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Spanish Studies Library Guide: Welcome

Spanish Studies Library Guide

Where are your books?

The Spanish literature books are located on Level 3 in the Chancellor Oppenheimer Library.

Spanish language (grammar) books are located on Level 5.


Our books are given shelf numbers according to the Dewey Decimal System - these shelf numbers keep related books together by subject. You can follow the numbers like a street address to find a family of related books all together on the shelf.


Main shelf numbers for Spanish are:



Spanish & Portuguese languages


Spanish writing system & phonology


Spanish etymology


Spanish dictionaries


Spanish grammar


Spanish language variations


Standard Spanish usage


Spanish & Portuguese literatures


Spanish poetry


Spanish drama


Spanish fiction

Short Loans

The Short Loans Centre is on Level 4 of the Chancellor Oppenheimer Library.

Many books and photocopied readings essential to your courses have been placed there by lecturers.

You will need to give the staff there both the title and shelf number of the book you want.

Short Loan material is issued for a few hours only. You must return Short Loan material to the Short Loans Centre.


The Basics of Survival


Finding books

Go to the library homepage at and click on the open search tab - this defaults to the book catalogue.

If you are searching for a book 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: Khayyam AND Rubaiyat

This sort of quick and dirty search brings up not only The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam,  but also books about The Rubaiyat.

Journal articles

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.

Below the tab for books you will find a tab for "e-Journals". Click on it and type the title of the journal (not the article) into the search box. This will take you to whichever of our many database has that journal, and allow you to browse through it, year by year, issue by issue - or search through it with keywords. 

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.


Databases contain thousands of journals, all searchable by keywords, like a chunk of Google. You can get to our databases from by mousing over Search & Find and selecting Databases A-Z.

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. In many cases though, if a journal is not full text one one database, there will be an SFX button below it, which allows you to see if it is ful text on any of our other databases.

Below are some databases which will be generally helpful

 Africa-Wide Information- via EBSCOhost 

Africa-Wide Information combines databases (African Studies, South African Studies, and African Healthline) to form a multidisciplinary aggregation offering unique and extensive coverage of all facets of Africa and African studies. This resource is essential for those with an interest in African research, and information on and about AfricaMLA International Bibliography

SA ePublications 

One of the few databases that indexes full text South African journals.

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.

MLA International Bibliography - via EBSCOhost 

This is a very scholarly language and literature 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 some Afrikaans language sources as well as English. Some material may be full text.

 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.

 Arts & Humanities Citation Index (A&HCI) on Web of Science 

This is a scholarly tool used for following a chain of references.  By typing in the name of a particular researcher, you can generate a list of articles which have made reference to that researcher’s work. The database can also be searched by subject, like any other database.


Reference Books

Some useful Reference Books are:



 Bilingual visual dictionary - R 463.21 BILI

Concise Oxford Spanish dictionary. Spanish-English/English-Spanish = El diccionario Oxford esencial : español-inglés/inglés-español - R 463.21 CONC

The concise Oxford Spanish dictionary : Spanish-English/English-Spanish - R 463.21 CONC

Pequeño Larousse ilustrado - R 463 LARO

Encyclopedia of Latin American literature - R 860.3 ENCY

Dictionary of Spanish literature - R 860.63 New

The Oxford companion to Spanish literature - R 860.3 Oxfo

Dictionary of quotations (Spanish) = With subject and authors’ index  - R 860.8 HAR