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LTWL 123: Vampires in Literature: Finding Articles

And why read scholarly articles?

Articles and individual chapters of a book of related topics are how the results of new research or a detailed argument for a new interpretation of a certain aspect of a literary work are presented, usually by scholars for their peers. They usually assume that the reader is fairly familiar not just with the literary work being written about, but with most of the other recent articles on the same general topic. Therefore, they can be a tough read for a novice. But they may help you decide whether your own thoughts about the work you're writing about have already been written about, in which case you'll want to know how your topic has already been touched on, which will then provide you with the basis for articulating how your ideas provide a contrasting point of view or further elaborate on the arguments presented in the articles you read.  

Although you can attempt to find scholarly articles starting with Google, you may find that you won't get complete access to the articles you find, and you may miss equally if not more valuable articles on your topic. Relying on the expertise of scholars and professional trained indexers, databases that the Library provides are generally very comprehensive in listing the articles from hundreds of journals and books in a discipline, such as literature and providing useful subject headings and other things that enhance the discovery of the articles. They are very much worth your time to learn to use them. 

Finding Articles (Literary and Film Criticism)

Database: MLA International Bibliography

Indexes mostly scholarly articles, book chapters, dissertations, etc. on British, German, American, and all other post-Classical literatures. Includes some coverage of film, particularly adaptations of literary works and themes. No full text in the database, but links to full text are provided.

Sample search #1: Stoker as Subject AND (rac* or ethnic*) as Subject = 14 hits (1 book, 1 dissertation, 7 chapters in books, 5 journal articles)

Sample search #2: Giaour as Anywhere AND vamp* as Anywhere = 2 hits

Sample search #3: Meyer as Anywhere AND twilight as Anywhere AND limit English = 104 hits

Sample search #4: Murnau, F.W. as Subject OR Herzog, Werner as Subject AND Nosferatu Anywhere = 126 hits

Sample search #5: Murnau, F. W. as Subject AND Herzog, Werner as Subject AND Nosferatu as Keyword = 9 hits

Database: Film and Television Literature Index

                  Covers writing about film and television for scholars, students and the general public. 1987-present; limited coverage from 1970-1986.

Sample search #1 Nosferatu = 1,059 hits

Sample search #2: vampire AND sexual* = 46

Sample search #3: Dracula near.5 (n5) Stoker = 214

             Number of results is accurate as of April 14, 2014.

Database: Literature Resource Center (see Encyclopedias, Dictionaries, Biography page)

Finding Articles (News, Reviews, Current Events, Pop Culture)

Database: Academic Search Complete.

Indexes a mixture of popular magazines, news sources, and some scholarly journals. More than 50% of citations include full text of articles.

Sample search #1: Meyer AND Bree Tanner = 17

            Limit to book reviews (Document Types) = 6

Sample search #2: Blacula AND (movie* or "motion picture*" or film* or tv* or television) = 5

Sample search #3: "True Blood" AND (TV or television) AND (sexual* or bisexual* or homosexual* or heterosexual* or straight or gay or lesbian or transgender*) = 30

Database: The New York Times (Historical and/or Current)

Full text of the entire New York Times from 1851 to the present. Particularly good for finding book, movie, theater, and television reviews as well as news of the publishing and entertainment industries, including dispay ads. 

Sample search #1: Nosferatu AND Herzog (Historical)= 78

         Limit to Display Ad as Document Type (Historical) = 6  Note: #1-4 are identical; #5 and #6 are not errors!

Sample search #2: “True Blood”  (Current) = 879 

            AND Review as Document Type = 43

           Sample search #3a: “synthetic blood” AND vampire* Anywhere (Current) = 11

Sample search #3b: “synthetic blood” (Abstract) AND vampire (Abstract) = 2

Number of results is accurate as of April 14, 2014.