Try choosing the "Search All Literature Databases" tab to search Contemporary Authors, Contemporary Literary Criticism, and Dictionary of Literary Biography at the same time.
  • Oxford African American Studies Center. Search for author names to find biographies and information about their publishing processes as well as mentions of that person in others' biographies.
  • Gale Virtual Reference Library. Search 100+ subject encyclopedias online to find background information about your topic. Try searching the name of your author then narrowing by title of the work and keyword terms.
  • Oxford Reference. Search a range of entries from specialized, including literary, encyclopedias. Try searching the name of your text or the publisher of your text.
  • Victorian Popular Culture. Find historical and biographical information.

Guides to Book History & Publishers:
(Tip: Look for mentions of your particular text or publisher, and/or use these for background on periods and terms in book history including publishing, printing, and reception.)

Need more ideas? Check out a guide to researching literature:

Find Articles, Chapters & Reviews
Start here: www.lib.utexas.edu > Research Tools > Find Articles Using Databases
The databases, indexes, and catalogs listed below include resources related to your exploration of publishing histories.

Search for Critical Essays (including historical criticism and analysis of historical periods):
  • Literature Online (LION). Includes editions, adaptations, and criticism of texts. Use the Criticism & Reference search to pair author or text names with a subject. Try searching the subject list and using, for example "bibliography: history of publishing and bookselling."
  • Literature Resource Center. Find reviews contemporary to texts.
  • MLA International Bibliography. Find criticism, including History of the Book studies, 1970s-present.
  • Search the Catalog. www.lib.utexas.edu > Research Tools > Catalog. Tips: To find editions of your book with annotations on its history, search the title of your book in quotes along with terms like authoritative and edited. To find background information and collected essays on your author, use search terms inlcuding "bibliography" and "encyclopedia."
  • Historical Abstracts. Search here for historical analyses about your author or issues in the publishing process.

Search for Reception in Newspapers:
(Also check out
other newspaper indexes.)
How Do I Find This?
Find an Article from a Citation
If you find a good book or article, check the bibliography for other useful resources.  This guide helps you find an article when you only have the citation.

Where is the article, chapter, or book?
If the Catalog, database, or index record you have located does not link to the full article or book, click the button to see if the full text is available electronically or, if you are not already in the Catalog, in print in the library. No
button? Copy the name of the journal or book and search for it in the Library Catalog title search. Not in the Catalog? Ask for help or request it through InterLibrary Services.

Where are the books?

Watch the "How to Find Books" Video Tutorial in the sidebar for directions on getting from the catalog record to the book on the shelf.
Is it Scholarly?
Use this decision tree and grid to help determine if your source is scholarly:
Get Help
Contact the course librarian:

Kristen Hogan

IM a Librarian 
Monday-Thursday, 10am - midnight
Friday, 10am - 4pm
Sunday, 6pm - midnight
Find Books Video Tutorial
Find Articles Video Tutorial