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English Literature Library Guide: Databases

English Language and Literature Students' Library Guide


Electronic Databases hold electronic journals and, in some cases, electronic books. Some of the databases also index chapters in books.

The databases can be searched by keywords, like a chunk of Google, and in many cases the full text of the journal article can be downloaded.

If an article is not full text on a particular database, you can click on the Find it link below the reference. This will tell you whether the article is available in full text on any of our other databases, or whether it is available in print at UCT.

If an article is not available at UCT, our inter-library loans department might be able to get it for you from another library.

The Library subscribes to several hundred electronic databases. There is no single magic-bullet database for a particular subject and it often helps to search a few of them.

You can find an A-Z list of our databases on the Library home page, by mousing over "Search & Find" and selecting "Databases A-Z"

Some of our most useful databases for students of English Literature are listed here:


MLA International Bibliography - via EBSCOhost ‚Äč 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 is the main tool for English studies, and holds abstracts for nearly 4,000 journals and books, in some cases back to 1963. Some material may be full text, but you will need to use the Link to the Record through Primo link as a rule to find the full text of the article on other databases. This is the Main Database For Your Discipline, so, whatever other databases you search in addition to it, you can't afford not to search the MLA

Literature Online This database contains hundreds of thousands of  full-text works of poetry, prose and drama in English, together with the online criticism and a reference library. It is especially useful for undergraduates since the reference section contains study guidesThe Knowledge Notes series of study guides are particularly useful.

Columbia Granger's World of Poetry This database indexes 450 000 poems, of which 250 000 are available in full text. It also includes critical and historical information on the poems and poets.

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.

JSTOR A completely full text database of respected journals across a range of subjects, in most cases from their first issue. JSTOR is an historical archive and will not have the most recent five years of a journal. It is a very useful core collection of prestigious journals. It is not very search-friendly, and is used mainly for browsing through issues of a particular journal to find a specific article.

Project Muse Premium Collection Project Muse, like JSTOR, is a product of John Hopkins University – it has some very high quality journals on a range of topics, and has them up to date.

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

Academic Search Premier - via EBSCOhost (Full Text) This, too, 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.

Africa-wide Information This database covers a huge range of material on Africa. It is a very useful link to theses, journal articles, book, conference papers and news reports dealing with African and South African literature generally. It is seldom full text, though there may be some full text on it.

SA ePublications (now Sabinet African Journals) Full text South African journals on many subjects.

Literature Compass Literature Compass publishes peer-reviewed research in Literature. It includes some work by UCT academics.


African Writers Series This contains works by the major African authors of the second half of the 20th century, originally published by Heinemann.

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 English Civil War.

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.

Subject Guide

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Kashiefa Shade-Lucas
Level 5, Chancellor Oppenheimer Library
Library Road, Upper Campus
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