Skip to Main Content

A Guide To...Shakespeare: For delving into scholarly conversations...


Holy Cross Library Catalog Try searching the library catalog for literary criticism on your topic. When you don't have a particular title of a book in mind, begin by searching for a key term about your topic.  Once you've found some books on your topic, look at the subject headings for those books. You can use the subject heading links to find additional titles. Here are a few examples of subject headings for books that may be of interest to you for this class:

Lear, King (Legendary character), in literature.

Lear, King (Legendary character) -- Drama.

Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616. King Lear -- Sources.

WorldCat If Holy Cross does not have a particular title that you'd like to read, try searching WorldCat. Even if you don't have a specific title in mind, you can search WorldCat for books on a topic of interest. If you click on the "Borrow this item from other libraries" link, you'll be able to request books from other libraries. 

Search Tips

Spend some time brainstorming keywords and search terms. Use subject headings or descriptors to help generate search terms.

When you find a good article, look at its References or Works Cited list. That will often lead you to other useful sources.

Find Full-Text Articles

Do you have an article citation, but need to find the full-text article?

Three Steps to Finding the Full Text Article...

1. Check the Holy Cross Libraries' Catalog to find the journal in print or in electronic format by searching in the TITLE field for the name of the JOURNAL (not the article name): HC Catalog

2. If the catalog does not produce positive results, check the Electronic Journals A-Z List  by searching for the Journal name (not the article name) in the "Find" box.

3. If the Electronic Journals A-Z list does not produce positive results, order the article through InterLibrary Loan.

Evaluating online sources

Questions to help you evaluate the websites that you decide to use for your research.

Who is the author?
How is the author qualified?
Is the author an expert?
Does the author have bias? (Remember that a bias may not be directly stated.)
If no author is listed, why?

Who hosts the site?
What is their purpose?
Does the host have bias?  (Remember that a bias may not be directly stated.)
What is the domain extension? This can help you determine how reputable a website is. For example, is the domain for United Kingdom academic institutions and .edu is for US Educational institutuions.

Does the site provide its sources?
Does it refer/link you to other credible sources?
Is the information able to be cross-referenced?

Is the site regularly updated?


More Suggested Resources

In addition to the resources listed here, try searching the library catalog for books on your topic and try exploring the journals listed in the library's E-Journal collection.

MLA - Modern Language Association  (1926-Present) Major index for literary criticism, linguistics, folklore & cultural studies. In addition to journal articles, your search results will point you toward books and book chapters on your topic. When you come across a citation for a book or book chapter that looks promising, check the library catalog to see if Holy Cross has the book. If Holy Cross doesn't have the book, try requesting it through Interlibrary using WorldCat or the form on the library website. 

JSTOR (Full Text: coverage varies) An archive of scholarly journal articles from a variety of subject areas, including literary criticism and history. To access additional JSTOR content, sign up for a BPL eCard and go to the Boston Public Library's database page. *JSTOR's book reviews can be a great way to learn about books on your topic. When you come across a review for a book that looks interesting, check the library catalog to see if HC has the book. If HC doesn't have the book, try requesting it through Interlibrary using WorldCat or the form on the library website.

Project Muse (Full Text: coverage varies) Provides full-text journal articles from a variety of subject areas, including  including literary criticism and history. 

Literature Criticism Online Overviews of authors with criticism representing the entire range of response to each author. You can limit to 19th century, 20th century, or contemporary literature.

Renaissance and Reformation A peer-reviewed journal, multidisciplinary and bilingual, publishing new research on any aspect of the Renaissance and Reformation. Once you select the link above, you'll be brought to the Iter database. From here, you can scroll down to Renaissance and Reformation to search this journal. 

World Shakespeare Bibliography (1962-present) Provides annotated entries for all important books, articles, book reviews, dissertations, theatrical productions, reviews of productions, audiovisual materials, electronic media, and other scholarly and popular materials related to Shakespeare. The scope is international, with coverage extending to more than 92 languages

For a historical perspective: Historical Abstracts Covers articles, books, and dissertations in the field of world history from approximately 1450 to the present

Multidisciplinary databases:
Academic Search Premier

Expanded Academic ASAP 

ProQuest Central

    Google Scholar

    Google Scholar is a great tool for doing a broad search of scholarly literature on your topic:

    • Google Scholar searches across many disciplines. 
    • Your search results will include a broad range of sources, including journal articles, conference papers, theses, dissertations, academic books, pre-prints, and abstracts. 
    • Results come from academic publishers, professional societies, online repositories, universities and other web sites. 
    • Google Scholar also includes court opinions and patents.

    You'll just want to keep some things in mind:

    • Coverage is not comprehensive. Many sourcess are hidden in publishers' databases and journals that Google can't search, so you'll want to look at other databases as well. 
    • Search results can include links to things like course syllabi and high school term papers, so you'll want to evaluate what you find. 

    You can access advanced search features by clicking the arrow in the right of the search box. These features allow you to refine your search.

    Look for the words Get Full Txt @ Holy Cross next to an article. You should be able to access any of these articles through the library's subscriptions. If you come across a source that Holy Cross does not have access to, remember that you can request the item through Interlibrary Loan.

    Scholar Settings When you are on the Holy Cross campus, Google Scholar will automatically show you those Get Full Txt @ Holy Cross links next to articles that Holy Cross has access to. If you are off-campus, you can set your Scholar Settings to show the links for accessing sources through Holy Cross. You can modify your settings by selecting the Settings link in the upper-right corner of Google Scholar webpage.

    Click on the Cited by and Related articles links at the bottom of a search result to find more relevant articles and books.