Searching for Sources
One of the most important and overwhelming parts of the research process is knowing where to search and how to find the best sources relevant to your topic. Whether you are looking for a book in the library stacks, an article from an online journal, or a unique item in an archive, this page highlights the best places to start searching.
The best place to start searching—NUsearch—can be found front and center on the library website. When you search with NUsearch, you are browsing the library's collection of books, journals, newspapers, films, albums, images, and more. You can begin with a simple search or use the advanced search functions. NUsearch will also help you find where an item is located in the library or online, provide you a citation for your source, and more.
Note: For finding books at other libraries, please search WorldCat.org.
In addition to the physical materials in the library, you have access to many scholarly and primary source databases that will be vital to your research and writing. Especially if you are looking for peer-reviewed articles, below are the databases I recommend beginning with. To see all of the databases relevant to English, please visit Databases A-Z.
MLA International Bibliography
Find articles and books in the fields of literature, language, and linguistics in the modern languages, as well as folklore, film studies, literary theory & criticism, dramatic arts, and historical aspects of printing and publishing.
Digitized, full-text versions of core scholarly journals across many humanities disciplines.
Provides the full text of several hundred journals and thousands of eBooks from a variety of academic publishers. Content is current with some historical coverage.
A not-for-profit collaborative of academic and research libraries preserving 17+ million digitized items.
Literature Resource Center
Biographies, bibliographies and analysis of over 115,000 authors.
Spans history and geography to offer nearly 150,000 poems, short stories, essays, speeches and plays representing the work of more than 80,000 authors.
Humanities International Index
Provides indexing for more than 2,300 magazines and journals, including many little magazines, and access to original creative works including poems, fiction, photographs, paintings, and illustrations.
Annual Bibliography of English Language & Literature (ABELL)
Includes more than 700,000 bibliographic records in English and other European languages comprising scholarship on the English language, literature, bibliography, and traditional culture of the English-speaking world.
Periodicals Index Online
A database of table-of-contents information for thousands of journals published in the arts, humanities and social sciences, from the 1770s to 2005, in English and other Western European languages.
ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global
Offers comprehensive listings for U.S. doctoral dissertations back to 1861, with extensive coverage of dissertations from many non-U.S. institutions.
Newspapers can be a great place to find literature, poetry, reviews, and primary source content and historical context for literary studies. To see all of the historical newspaper databases the library subscribes to, click here.
British Library Newspapers
National and regional newspapers selected by the British Library to best represent nineteenth-century Britain.
Archives & Special Collections
Northwestern is home to several renowned archival collections all of which are available for faculty and students to use and ideal for working with rare and unique sources, from medieval manuscripts to contemporary artist books.
Images & Digital Collections