Searching for resources
There are two key library catalogues you may use when studying at Cambridge:
- Girton Library catalogue (Heritage) – search Girton Library’s collection and see if items are available or already on loan. See our eGuide for further information.
- iDiscover – to search across the University’s print and electronic collections (including books, eBooks, journals, newspapers, articles and much more). Most, but not all, of Girton’s collection can be found here. See our iDiscover: eGuide for further information.
You will be able to borrow from Girton’s Main Library and the University Library. Your subject-specific library is the English Faculty Library. However, there may be other libraries within Cambridge which stock useful resources. For a full list of the Cambridge libraries see the directory and check each library for access guidelines.
Search Spacefinder to find places of study within Cambridge.
Subject-specific bibliographic resources
For information on searching general databases and journals see Beyond books: finding articles and journals. To find links to specific databases and journals see the eresources and ejournals LibGuide. Relevant resources can also be found within the English Faculty LibGuide.
If you are looking for help finding secondary literature, particularly journal articles, on a chosen topic, these are some to try:
Annual bibliography of English language and literature (ABELL) This covers the English language, English literature, bibliography and traditional culture of the English speaking world, and is based on the printed volumes of the same name.
MLA International Bibliography This is a list by subject of scholarly books and articles on modern languages, literatures, folklore, and linguistics which has been compiled by the Modern Language Association of America. It contains links to electronic journal articles in JSTOR and Project Muse where available.
World Shakespeare Bibliography Online A searchable database of Shakespeare-related scholarship and theatrical productions, this describes itself as “an essential tool for anyone engaged in research on Shakespeare or early modern England”.
Arts & Humanities Citation Index (Click ‘More settings’ to limit your search to the Arts & Humanities index)
Other subject-specific resources
Early English books online (EEBO) The Early English Books Online database contains around 100,000 titles listed in Pollard & Redgrave’s Short-Title Catalogue (1475 – 1640) and Wing’s Short-Title Catalogue (1641-1700) and their revised editions. The database offers the ability to search citations, to view page images of the full text, and to download the text in ASCII and PDF formats.
Literature Online (LION) This includes over 350,000 fully-searchable works of poetry, prose, and drama, from Old English to the present day, and the full-text of over 315 literature journals as well as encyclopedias and biographies. It also includes video clips of poets reading their own and other poets’ works and audio recordings of Shakespeare’s plays.
Dictionary of Old English: web corpus This is an online database consisting of at least one copy of every Old English text, giving a total of 3047 texts. It is part of the Dictionary of Old English Project.
Oxford English Dictionary Online Searchable full text of the 20-volume second edition of the Oxford English Dictionary and 3 volumes of printed additions. Supports word, proximity and phrase searching as well as browsing.
The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (ODNB) Concise, scholarly biographies of historical and literary figures. Searchable and quotable.
Oxford Scholarly Editions Online Online, searchable editions of primary texts. Includes editions of works by Dickens, Donne, and Dryden through to Virgil, Wordsworth and the New Oxford Shakespeare.
American National Bibliography This contains over 17,400 entries with 2,500 illustrations and 80,000 hyperlinked cross-references, with links to selected websites. It is searchable by subject name, gender, birth and death dates, place of birth, and occupation.
The Bible 20 versions of the English Bible.
Times Digital Archive 1785-2010 Searchable digital copies of The Times Between 1785-2010.
Times Literary Supplement Historical Archive Every page of every copy of the TLS published from 1902-2011.
You can find most of the university’s ebooks via iDiscover. To understand what an ebook is, and what ebooks are available – read Introduction to ebooks. For help with searching for ebooks read Finding and using ebooks.
For information on searching the internet, see Effective internet searching. An introduction to using the web, aimed specifically at English students, is provided by Virtual Training Suite. It includes useful links (on subjects ranging from Simon Armitage to a wiki about lost early modern plays) plus strategies for successful searching on the web.
One of the easiest ways to discover information of academic value on the internet is to use one of the many subject-related gateways. Below is a couple you might like to try:
The English Faculty Library has a series of subject guides on their website.
A useful website is Bibliomania, which contains over 2000 free texts, study guides and reference resources.
Middle English literature sites
- Corpus of Middle English Prose and Verse – quod.lib.umich.edu/c/cme/ (NB not updated recently).
- Part of the Middle English Compendium – quod.lib.umich.edu/m/mec/
- Luminarium: Anthology of English literature: medieval – (NB not updated recently)
- Medieval Sourcebook (NB not updated recently)
William Shakespeare sites
- The Internet Shakespeare Editions (University of Victoria) – There is also a “Shakespeare’s life and times” section but it does not appear to be updated frequently
- The Shakespeare Institute (part of the University of Birmingham)
Film & Screen Studies
For a list of a brief overview of some of the libraries holding resources and collections relating to film within Cambridge click here.