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English Literature Library Guide: Home

English Language and Literature Students' Library Guide

Finding Books

Where are your books?

English books are shelved on the Lower Level of the Library, down a spiral staircase near the Information Desk. English Grammar and Linguistics books are shelved on level five.

Some shelf numbers which might be useful are listed below.

420 English Language and Grammar (on level five)
810-829 Literature written in English (on the Lower Level)
810-819 American Literature
820 English and Old English Literatures
821 English poetry
822 English drama
823 English fiction
828.9 Literature from other countries
828.968 South African Literature
829 Old English Literature.

Reference books (with an R preceding their shelf number) can be found under similar shelf numbers on shelves near the Information Desk. They are always a good way to start an essay since they provide overviews of authors, books or subjects.

 

Literature Online

Literature Online 

The new platform for Literature Online.

Literature Online is a fully searchable library of more than 350,000 works of English and American poetry, drama and prose, 175 full-text literature journals, and other key criticism and reference resources.

The Study Guides and Penguin Edition  introductions in LION's Reference section are incredibly useful tools for starting any literature essay since they gives you a clear overview of the work, author or topic, and often have a bibliography of the key works on that topic.

You will find Literature Online  (LION) in our A-Z Databases list. Go to the Library Home Page at www.lib.uct.ac.za, mouse over Electronic Resources and Select Databases from the drop down menu. If you are off-campus you will need to sign into the off-campus login on the library home page - use your student number and the password you use on the UCT network.

We have a number of printed literature encyclopedias on our Reference shelves too, of course. Ask for them at the Information Desk in the library.

Times Digital Archive

Times Digital Archive 1785-1985 


Researchers can search through the complete digital edition of The Times (London), using keyword searching and hit-term highlighting to retrieve full facsimile images of either a specific article or a complete page. The entire newspaper is captured, with all articles, advertisements and illustrations/photos divided into categories to facilitate searching.

THE BASICS OF SURVIVAL

PRIMO: the Basics of Survival

PRIMO is a tool for searching across the UCT library book catalogue as well as a selection of our databases of full text journal articles, all with one query.

You can find it on the library homepage at www.lib.uct.ac.za

In this example I am looking for a particular book – Hard Times, by Charles Dickens

This quick and dirty search brings up the print and online copies that we have of Hard Times, as well as books about Hard Times. 

Clicking on the TITLE of the top record takes me to the records for the printed books and gives me the shelf number so I can find them on the shelves:

The shelf number works like a street address – just follow the numbers up or down until you get to the address you want.  Shelf numbers keep related books together, so once you have found your book, it is often useful to browse the books on either side of it as well.

In fact, you don’t even have to physically be in the library to do it… If you again click on the title of one of the results, you will be taken to the full record for the book – which has a virtual browse option – so you can see all its neighbouring books…. You never know what you will discover that way.

On the search screen you can use a drop-down arrow to search only for electronic journal articles or electronic books or reference works.

In this example, the top three results are for an electronic encyclopaedia entry, an electronic book, and an electronic journal article:

If I click on the title of the article, I will be taken to a full record for the article, and a link to the database on which it lives:

And so to download the article:

The record also shows me how to cite the book or article – which I will need to do if I am going to use it in an essay:

Or, even better, it allows me to send the record to a program like RefWorks or Endnote, which does my citing for me, automatically, at the touch of a button….

The left hand side of the screen has all sorts of options for refining or restricting your results:

The most useful are probably Peer-reviewed Journals (the most respectable journals, I which every article is vetted by other academics), Subject or Resource type:

If you are getting too many results – and PRIMO can bring up a lot of results – you can use an Advanced Search to search more precisely:

And if you are looking for a very specific book, journal or article – for example from a reading list - PRIMO has a Find By Citation form which can help you find exactly that reference:

Just put in as much information as you have on the reference:

Shaffer, P., 1998. Gender, poverty and deprivation: evidence from the Republic of Guinea. World Development, 26(12), pp.2119-2135.

And this will bring it up in both print and electronic versions:

And clicking on the full text or database link will take you to it.

PRIMO: some advanced tricks

It is possible to create very precise searches just using keywords.

The trick is to combine them with Boolean Operators, wildcards and brackets. Most of our databases, including our library catalogue, take Boolean operators.

Consider this search string:

(child* OR wom?n OR gender) AND poverty AND Africa* NOT “African American”

The * is a wildcard – it calls up anything that follows the root “child” – so it will being up child and children or childhood……

The ? is a mid-word wildcard – calls up women and woman…

The OR expands you options – women or gender must come up in the results, it doesn’t matter which….

The (brackets) keep the OR words together and relate them to the AND which follows – otherwise the search would call up anything to do with women, regardless of whether it had to do with poverty and Africa….

Any words linked with AND must be included in the search results - OR broadens a search, AND tightens it.

NOT excludes a term. Be careful of this. First search without it, to get an idea of what you are missing.

“Inverted commas” enclose a precise phrase.

To use Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT) in PRIMO, you must enter them in CAPITAL LETTERS, otherwise PRIMO ignores them.

You can restrict the search to electronic journal articles or electronic books only, using the drop down arrow – useful if you are off-campus.

Heineman African Writers Series

African Writers Series 

The African Writers Series forms part of Literature Online and contains work by all the major African authors of the second half of the 20th century. Over 350 volumes of fiction, poetry, drama, myths, memoirs and reportage.

Early English Books Online

Early English Books Online (EEBO) 

Early English Books Online (EEBO) contains digital facsimile page images of virtually every work printed in England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and British North America and works in English printed elsewhere from 1473-1700 - from the first book printed in English by William Caxton, through the age of Spenser and Shakespeare and the tumult of the English Civil War.

Eighteenth Century Collections Online

 Eighteenth Century Collections online (ECCO) 

Use Eighteenth Century Collections Online to access the digital images of every page of 150,000 books published during the 18th Century. With full-text searching of approximately 26 million pages, the product allows researchers new methods of access to critical information in the fields of history, literature, religion, law, fine arts, science and more.