Doing Research in English

Catalog Search Strategies

You can search the Williams library catalog and other library catalogs to find books of essays and criticism.

Try one of these strategies:

  1. Find full books of criticism about your author and their works.
    Do a Browse search by Subject:  [author's last name] [author's first name].

    Look for the following sub-headings:

    Browse searches in the Williams library catalog are limited to books and other items the library owns; it does not find materials from the "Books, Articles, and More" search scope.

  2. Look for handbooks or companions for your author, literary genre, or literary movement.
    Handbooks and companions tend to have overviews, critical essays, and lists of works.  They may have the subject sub-heading "Handbooks, manuals, etc." or "criticism and interpretation."

    Do an Advanced Search for Any field: (handbook* OR companion) and Subject: [author's name, literary genre, or literary movement] 

    Example: any: (handbook* OR companion) AND any: George Eliot
    Note: The asterisk (*) after handbook will search for handbook or handbooks. 
  3. Do a Simple Search (the default library search) for [author's name] and [title of work, topic, character, etc.]

    Example: Kincaid "Annie John"

    This search will find the words "Kincaid" and the phrase "Annie John" in "Books, Articles, and More" which includes the primary text as well as books, book chapters, articles, and more with these words. It's useful to run this search when you want a broad range of results about your subject.