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ENGL 3204: World Literature Revisited I

Finding Search Terms

Here are some tips for finding search terms. It's a great idea to start thinking about these before you search in catalogs, databases, and other search tools.

  • Write down keywords and key phrases that relate to your topic(s) and can lead you to the texts you are seeking. Think of alternative terms. If you want to visualize them spatially, start a concept map, or mind map. Some types of terms you might want to list for yourself:
    • Regions/parts of the world from where you are looking for texts
    • Source languages
    • Themes that interest you
    • Literary forms or genres that interest you
    • When known, names of authors and/or specific texts
  • Research backgrounds and contexts, if you would like (see Getting Started for some reference sources that can help with this). Reference sources can give you additional ideas for key words and phrases to try in your searches.
  • Make room for alternate spellings of terms, or names. especially ones translated/transliterated from languages other than English. (Example: Sunjata or Sundiata).
  • Use the words and phrases on your concept map in your searches across catalogs and databases. Try out different combinations!


Searching in CLIO

To search for books, as well as journals and other periodicals (by title), or films, or sound recordings, select Catalog in the drop down menu above.

Enter your search terms. Some tips:

  • Use AND between terms to get more specific results, which contain ALL the terms.
  • Use OR between terms to get broader results, containing ANY of the terms.
  • If you want to search words together as a phrase, enclose them in quotes (example: "Popol Vuh")
  • Use * (the asterisk) as a symbol for missing letters when you want to search for a word with variant spellings, or for multiple words with the same stem. (example: feminis* searches feminist, feminism)


After you have entered a search in the catalog, you can use the boxes on the left side of the screen to narrow down your results. Some options:

  • Format: Select "online" to narrow down to sources you can access online. (note: there are some sources that you can also read digitally scanned versions of using HathiTrust; these will not appear as "online" sources, so you can also look out for links below certain print sources that will take you to a database where you can read a scanned copy).
  • Publication Date: For the purposes of your historical scope, you might limit this to before 1400 (or other relevant date).
  • Language: You might use this to limit to English for works translated into English, or another language of your choice.
  • Subject (Genre): You might use this to limit to work of a specific literary genre.

You can also use the "Sort By..." drop down feature at the top of the search results list to change the order of your search results (by date, or alphabetically by title, for instance).



World Literature Texts: Databases and Anthologies

These databases and anthologies contain the FULL TEXT of a range of literary sources from around the world. Most are grouped around a specific region or historical tradition, and they generally allow you to search or browse for texts.