Research for the Gothic Novel Final Project

You can get the handout for the Final Project (Fall 2012) here.

Note that a key aspect of the paper is to find (and use) an appropriate scholarly source. I want to make sure that you find one of those. The first place to start reasearch for this project is at our library's web site.

You can start by looking for books in our library that are about the Gothic. Despite appearances and rumors, there are actually still books in our library. Many (or maybe most) of them are on North. You can either go there directly, or you can put in a request that the book come to you on South. You can do this from within the library, or from your very own internet connection. Start by going to the UML Library Catalogue and try some search terms.

The next place to go is our Database Subscriptions. Keep in mind that the University (your tax and tuition dollars) go to pay for millions of dollars worth of online access fees to get this material. This is vetted, peer-edited stuff -- the right kind of stuff to be using for your academic papers. You will find many things through google; some of it will be good, much of it will be crap, and much of what is good will be behind a paywall. Don't pay for these services: it is VERY likely that the University already has a subscription service that will give you access to the good stuff.

I'll offer a few strategies for using the databases here:

1. Be sure to log in if you're off campus to get access. If you're having trouble, do your search at a computer in the library, and/or call to get some tech help to see what's up with your off-campus connection.

2. Try a variety of search terms. Use the title of your novel, but also the author of your novel. You should also use some slightly advanced search functions, like putting quotation marks around a term to indicate that you want EXACTLY that phrase. A search for "The Turn of the Screw" (in quotation marks) will bring up a very different array of things than a search for those exact same words without the quotation marks around them. If your book title is a very common word or phrase, add additional terms, such as the author's last name, to help eliminate off-topic articles. Searching can be a lot of trial and error -- keep trying.

3. I also recommend searching "full text" within the databases, since even if the whole article isn't about a particular book, it may have mention/discussion of the book that might be useful.

4. Ask for help! Talk to a librarian first -- they are very helpful folks. Tell them what you're doing and what you're looking for -- they can give some suggestions and advice. You can also come to me. I'm available by e-mail or in person. If you're having trouble, let's talk.

And here are a few of the SPECIFIC DATABASES I recommend for this project -- ALL are available at our library's website:

[I have not included links because you need to be logged into the library's website to get access to these specfic sites; go here first and you should find all the links below.]

1. Try the MLA Bibliography. This will bring up any article catalogued by the MLA (Modern Language Association). Some, but not all, will be available full text. Even if they're not available full text, you may still be able to get these articles through links to databases provided by the library, or through ILL.

2. I like JSTOR. If you start from the JSTOR link, you can go to the "Language & Literature" area to search 226 different titles -- all of them scholarly journals -- in full text. It's very good.

3. I also like Project MUSE which has full-text search capability through a large array of articles.

4. For more recent books, you might want to try The New York Review of Books, which will have reviews of (some) of the books.

5. Also for more recent books, you might try the Contemporary Novelists resource created by Gale. It's not terrifically scholarly, but it has decent coverage of recent/contemporary writers, and this might be important for those of you with recent books.

6. eBrary Academic provides access to the full text of books, including primary sources (the novels themselves) and a variety of scholarly sources. If you're using google books (see below) and find a book that you can't read all of through the Google interface, try this. Basically, the library has paid for electronic editions of these books. Note, too, that if your novel is among these, you can do some fun full-text searches that might yield some interesting data.

7. Net Library E-Books also has full text books, but not quite as many as eBrary.

8. Oxford Reference: Literature also has full text access to the Oxford Reference collection (these are good!). There is one specifically on the Gothic, and some on other related terms/texts. You may find something useful here.


Non-UML-Library Options:

Google Books provides full-text searches of books that they have digitized. Note that some books are searchable, but you can't see the full text, while others (particularly older books) are completely open to you. Keep in mind that even if you can't access the full text of an essay, article, or book through google books, it is VERY likely that you will be able to get it through our library (follow that link to go directly to the interlibrary loan page). We have both interlibrary loan (ILL) which goes out around the world to get the books you need and a local network of New England Libraries (MAVC), which can get you your book quickly. If you find a source in Google Books that you want to explore further, try out an ILL!

Note that in many cases, what you will get is multiple copies/editions of your novel. This is particularly true for older novels. You may need to dig deeper and try a variety of search strategies.