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French Language & Literature Library Guide: Home

Where Are Your Books?

French language and grammar Books are kept on the Upper Level, Undergraduate Wing - the level above the main entrance. 

Their shelf numbers are:

440 French Language

441 Written and spoken French

443 French dictionaries

443.3 French bilingual dictionaries

445 French Grammar 

French literature books are kept on the Lower Level of the library, down the spiral staircase near the Information Desk.

Their shelf numbers are:

840 French Literature

841 French Poetry

842 French Drama

843 French Fiction 

French history and culture books are kept on Level 6 of the library, two flights up the main staircase. 

Their shelf numbers are:

901 French Civilization

944 French History 


Journals for French language and literature, electronic and print

Electronic journals

Many of our journals are now available in electronic full text. To find out if we have access to a particular electronic journal search in our e-Journal Portal.

Print journals

To find out if we have a particular journal in print form search in our catalogue.

If you are not yet looking for a specific journal title, search in our databases to find relevant journal articles.




French Language & Literature Library Guide

The Basics of Survival

Finding books

Go to the library homepage at, mouse over the Search & Find tab and click on catalogue.

If you are searching for abook by a specific author it is useful to do a simple keyword search. Type in the author's surname, followed by AND and a word or two from the title.

For example: Camus AND Peste

This sort of quick and dirty search brings up not only La Peste by Camus, but also books about La Peste by Camus. 

Finding Journals

Journals are published every few weeks or months. They are academic magazines that contain articles on different topics. Journals are important for finding very up-to-date information, or very specific information on narrow topics. The great thing about journals nowadays is that so many of them are available electronically as well as in print.

Printed Journals

The latest unbound journals are kept on level 5. The bound copies since 1965 are kept in the basement. Pre-1965 journals are kept in an off-campus store and can be requested from the Loans Desk.

Electronic Journals

Electronic journals are full text journals to which UCT subscribes. They are useful because they are always available and because they can be searched by subject.

Go to and click on the "E-Journals" tab. Type in the title of the journal (not the article) to see whicjh of our databases hold the full text of that journal, and to search it on that database.

If you are off-campus, use the off-campus login first, on the library homepage. This will ask for your student number and the password you normally use on the UCT network.


Many of our journals can also be found full text in electronic format on our databases. These databases contain thousands of journals, all searchable by keywords, like chunk of google.

Most of the journals are full text nowadays. In some cases, though, the databases may just give a reference to the journal article, rather than the whole thing. This will tell you which year and volume and pages of a particular print journal to look at to find the article.

You can get to our databases from and mousing over Search & Find and select Databases.

Below are some databases which will be helpful for French:


Useful databases for Language Teaching and Linguistics

MLA International Bibliography - via EBSCOhost The MLA International Bibliography, produced by the Modern Language Association of America, consists of bibliographic records pertaining to literature, language, linguistics, and folklore and includes coverage from 1926 to the present. The MLA International Bibliography provides access to scholarly research in nearly 4,000 journals and series. It also covers relevant monographs, working papers, proceedings, bibliographies, and other formats.

ProQuest Education Journals Offering complete information on hundreds of educational topics, this database covers almost 400 leading journals in the field.

Teacher Reference Center Teacher Reference Center provides indexing and abstracts for 280 of the most popular teacher and administrator journals and magazines to assist professional educators.

 Academic Search Premier - via EBSCOhost (Full Text) Provides journal coverage for most academic areas of study—including biological sciences, economics, communications, computer sciences, engineering, language and linguistics, arts and literature, medical sciences and women's studies.

 ScienceDirect (Full Text) ScienceDirect offers access to the Elsevier Science journal collection (over 1,200 titles The full text collection of over 1 million articles from 1995 to present covers a wide variety of subject areas and disciplines in the sciences and social sciences. It has strong holdings on linguistics.


 Useful databases for literature and Culture 

MLA International Bibliography - via EBSCOhost This is a very scholarly database, produced by the Modern Language association of America, and consists of abstracts for literature, language, linguistics, and folklore, with some full text. It holds abstracts for nearly 4,000 journals and books, in some cases back to 1963. It indexes French language sources as well as English. Some material may be full text. 

Academic Search Premier - via EBSCOhost (Full Text)This is a very popular undergraduate database at UCT. It contains a lot of full text covering most academic areas of study, including language and linguistics, arts and literature. You can weed out “newsy” material and restrict your search only to scholarly journals by ticking the “Peer reviewed” button on this database.  

Academic OneFile  This too is a very popular undergraduate database, containing a lot of full text on a wide range of topics, including current events, literature and art. 

Humanities International Complete – via EBSCOhost  This is a scholarly and wide-ranging database with good full text.  Subjects covered include Film, Linguistics, Literary & Social Criticism, Literature, Performing Arts, and Philosophy. It covers only articles from English-language periodicals. 


Gallica is the digital library of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France (BnF), open to the general public around the world since 1997.

It serves as a digital encyclopedia and consists of: printed materials (books, journals, newspapers, printed music, and other documents), graphic materials (engravings, maps, photographs, and others), and sound recordings.

Gallica makes it possible to find sources that are rare, unusual, out-of-print, or difficult, if not impossible, to access. These materials are royalty-free when used strictly for private purposes.