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Sample Searches

LitFinder Sample Searches

LitFinder is international in scope, covers all time periods, and contains a wealth of primary literature content, including more than 135,000+ full-text poems, 850,000 poem citations and excerpts, and thousands of full-text short stories, essays, speeches, and plays. LitFinder also includes biographies, work summaries, photographs, and a glossary. Work and person search limiters include a subject browse of over 10,000 subject headings, and basic and advanced search modes allow users to search by keyword, author, subject, work title, work date, nationality, gender, timeline, and more.

Below you will find examples of general searches, K12 literature assignments and academic literature searches.

 

General Searches

Search 1:

A How can I find the text of Robert Frost's poem "The Road Not Taken"?

Solution:

  1. Log into LitFinder and enter "road not taken" in quotes in the BASIC SEARCH entry box on the Home Page
  2. Limit the search by clicking on box for DOCUMENTS WITH FULL TEXT
  3. Limit the search by CONTENT TYPE, selecting PRIMARY SOURCES/LITERARY WORKS
  4. Click on the SEARCH button
  5. Click on the THE ROAD NOT TAKEN link to retrieve the full text of the poem along with related commentary and references

Search 2:

How do I locate information on African American writer Maya Angelou?

Solution:

  1. Log into LitFinder and enter "maya angelou" (no quotes necessary) in the BASIC
  2. Click on the SEARCH button
  3. Depending on information desired, click on:
    • BIOGRAPHIES tab for Angelou's bio
    • TOPIC & WORK OVERVIEWS tab for explanations of some of her poems
    • PRIMARY SOURCES/LITERARY WORKS tab to retrieve full text poems and citations (Click the LIMIT TO FULL TEXT box for full text items only)
    • MULTIMEDIA tab for image(s)

Search 3:

How do I find the full text of the Edgar Allan Poe short story "The Pit and the Pendulum"?

Solution:

  1. Log into LitFinder and enter "pit pendulum poe" (no quotes necessary) in the BASIC SEARCH box.
  2. Click on the SEARCH button.
  3. Click on the orange arrow button to search.
  4. Click on the PRIMARY SOURCES/LITERARY WORKS tab to find the full text of the short story,"The Pit and the Pendulum".

Search 4:

How can I find the text of George Washington's farewell speech?

Solution:

  1. Logged into LitFinder and enter George Washington farewell in the BASIC SEARCH entry box on the Home Page.
  2. Click on the FAREWELL ADDRESS by George Washington link within the PRIMARY SOURCES/LITERARY WORKS tab to retrieve the full text of the speech and related references.

Search 5:

How do I find works about love in LitFinder?

Solution:

  1. Log into LitFinder and enter "love" in the BASIC SEARCH box on the Home Page.
  2. Limit the search by CONTENT TYPE, selecting PRIMARY SOURCES/LITERARY WORKS.
  3. Click on the SEARCH button.
  4. In the left hand side NARROW BY: menu, choose "by DOCUMENT TYPE" from the Narrow Results menu list to see list of genres, including poems, stories, essays, plays, and speeches.
  5. To find a poem on love, for example, click on POEMS and the results will be reset to only those works on LOVE qualified as poems.
  6. Click on a poem such as "Mementoes" by Charlotte Bronte to retrieve the full text of the poem.

Search 6:

How do I find Spanish-language poems in LitFinder?

Solution:

  1. Log into LitFinder and go to ADVANCED SEARCH.
  2. Scroll down to LIMIT SEARCH BY LANGUAGE to SPANISH.
  3. Click on the SEARCH button.
  4. Results are listed by relevance but you may resort results by publication date (descending) or document title (alphabetically) or narrow results on the left side by subjects, person about, names of works, authors by, publication titles or document types.
  5. Click on desired title for Spanish text of the poem.
  6. Within the Toolbox on the right hand side, select TRANSLATE and ENGLISH to link to the English translation.

Search 7:

How do I find poems by Emily Dickinson that are about nature?

Solution:

  1. Log into LitFinder and go to ADVANCED SEARCH.
  2. Drop down the index menu list and select SUBJECTS/THEMES (LFST). Type NATURE in the open field next to it.
  3. Drop down the second index menu list and select AUTHORS ITEMS BY (AU). Type EMILY DICKINSON in the open field next to it.
  4. Scroll down to the limiter BY TYPE OF WORK and select POEM from the list.
  5. Click on the SEARCH button.
  6. Click on desired title or refine results by full text, by subject, etc.

Search 8:

How do I find 18th century women writers?

Solution:

  1. Log into LitFinder and go to PERSON SEARCH.
  2. For the GENDER limiter, select FEMALE from the list.
  3. For the CENTURY limiter, select 18TH CENTURY A.D.
  4. Click on the SEARCH button.
  5. Results are sorted alphabetically by author name. Re-sort the results in the upper right corner by name of year of birth, year of death, or nationality.
  6. Click on desired author(s) for texts of works and other references.

Search 9:

How do I find war poems written in 1918 by English authors?

Solution:

  1. Log into LitFinder and go to Works Search.
  2. For the TYPE OF WORK limiter, select POEM from the list.
  3. For the PUBLICATION YEAR limiter, type in 1918.
  4. For the SUBJECT/THEME limiter, type in "Wars".
  5. For the NATIONALITY limiter, select ENGLISH from the list.
  6. Click on SEARCH button.
  7. Results are sorted alphabetically by name of work. Re-sort the results in the upper right corner by type of work or author name, if desired..
  8. Click on desired work(s) for texts of works and other references.

 

Sample K-12 Literature Assignments
(taken from actual K-12 lesson plans)

Assignment 1:

You will use poetry as a vehicle to express sentiment by writing a dedication poem about someone you care about. In order to do this, you will research and collect a variety of dedication poems and then create a booklet that includes your dedication poem, the dedication poems you collected, and images and illustrations.

Solution:

  1. Logged into LitFinder and go to WORKS SEARCH.
  2. For the TYPE OF WORK limiter, select POEM from the list
  3. Click on BROWSE link for the limiter, SUBJECT/THEME. A new window opens with the Browse list.
  4. Key in "grandparents" and click the FIND button
  5. Check the box next to GRANDPARENTS and note that it is then found in the righthand box. Click SUBMIT button.
  6. Choose from such titles as "Advice from Nana", "Afternoon with Grandmother", etc.

Assignment 2:

"Found" poems are essentially built from bits of broken text. You are to develop a "found" poem that has the following elements: at least 10 lines, at least 3 major symbols, and at least 2 sensory images. You will submit the poem itself as well as a list of 3 published "found" poems that you read and analyzed before writing your own poem.

Solution:

  1. Log into LitFinder and type in "found poem" in quotes in the BASIC SEARCH box on the Home Page.
  2. Click on the SEARCH button.
  3. Numerous examples of found poems will be displayed.
  4. To refine by full text, click the LIMIT TO FULL TEXT button below tabs.

Assignment 3:

You are to compare 2 presidential inaugural speeches. You should choose one from the 1800s and 1 from the 1900s. What are the themes/main ideas in each speech? How are the speeches alike and different, both in terms of content and style?

Solution:

  1. Log into LitFinder and and go to WORKS SEARCH.
  2. Type INAUGURAL or INAUGURAL ADDRESS in the search box.
  3. For the CENTURY limiter choose 19th CENTURY.
  4. Select a speech from the results and either click on the title link for the full text and/or click on the Mark List box next to the title to save that speech.
  5. Repeat the WORKS search on the term INAUGURAL but select 20th CENTURY for the CENTURY limiter.
  6. Choose a speech from the results and click on the title link to view the full-text and/or click on the Mark List box to save that title.

Assignment 4:

As part of a larger unit on slavery and the Civil War: To determine how slavery was depicted in literature during the time of the Civil War, locate 3 short stories from that time period in which slavery is discussed. How does each writer portray slavery and its place in society during that time?

Solution:

  1. Logged into LitFinder and go to ADVANCED SEARCH.
  2. Drop down the index menu list and select SUBJECTS/THEMES (LFST). Type SLAVERY in the open field next to it.
  3. Scroll down and select 19th CENTURY for the CENTURY limiter.
  4. Hit SEARCH button.
  5. In the left hand side NARROW BY: menu, choose DOCUMENT TYPE from the Narrow Results menu list to see list of genres, including poems, stories, essays, plays, and speeches.
  6. Click on SHORT STORY and select desired title(s), such as "Meh Lady: A Story of the War" or "The Passing of Grandison."

Assignment 5:

You will explore the American Revolutionary War by choosing main ideas from various sources (text book, Internet, etc) and demonstrate your knowledge of the war by creating a PowerPoint slide show that includes examples of texts from and about this time period.

Solution:

  1. Log into LitFinder and type AMERICAN REVOLUTION into the search box.
  2. From the PUBLICATION CENTURY limiter list, select 18th CENTURY (since the assignment allows for publications "about" this time period, you may also want to repeat the search without a Century or limiting to the 19th Century, for example).
  3. Hit the SEARCH button.
  4. Select desired work, such as the "Declaration of Causes and Necessity for Taking Up Arms, July 6, 1775" issued by the General Congress in Philadelphia.

 

Sample Academic Literature Searches
(based on current course descriptions)

Course Description 1: Overview Course - University of Nevada - Reno

ENG 131: Introduction to Literature
"Introduction to fiction, poetry and drama. Available for correspondence study only."

Solution:

LitFinder serves a broad, comprehensive need such as an introductory or overview course that provides a student with background on a number of genres. Note, too, that in the course description from University of Nevada - Reno, this is a "correspondence study only" course. Having remote, 24x7 access to a database such as LitFinder would serve these distance learners well. From the Home Page alone, there are at least three ways to explore content by genre.

  1. Log into LitFinder and use the BASIC SEARCH limiters by type of work, such as play, poem short story, or speech.
  2. Another alternative is to key in the genre of interest to the BASIC SEARCH box.
  3. Finally, use the WORKS SEARCH to browse the list of genres covered in LitFinder and select the genre(s) of interest to search.

 

Course Description 2: Survey Course (by region, then chronologically) – Boise State University

ENG 485: British and American Poetry: 1900-1945
"A study of the radical changes that W.B. Yeats, T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, William Carlos Williams, and others made in poetry's traditional aesthetic and thematic concerns, as seen in their work from the turn of the century through two world wars."

Solution:

LitFinder covers poets and other authors across time and from all regions. For that reason, LitFinder allows students from a class such as the above to dig deeper into the authors under discussion, or explore their contemporaries. It extends far beyond simply serving the needs of a survey course in poetry, however. Since it cuts across genres, and across time, it can meet the needs of not only the "British and American Poetry: 1900-1945" course but also courses such as "British Renaissance Poetry and Prose" or "Literature in English: Mid-19th through the 20th Century." In the below example, we highlight searches on T.S. Eliot, one of the most frequently studied English-language poets, and two of his most frequently studied poems, "The Wasteland" and "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock."

  1. Log into LitFinder and click on BASIC SEARCH.
  2. KEY in T.S. ELIOT and select "Search for Words in PERSON: BY OR ABOUT" and hit SEARCH.
  3. Your list of results will include over 200+ poems, citations, and excerpts BY OR ABOUT Eliot.
  4. On the left hand side, browse the NARROW BY options and select Narrow by AUTHOR: BY.
  5. Since this is a survey course in poetry, let's isolate full-text poems within the database.
  6. Under the results Tabs, click on the box for Limit to: FULL TEXT, which brings the results down a bit further.
  7. In class, we're examining Eliot's poem, "The Wasteland," so let's focus in on that by clicking on The Wasteland.
  8. From here, we can take our research in any number of directions.
  9. We can click on the author's name, Thomas Stearns Eliot, to get a brief biography, as well as view brief biographical information, such as birth and death date, nationality, etc.
  10. We can take a look at the Explanation linked at the bottom of the poem text to get an overall sense of what's at work within the poem. Also referenced within the poem are a number of poets and literary movements thoroughly covered in LitFinder, such as Ezra Pound, Edmund Spenser, Dante, Metaphysical poets, Elizabethan dramatists, etc.
  11. Having looked at the Explanation, we can return to the poem itself by clicking on the Related Work link: The Wasteland.

 

Course Description 3: Genre-Based Courses - University of Wisconsin - Madison & University of South Florida

ENG 327: The Development of the Short Story
"Major artistic, social and intellectual events in the history of the short story from the nineteenth century to the present."

ENG 341: The Development of Drama
"A historical approach, with emphasis on new ideas in the theatre, new techniques, and the evolution of genres."

ENG 361: The Development of Poetry
"Inquiry into the art of poetry, with readings from a variety of poets."

ENG 3111: Form and Technique of Fiction
"A study of short narrative forms such as the anecdote, tale, character sketch, incident, monologue, epistolary story, and short story as they have been used in the development of fiction as [it exists] today."

ENG 3311 Form and Technique of Poetry
"An introduction to poetry writing utilizing writing exercises employing poetic language and devices; the exercises progress to the writing of both rhymed and unrhymed metrical and non-metrical forms."

Solution:

Like the classes referenced above, LitFinder takes a genre-by-genre approach, easily supporting broad genre-based coursework. LitFinder facilitates both institutions' approaches to the study of the short story form as it developed over time.

  1. Log into LitFinder and click on the Stories tab.
  2. Click on the Browse Explore More Options link.
  3. Your list of results includes more than 4600 stories, all full text.
  4. To view stories across periods, simply use the Refine Results option, specifically the timeline feature to analyze the evolution of stories across time.

 

Course Description 4: Genre/Period-Based Courses – Thomas More College

ENG 371/372: Development of Drama I, II
"This course is an intensive study of the development of the drama from Aeschylus to Ibsen. Part I will cover drama from Greek times through the Renaissance, exclusive of Shakespeare. Part II will cover drama from the 17th century to Ibsen. Development of Drama I is required of English Secondary Education majors."


ENG 375 Modern Drama
"This course was designed to acquaint the student with the directions being taken by important contemporary dramatists. The course deals with 20th Century Realism and Expressionism through the more recent developments in Existential and Absurdist drama."

Solution:

Again, covering a full range of genres and periods, LitFinder is well positioned to address the needs in courses that combine genres and period – a common approach at colleges ranging from commuter schools to ARLs.

  1. Log into LitFinder and go to PERSON SEARCH.
  2. Browse the GENRES index, clicking on Browse link.
  3. Find playwrights by keying in PLAY and clicking FIND.
  4. Click on the link for PLAYS.
  5. Sort the results by Date of Birth to see a chronological listing of playwrights. Note that the results provide the playwright’s name, date of birth, date of death, and nationality, allowing one to chart Greek drama (Aeschylus to Euripedes to Aristophanes) or Renaissance English drama (from George Peele to Thomas Kyd to Marlowe to Shakespeare to John Webster).
  6. The first course referenced above focuses on early Greek drama, specifically Aeschylus' work. Select Aeschylus to see full text of one of the classically studied works by Aeschylus, such as Prometheus Bound or The Eumenides.

 

Course Description 5: Topical Courses – University of New Mexico

ENG 308.001: Jewish/American Literature
"This course will examine works by the most thought-provoking American Jewish writers. Units of study include American Jews of European Roots, The Immigrant Experience, The War Years, and Post-War America. Required reading includes novels and short stories by Nobel-prize authors Isaac Singer, Bernard Malamud, Elie Wiesel, Saul Bellow, plus National Book Award Winner Philip Roth, O. Henry Prizewinner Woody Allen, and Tony Award comedy playwright Neil Simon. Whenever possible, we will see film adaptations of these works. Class discussions will focus on the varying world views of this diverse group of Jewish authors who are vastly different yet whose common heritage is undeniable. As we explore their individuality and struggles with their culture and religion, we will also determine the universality of their sentiments."

Solution:

Regardless of the fact that topical courses can come from virtually any direction, be it Jewish American Literature, Woman and Literature, Japan/Fic/Animat, or The Politics of American Poetry, LitFinder can offer solutions since it, again, cuts across genres.

  1. Log into LitFinder and go to PERSON SEARCH.
  2. For the SUBJECT/THEME limiter, type in “Jewish”.
  3. For the NATIONALITY limiter, select AMERICAN from the list.
  4. An ADVANCED SEARCH on Nationality = American and Keyword = Jewish will yield a more limited list of authors but very similar. On the results page for the PRIMARY SOURCE/LITERARY WORK tab, note the diverse list of related subjects covered in Litfinder’s collection of works, including Jewish Religious Poetry, Jewish Women, Haiku, Religion, etc.

 

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