Monday, September 30, 2013

Social sciences

  • no single authoritative definition
  • those mental or cultural sciences which deal with the activities of the individual as a member of a group (R. A. Seligman. Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences)
  • any discipline or branch of science that deals with human behaviour in its social and cultural aspects (Encyclopedia Britannica)
  • branch of science
  • human behaviour focus is important
  • identify phenomenons
  • Those fields that study human behavior at the level of the individual, the group, and the society, and are concerned with people and their cultures, and with the structure and activities of human collectives, and with the interaction of human beings and their physical environment. (The Reader’s Adviser v. 3, 14th ed.)
  • Those fields of learning and research that are primarily concerned with human relationships, or more broadly, social phenomena. (Encyclopedia Americana)
Related/alternative terms
  • Behavioural sciences
    • sometimes used as a synonym
    • term came into widespread use in the 1950s
    • applies principally to the fields of psychology and sociology but also to areas within economics and political science
    • the aim of behavioural science is to establish generalizations about human behaviour that can be supported by empirical evidence (capable of being verified or disproved by observation or experiment)
  • Human sciences
    • all disciplines not falling under the natural sciences, engineering or medicine
  • Social studies
    • courses or instruction in the social sciences at the elementary and secondary school levels
Core disciplines
  • anthropology
    • languages and linguistics are consistently mentioned
  • sociology
  • psychology
  • economics
  • political science
  • history
  • geography
    • reminder that some disciplines float between humanities and social sciences and sciences
Social science professions
  • May apply findings and conclusions generated by social scientists
    • business
    • education
    • journalism
    • law
    • public health
    • social work
Social sciences: evolution
What caused the social sciences to be known as they were? Where did they come from? They have morphed since then.
  • Industrial revolution: French revolution
    • changed the way people survived in 1700s, 1800s
British revolution
Water wheels
Spinning industry
All work 16 hours a day
Create wealth for industrialists
Housing, pollution problems
French revolution
Social autocracy
People who weren't/were taking over the country

Social sciences: characteristics, trends
  • Since 1980’s majority of degrees of faculty from Canadian institutions (previously U.S., England, France)
  • Growth in Canadian history, Canadian political science
  • Noted for expertise in
    • Geographical Information Systems (GIS)
    • Research methodology for understanding how election campaign shape way people vote
    • French immersion and second language learning
General trends, characteristics, problems
  • Increasing number of women at PhD level
  • Public feels personally knowledgeable in areas of social sciences
  • Harder to get funding for research
    • public money decreasing
  • Twigging or fragmentation
    • no one place to go to
  • Interdisciplinary
  • Mission-oriented research
  • Use of new info technologies
  • Massive way of faculty retirements on horizon
Research can be spent on opinion polls. Over 70 disciplinary in humanities. Mission-oriented research look at a particular problem with people with expertise and present information.

Social science research
  • Greater use of numbers post WWII
  • Research may not be used
  • Ethical problems

Other major problems
  • Literature scatter
  • Lack of global consistency
  • Different patterns of development according to culture, resources and politics of regions

  • Social science literature and its users
    • Interdisciplinary
    • Often little interest in research conducted in other countries, especially as typical social scientist lacks reading fluency in foreign languages
    • Reliance on both journals and monographs
    • Publication explosion results in problem of information overload
    • Citations single most important source of information for social science researchers
    • Consultation with colleagues (invisible college) important but less so than in natural sciences
    • Tend to be heavy users of government information especially census and statistical data
    • With improvement in online technology and resources recent dramatic increase in their use

    Public libraries
    • Practitioners may seek info at public libraries (business, social workers, etc.)
    • General public will have need or interest for info falling in many areas of the social sciences (teachers)
    • Students at all levels for homework, general interest

    Monday, September 23, 2013

    Accessing information in language and literature

    From: Blazek, Ron and Aversa, Elizabeth. Humanities: A Selective Guide to Information Sources, 5th ed. Englewood, Colorado: Libraries Unlimited, 2000.

    Working definitions of language and literature
    Language and literature are treated together in this guide because they are interdependent and because one of the primary ways of organizing literature is by the language of the literary work under consideration. 
    The common definitions of language and literature suggest that language has to do with spoken and written words and the systems for their use, while literature comprises the writings that capture ideas. Although literature, it can be said, is dependent on language for its very essence, it is probably wise to look at the definitions of the two fields separately, at least at the very outset. Because language is a requirement of literature, it is considered first. 
    Language, according to one commonly used reference tool, is “systematic communication by verbal symbols” (The Concise Columbia Encyclopedia (New York: Avon, 1983), pp. 456-66); another dictionary states that language is the “form or style of verbal expression” (The Merriam-Webster Dictionary (New York: Pocket Books, 1974), p. 397); while a third suggests that it is “communication by voice in the distinctively human manner.” (The American College Dictionary (New York: Random House, 1961), p. 685). All of these definitions, spanning nearly thirty years, seem to suggest that language must be spoken, when in fact some languages (notably sign languages and artificial languages) are not vocal yet constitute a means of communication within a community nonetheless. Some might argue that sign language is a substitute for spoken language, while other researchers suggest that it is indeed a language in its own right and not a surrogate at all. The same may be said for computer programming languages that sometimes substitute for foreign-language requirements for admission to academic programs. 
    Languages are subdivided into families and stocks, based upon the relationships among and derivations of each. Often, but not always, the distribution of languages is of geographic origin: Sino-Tiberian languages, for example, are most often used in a particular Asian region. 
    Closely involved with the study of language are the fields of linguistics (the scientific study of language) and anthropology (the study of social and cultural constructs and how humans live within them). Language is sometimes claimed as a subdiscipline of both. 
    To clarify the definitions of language, the reader should consult Edward S. Apir’s Language: An Introduction to the Study of Speech (Harcourt, 1921; repr., 1955), a classic cited in later textbooks. Literature is easier to define. Helen Haines, in the now-classic Living with Books (2d ed., Columbia University Press, 1950), offers: “Literature, in familiar library classification and definition, embraces the whole domain of imaginative and creative writing as well as the history, philosophy, and art of literary expression and various distinctive forms in which literary art finds manifestation.” 4 Although Haines later differentiates literature from science, we can assume from her definition that the “distinctive forms” might include writings in the sciences and social sciences, thus constituting the literature of science, social sciences literature, and indeed, the literature of library and information science. These “literatures of…” refer to writings in a special discipline or field of study. Sometimes definitions of literature suggest a value judgment: that the literature has “lasting value” or is of “permanent interest.” 
    The importance of the literature of various academic disciplines is made apparent in the curricular offerings of graduate schools of library science, information science, and information studies. Courses such as “Social Studies Literature,” “Resources in the Humanities,” and “Sources and Services: Science and Technology” are just a few examples. 5 The role of the literatures, as vehicles for scholarly communication, is stressed in courses entitled “Scientific and Technical Communication” and the like. Few courses in contemporary programs put the whole emphasis on titles; most now include coverage of structures of the literature, the roles of various types of publications, and the unique forms of communications that one finds in the fields under study. 
    Some are inclined to define literature by the genres, or forms, that are usually included including fiction, poetry, drama, essays and criticism. Asheim included oratory, excluded essays, and suggested that “imaginative writings” in those forms should define the area of literature. The same parameters are observed in this guide. 
    The issue of value in literature is an important one. While this issue is of interest in all fields of the humanities, the fact that criticism of one work may ultimately become a part of the body of literature itself is nowhere more evident than in the areas of literary scholarship. The critical literature, then, is subject to subsequent criticism as well. 
    Major divisions of the field
    Both of the basic approaches to the division of literature, by language and by form, are usually taken into account in the customary division of the field. The Reader’s Advisor: A Layman’s Guide to the Literature (R. R. Bowker, 1988, v. 2) divides literature by language group and form, covering drama and then other literature. 
    Division of literature on the basis of the language in which it is written may require some refinements and modifications. For example, the volume of literature written in English is so large that further subdivision is desirable. In this case the term “English literature” is restricted to the output of the United Kingdom that appears in English, or even to the literature of England alone. Separate provision is customarily made for American literature, Australian literature, and so forth. At the other extreme, some of the world’s smallest literatures may be grouped together under a single parent language. 
    As suggested above, the basic forms of literature are poetry and prose. Prose is normally divided into novels, short stories, and essays. Poetry is normally treated as a single unit, but it can be subdivided by type (lyric poems, epic poems, etc.). The drama, as a literary record of what is to be performed on the stage, has an independent life of its own and may also be considered a major literary form. Modern drama is ordinarily prose, but it may also be verse, or it may consist of both prose and verse. 
    Another approach to the organization of literature is by historical periods of literary movements. These are often combined with the forms outlined above. J. B. Priestly’s classic Literature and Western Man (Harper, 1960) divides the field by form (poetry, drama, and fiction) and by chronological period. Another detailed approach to the divisions of language and literature is offered by The Modern Humanities Research Association in ABELL: The Annual Bibliography of English Language and Literature (MHRA, 1920—1997, v1-72). Many of the divisions and subdivisions can be applied to other than English materials; see the Web pages at (accessed December 19, 2012). 
    In addition to the extensive coverage of literature and of individual language literatures in general encyclopaedias (Encyclopedia Americana and Encyclopedia Britannica both have excellent articles), Haines’s Living with Books should be consulted for the classic librarian’s view of the fields of literature, drama, poetry, and fiction. A more recent discussion, also directed to the librarian, is James K. Brachen’s “Literature,” in The Humanities and the Library, edited by Nena Couch and Nancy Allen (American Library Association, 1993, pp. 86-131). The sources in the historical section of Chapter 12 of this guide provide additional background reading on literature. 
    A recommended source for more current Internet resources is Pam Day’s “Internet Reference Resources in Language and Literature” The Reference Librarian 57 (1997): 153-59. 
    Use and users of information in language and literature
    Of all the disciplines covered in this guide, literature is the one in which scholars have been subjected to greatest scrutiny in terms of their information needs and information-seeking behaviors. Surveys, observational studies, and unobtrusive citation analyses provide an interesting and varied picture of the literature scholar’s work habits and literature use. Because of the number of studies in this area, only those reported after 1980 are listed here; for earlier work, see earlier editions of this guide. 
    R. Heinzkill looked at English literary work in “Characteristics of References in Selected Scholarly English Literary Journals,” Library Quarterly 50 (July 1980): 352-65. M. Stern’s “Characteristics of the Literature of Literary Scholarship,” College and Research Libraries 44 (July 1983): 199-209, is another frequently cited article. In 1985-1986, three significant studies were published: John Cullars’s “Characteristics of the Monographic Literature of British and American Literary Studies,” College and Research Libraries 46 (November 1985): 511-22; John Budd’s “Characteristics of Written Scholarship in American Literature: A Citation Study,” Library and Information Science Research 8 (April 1986): 189-211; and John Budd’s “A Citation Study of American Literature: Implications for Collections Management” Collection Management 8 (Summer 1986): 49-62. 
    John Cullars has investigated the characteristics of other special literatures in “Citation Characteristics of French and German Literary Monographs,” Library Quarterly 59 (October 1989): 305-25; “Characteristics of the Monographic Scholarship of Foreign Literary Studies by Native Speakers of English,” College and Research Libraries 49 (March 1988): 157-70; and more recently, “Citation Characteristics of Italian and Spanish Literary Monographs,” Library Quarterly 60 (October 1990): 337-56. 
    Richard Hopkins’s doctoral dissertation, “The Information Seeking Behaviour of Literary Scholars in Canadian Universities” (University of Toronto, 1988), confirmed and refined findings of some earlier works, and suggests that constraints of time and cost affect information seeking among scholars. The findings are summarized in Hopkins’s “The Information Seeking Behaviour of Literary Scholars,” Canadian Library Journal (April 1989): 113-15. 
    Broader studies of humanists’ information seeking and use have included faculty members and literary scholars. Two still useful reports are Stephen E. Wiberley, Jr., and William G. Jones, “Patterns of Information Seeking in the Humanities,” College and Research Libraries 51 (May 1990): 231-40. 
    As we predicted in this guide’s fourth edition, the recent years have yielded many studies of the use of electronic materials: scholars’ attitudes toward electronic sources and texts; and studies of new work methods made possible by networks, document delivery services, and other information technologies. See, for example, “Bibliographies Database Searching by Graduate Students in Language and Literature: Search Strategies, System Interfaces, and Relevance Judgments,” by Debora Shaw (Library and Information Science Research 17 (Fall 1995): 327-45). 
    Computers in language and literature
    The area of computing in language and literature continued to grow in the 1990s. In the fields of language and literature, computational linguistics, language teaching, writing and editing, text analysis, and automated translation are some of the areas for which we have an extensive literature. But perhaps the most prevalent growth has been in the area of Internet and Web resources. Bibliographies such as the Annual Bibliography of English Language and Literature are now available on the Web as well as on CD-ROM. Records in the bibliography from 1920 through 1946 are available at (accessed December 14, 1999). MLA International Bibliography, Linguistics and Language Behavior Abstracts (LLBA) and other important resources are available in a variety of machine-readable formats. 
    Another important Web resource is Voice of the Shuttle at (accessed December 19, 2012). This site includes numerous resources in all areas of the humanities and is particularly strong in the areas of literature and linguistics. A page on “technology of writing” is included. See (accessed December 19, 2012) for the English-language pages on the VOS site. 
    An extensive list of sources and an excellent review of literary texts is still Helen R. Tibbo’s “Information Systems, Services, and Technology for the Humanities,” Annual Review of Information Science and Technology (ARIST) 26 (1991): 287-346. This provides a good starting point and can be updated by many articles, including Perry Willett, “Building Support for a Humanities Electronic Text Center: The Experience at Indiana University,” Library Hi-Tech 16 (1998): 51-56; and Marianne Gaunt, “CETH, Electronic Text Centers, and the Humanities Community,” Library Hi-Tech 16 (1998): 31-42. An earlier article that will provide background on the topic is Anita Lowry “Electronic Texts in English and American Literature,” Library Trends (Spring 1992): 704-23. Here the reader can find information about Shakespeare and other English-language text files and also about basic considerations such as descriptive markup language and encoding. Avra Michelson and Jeff Rothenberg discuss all aspects of electronic text in “Scholarly Communication and Information Technology: Exploring the Impact of Changes in the Research Process on Archives,” American Archivist 55 (Spring 1992): 236-315. The article describes projects such as the Thesaurus Linguae Graecae (TLG) and American and French Research on the Treasury of the French Language (ARTFL). 
    Electronic text projects, such as Michael Hart’s Project Gutenberg and the Online Book Initiative, have made the full text of many great literary works available. Dartmouth’s Dante Project provides the full text of The Divine Comedy, along with six centuries of commentary on the work, in searchable form. Other sources of information on the availability of electronic text include The Georgetown University Catalogue of Projects in Electronic Text, The Humanities Computing Yearbook (latest edition), Oxford University Press, and Chadwyck-Healey. The impact of electronic text is covered in Literary Texts in an Electronic Age: Scholarly Implications and Library Services, edited by B. Sutton (Urbana-Champaign: ASLIS, University of Illinois, 1994). 
    Database searching is also important in the fields of literature and languages. MLA Bibliography (file 71 on Dialog, also available on CD-ROM) covers 1963 to the present and provides access to books and journals on language, literature, and linguistics. LLBA (Linguistics and Language Behaviour Abstracts), produced by Sociological Abstracts, Inc., covers the period 1973 to the present. Included are articles from over 1,000 journals. It is file 36 on Dialog. Other popular databases that literary scholars use include Arts and Humanities Search (produced by the Institute for Scientific Information and available in a variety of formats, including the new Web of Science), and Dissertation Abstracts Online. 
    The Internet resources related to literature and linguistics are vast and include listservs and electronic journals on many literature genres, writers, and special topics. Search the Web for the particular genres or authors, and access to a wealth of resources will result. A good starting point for links to resources and reviews of them is the Argus Clearinghouse at (accessed December 19, 2012). 
    Finally, scholarly publishing is the subject of John Unsworth’s “Electronic Scholarship or Scholarly Publishing and the Public,” Journal of Scholarly Publishing 28 (October 1996): 3-12. 
    Major organizations, information centers, and special collections
    The oldest, largest, and best known of the organizations that promote the study and teaching of languages in this country is the Modern Language Association of America (26 Broadway, 3rd floor, New York, NY 10004-1789). Founded in 1883, it has more than 30,000 members, primarily university of college teachers, and it conducts an immerse range of programs and activities. Publications include PMLA (quarterly). Job Information Lists—English and Foreign Language versions are available on the Web. An important contribution of the Association is its style manual, available in high school and scholar’s versions, and also on the Web. The MLA International Bibliography, covered in detail in chapter 12, is among the world’s most important bibliographic resources covering drama, English, folklore, foreign languages, humanities, language, linguistics, and literature. The website for MLA is at (accessed December 19, 2012). 
    The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (1001 N Fairfax Street, Suite 200, Alexandria, VA 22314) was founded by MLA in 1967, but now exists as a separate entity. Its publications include Foreign Language Annals (6/yr.) and Series on Foreign Language Education (annual). 
    The National Federation of Modern Language Teachers Association (659 57th Ave., Omaha, NE 68132) is a federation of national, regional, and state associations in the United States that publishes The Modern Language Journal, a quarterly.
    The American Association of Language Specialists (1000 Connecticut Ave., NW, Ste. 9, Washington, DC 20036) is a group of interpreters, editors, and translators who provide language services worldwide. The members’ directory is available on the Web. The Web address is (accessed December 19, 2012). 
    U.S. English (1747 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Ste. 1100, Washington, DC 20006) is an organization active in promoting English as the official governmental language of this country. It maintains a Web site at (accessed December 20, 2012) that keeps members and the press up-to-date on legislative matters related to their goals. 
    There are a wide variety of organizations concerned with specific languages, and some maintain a Web presence. An example of the latter is Esperanto Language Society of Chicago ( [accessed December 20, 2012]). Other organizations concerned with specific languages include the International Association for the Study of the Italian Language and Literature and the League for Yiddish, Inc. (200 West 72d St., New York, NY 10023). 
    The American Comparative Literature Association (University of Alabama, Box 870262, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0262) promotes the study and teaching of comparative literature in American universities, cosponsors Yearbook of Comparative and General Literature, and maintains a list of links to Web sites concerned with comparative literature. Its Web address is (accessed December 20, 2012). 
    The Council of Literary Magazines and Presses (666 Broadway, 11th Fl., New York, NY 10012) assists “little magazines” in a variety of ways. The Council maintains a Web presence with links to many small presses at (accessed December 20, 2012). 
    Regional interests are served by such groups as the Society for the Study of Southern Literature and the Western Literature Association (Department of English, Utah State University, Logan, UT 84322-3200). 
    Various library, literary, and children’s literary associations serve a host of special clienteles with interests in all aspects of books, literature, and publishing. General association directories will lead the reader to the many organizations that are too specialized to be listed here. 
    Special collections in language and literature are numerous—they include those in information centers, libraries, associations, and scholarly societies--and there are far too many of them to list here. Good sources to use as supplements to this section are Subject Collections, compiled by Lee Ash and William G. Miller (7th ed., R. R. Bowker, 1993) and the Websites identified above. Besides this guide to subject collections by Ash and Miller, publications of the American Library Association, Special Libraries Association, and the Center for Research Libraries will guide the reader to other collections of note. 
    Some special collections remain noteworthy. They include the Folger Shakespeare Library (201 E. Capitol St. SE, Washington, DC 20003-1094) which has an active research and publication program in British civilization of the Tudor and Stuart periods and theatrical history as they relate to Shakespeare. See (accessed December 20, 2012). 
    The Center for Hellenic Studies (3100 Whitehaven St., Washington, DC 20008) is an international center associated with Harvard University. It conducts research in such areas as classical Greek literature, philosophy, and history. 
    Other giant collections are held by the Library of Congress ( [accessed December 20, 2012]), the British Library ( [accessed December 20, 2012]), the Bibliotheque Nationale ( [accessed December 20, 2012]), the New York Public Library ( [accessed December 20, 2012]), and Harvard University ( [accessed December 20, 2012]). Information about the institutions and their holdings is readily accessible now via the Internet; many services can be provided electronically.

    Monday, September 16, 2013

    Literature and language selected reference sources

    Required reading:
    Wyatt, Neal. "Mapping the Reference Maze". Library Journal, 8/15/2003, Vol. 128 Issue 13, p49, 4p.
    Recommends several U.S. and British literature references for library collections. Description of a typical core collection; recommended biographies; Web sites; List of suggested dictionaries and encyclopaedias.

    Subject guides/pathfinders
    Academic Writing

    Books & Literature Links

    Children’s Literature

    Children’s Literature (print-only)


    A Guide to Sources of Reviews and Criticism in Literature and Language

    Literature and Language (print-only)

    Literature: English Canadian (print-only)

    Literature: Twentieth-Century (print-only)

    Online sources
    Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation
    Use this site to find the answer to your questions concerning proper English grammar and punctuation. Based on Jane Straus’ book of the same name.

    Guide to Grammar and Writing
    A comprehensive guide for grammar and writing sponsored by Capital Community-Technical College, Hartford, CT.

    The Text Doctor
    The English and Language Resources page provides a collection of writing-related reference sources.
    Web portal specializing in information about any language in the world. Based on the former scholarly site “A Web of Dictionaries.” Main service is access to dictionaries in many languages but also offers FAQs about language.

    Canadian Literature Archive
    Emphasizes bibliographic aids and links to sources on Canadian writing. From University of Manitoba and St. John’s College.

    Gale’s Literary Index
    A master index to the major literature series published by the Gale Group. It combines and cross references more than 130,000 author names, including pseudonyms and variant names, and more than 140,000 titles into one source.

    Literary Resources on the Net
    A searchable site maintained by Jack Lynch of Rutgers’ University.

    A publisher’s Website covering fiction, drama, essays, poetry, and critical theory. Sites are organized alphabetically by author.

    The Modern Word
    Focuses on 20th and 21st century English and American authors.

    Online Literary Criticism Collection
    An Internet Public Library site. Contains over 5,000 critical and biographical websites about authors and their works that can be browsed by author, by title, or by nationality and literary period. Links to IPL pathfinders, Online Literary Criticism Guide and Literacy Criticism Pathfinder

    Poetry Portal
    A gateway to poetry sites.

    Storytellers: Native American Authors Online
    Provides a list of Web pages for many contemporary Native American authors.

    Monday, September 9, 2013

    Representative resources for language and literature

    Benét’s Reader’s encyclopedia
    [PN 41 B4]

    A Handbook to literature
    [PN 41 H355 2000]
    • Provides quick definitions of literary terms from all genres. It also features a timeline of events in British and American literary history, as well as a listing of Nobel prize winners in literature, and Pulitzer prize winners for fiction, poetry, and drama.
    • More specific
    • College/university textbook
    • Arranged alphabetically
    • 2000+ entries
    • Wide range of terms including radio, television terms
    • Latest edition published in 2003
    The Bedford glossary of critical and literary terms
    [PN 44.5 M86 1997]
    Penguin Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory
    [PN 41 .C83 1998]
    • Covers all aspects of literary theory, from definitions of technical terms to characterizations of literary movement
    • Geared toward students, teachers, readers, and writers
    • Explains critical jargon (intertextuality, aporia), schools of literary theory (structuralism, feminist criticism), literary forms (sonnet, ottava rima), and genres (elegy, pastoral) and examines artifacts, historic locales, archetypes, origins of well-known phrases, etc.
    • Suitable for all libraries
    • A-Z listing of terms
    • Each is different in content and spin
    The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms
    [PN 41 B35 2001]
    • Designed to tackle the less obvious terms that students and general readers will encounter
    • Over 1,000 entries, covering all of the most taxing literary terms that readers may come across. Clear expectations are given for words such as multi-accentuality, postmodernism, and hypertext
    • Provides extensive coverage of traditional drama, rhetoric, literary history, and textual criticism
    • Gives pronunciation for over 200 terms
    • Updated to include terms that have become prominent in literature in the last few years, from cyberpunk to antanaclasis
    New Princeton encyclopedia of poetry and poetics
    [PN 1021 .E5 1993]
    • The standard source for information on the history and criticism of poetry and poetic technique and theory
    • International in scope, covering 106 national poetries
    • Individual poets and poems are not included
    • Concentrates on poetry
    • Around for a number of years from prestigious university
    • First published in 1965
    Encyclopedia of the novel
    [PN 41 E487 1998]
    Cambridge guide to theatre
    [PN 2035 C27 1995]
    The Oxford companion to Canadian literature
    [PR 9106 S7 1997]
    [PN 44 M33 1976]
    • 2010 plot stories and essay reviews from the world’s fine literature, edited by Frank N. Magill
    • Subtitled: “World’s fine literature”
    • 12 vols. cover world literature of all genres from pre-Homer to 20th century
    • The Masterplots series of publication provides essay-reviews of selected outstanding literary works in a variety of genres and subject areas. Entries for each work include a description of the type of work, author, date of publication, and list of characters. Essay-reviews consist of a summary of the plot and critical analysis of content and characters. All are arranged by title of work
    • Upscale/elevated version of Cole’s Notes
    • Lists title of works in contents
    • To see an example of a Masterplots work,
    Contemporary authors
    [Z 1224 C62]
    • A comprehensive source of biographical information on over 100,000 modern novelists, playwrights, poets, scriptwriters, non-fiction writers and journalists
    • Published by Gale/Thomas
    • Includes dead and alive authors of the 20th and 21st centuries
    • Comes in a number of series (also revision series—updated entries)
    • 3-5 volumes published every year
    • As of late 2012, 320+ volumes and revision volumes published
    Indexes are important to the subject of language and literature.
    American Humanities Index
    Provides author and subject indexing for about 300 creative, critical and scholarly serials in the arts and humanities including philosophy, art and music. Collection of references specific to North America. May find actual short stories, noted if is. Provides abstracts and citations. Linked full text out of Academic Search Premier in Ebscohost.
    Arts and Humanities Citation Index
    A multidisciplinary index to literature of the arts and humanities analyzing periodical articles by authors (Source Index), cited authors (Citation Index) and keyword (Permuterm Index – no real subject headings)
    • indexed specific keywords in title
    • citation index cites references
      • where did someone else cite the same article?
      • will it lead to someone else’s work?
      • will it be useful?
    Proquest brought out Canadian Business and Current Affairs. The following two sites contemplate one another.
    • CBCA Current Events
      • Current events is interpreted to include politics, business, the arts, sports and any other kind of news happening in Canada or abroad
    • CBCA Reference
      • Full-text content for over 170 journals and indexing to over 650 journals for current events, business, science, the arts, social issues and more
    • MLA International Bibliography [Z 7006 M64]
      • The premier database for literary criticism and analysis, produced by the Modern Language Association. It indexes books, periodical articles, essays, Festschriften and dissertations published throughout the world on topics relating to literature, linguistics, folklore, drama, etc. Celebrations of writing of someone’s career, in honour of, provides classified indexes, broad scope of modern ‘languages’ (e.g. computers), lists published medium
    Indexes to literature in collections
    • H. W. Wilson Indexes
      • Essay and Literature Index
      • Short Story Index [Z 5917 S5C62]
        • looking for a specific story indexed in cumulative volumes
        • provides full text links to indexes, collections and anthologies
      • Play Index [Z 5781 W48]
        • single or collection
        • description
        • annotation
        • suitable for children
        • print back to 1900
        • online back to 1983
      • Less learned but valuable
      • All separate indexes available online or in print
    • Short Story File
      • An index to short stories in collections and anthologies in the Los Angeles Public Library. Only stories which are not listed individually in the Library’s online catalog are included.
    • Inter-play
      • An ongoing index to plays published in anthologies, collections, and periodicals from the late nineteenth century to the present. Separately published lays are excluded.
      • Especially valuable for locating recent plays not yet included in standard print sources.
      • scope is limited to the holdings of the Portland State University Library, which is responsible for this database.
        • Free
        • Linked to many sites
        • Drama theatre
    • Playwrights Guild of Canada Virtual Library & Bookstore
      • Searchable database of Canadian plays
      • Register or login as a visitor
      • Matches titles by letter
      • Titles are hyperlinked to basic information about play
      • If not available for purchase, only ISBN, publisher and agent information provided
    • Columbia Granger’s Index to Poetry in Anthologies [PN 1022 G7 2002]
      • Premier indexes
    • PoemHunter
      • A database of over 790,000 poems, modern and classic, that allows searching by poet name, poem title, and poem text. More than 80,000 poets are included and the site allows poets to submit poems as well.

    Monday, September 2, 2013

    Language and literature

    a. Communication of thoughts and feelings through a system of arbitrary signals, such as voice sounds, gestures, or written symbols.
    b. Such a system including its rules for combining its components, such as words.
    c. Such a system used by a nation, people, or other distinct community; often contrasted with dialect.
    The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Ed., 2000
    • Deals with spoken and written words and the systems for their use
    • Linguistics: the scientific study of language
    The study of language as a branch of knowledge includes:
    • Morphology: study of the historical development of speech patterns
    • Syntax: study of use and forms of the language and of the parts of speech and their various forms
    • Etymology: study of the origin of the words
    • Semantics: historical and psychological study of the meaning of and change of meaning of words
    Dictionaries are the major aids in the study of language and linguistics and include:
    • General word dictionaries
    • Dictionaries based on the historical development of words
      • Oxford English
    • Etymological dictionaries
    • Dictionaries of usage
      • Fowlers
    • Dictionaries of slang, dialect and colloquialisms
      • Partridge
    • Dictionaries of synonyms and antonyms
      • Roget’s
    • Specialized dictionaries
      • Abbreviations
      • Acronyms
      • Foreign words and phrases
      • Pronunciations
    1. The body of written works of a language, period, or culture.
    2. Imaginative or creative writing, especially of recognized artistic value: “Literature must be an analysis of experience and a synthesis of the findings into a unity” (Rebecca West)
    3. The art or occupation of a literary writer.

    The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Ed., 2000

    • Comprises writing that captures ideas
    • That class of writing which is notable for imaginative and artistic qualities, form or expression
    Major forms of literature
    • Prose
      • Novels
      • Short stories
      • Essays
    • Poetry
    • Drama
    Dividing literary works into genres is a way of classifying them into particular categories. At the highest level literature is classified as either fiction (about things, events and characters which are not true) or nonfiction (about things, events and people which are based on fact).
    We classify fiction according to technique (layout) and style. For example, we have:
    • Picture books (contains words and pictures)
    • Game books (require the reader to problem-solve and actively engage in an activity while reading)
    • Novellas (short novels)
    • Short stories (much shorter than a novella)
    • Graphic novels
    We also have books that are classified by content and theme. For example:
    • Adventure stories
    • Science fiction
    • Fantasy
    • Crime and mystery
    • Horror
    • Romance
    • Historical fiction
    • Fictionalised
    • True crime
    Organizational approaches
    • Two basic approaches: by language or by form
    • By language in which written may need further subdivision, e.g. English literature, American literature, Canadian literature, etc.
    • By form: poetry, prose
    • Also historical periods or movements e.g. The Romantic Movement
    “Literature” of literature
    • Works of literature and works about literature
    • Works of literature primary source, e.g. Novels, plays, short stories, poems. Common characteristic: creative
    • Works of literature secondary source. Factual as opposed to creative. Used for what they say about other works
    • Primary/descriptive: physical description of the work
    • Secondary: works about the writings of a specific writer or groups of writers or of forms (genres), periods or subjects
      • Most useful source for majority of literary reference questions
      • Research guides a specialized type of secondary bibliography
    Reference sources
    • Reference sources in literature more numerous than in any other subject field
    • In general either
      • To identify literary works or
      • To identify works about literature
    • Undergrads need plot summaries, critical analyses, dictionaries of literary terms
    • Grad students as above but at a more advanced level
    • Faculty: bibs., dictionaries, or sources to verify complex citations
    Typical reference tools
    • Primary & secondary bibliographies
    • Dictionaries
    • Encyclopaedias
    • Handbooks
    • Biographical sources
    • Directories
    • Indexes/abstracts
    • Concordances