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Literature Databases

    Online databases can be a great resource for your literature assignments.   And they're available 24/7.  All you need is a library card for the Jefferson County library system (current and problem-free) and a computer with Internet access.   Here's how you can get to the databases:

    Go to the Birmingham Public Library's homepage:

    In the upper right-hand corner of the screen, click on "Databases".

    Under the heading “Listed by Subject”, click on the heading “Books, Literature, & Writers”.

    Click on Literary Reference Center.

Type in your library card number.  That's the long number underneath the barcode on your library card.

The search screen will come up.

The “Browse” search is usually the easiest way to search this database if you are looking for information on a particular author or title.

To search for an author, click on Browse Authors and type in the last name of the author, then comma and space, and type in the first name.  (Example:  Hemingway, Ernest).   A list of authors comes up; double click on the appropriate author.  

To find articles on a title, click on Browse Works, type in the title, and click on “Browse”.  Select the title from the list.  An article from a reference work such as Masterplots will come up.  Go down to the box headed “Related Information”; this gives you the types of information available, such as “Reference Books” or “Periodicals”. 

    Literature Resource Center is another excellent database for literature information.  It is listed right below the Literary Reference Center database.  Literature Resource Center has biographies, bibliographies, and critical analyses of literary figures from all time periods.

    Click on Literature Resource Center.

    Type in your library card number. 

    The screen will come up in Author Search mode.  Type in the name of the author you are researching and click on the “Search” button.  You can type in first name then last name, or vice versa; it really doesn’t matter.  The citations to biographical information about the author will be displayed.  Click on the blue portion of the text; the full article will come up.  Click on the second tab labeled “Literary Criticism, Articles, and Work Overviews”.   The citations to literary criticisms will be displayed ten at a time.  Click on the second tab labeled “Articles”; citations to magazine and journal articles will be displayed.  Click on the third tab labeled “Work Overviews”; citations to overviews of the author’s main works will be displayed. 

    Depending on your topic, you may want to try some other type of search, such as Title Search.  The Advanced Search mode gives you numerous options for refining your search.

    General magazine databases may also have useful information for your assignment.  The databases that will probably give the best results are Academic Search Premier and Expanded Academic ASAP.


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