Scholarly Research

Looking for Secondary Literature
Today, many papers published in academic journals are available online. Finding and obtaining them, however, requires some effort and skill. Note that there is not "one" source for secondary sources - some articles are listed in the MLA, some can only be found in JSTOR (which is more interdisciplinary), others are only listed in PAO or PIO. And although Google Scholar is a powerful search tool, it does not find everything. 
You should  perform a search with relevant keywords (e.g. the name of the novel you're interested in, its author, etc.) in several portals. Most of the sources briefly described here are listed in the 'Datenbank Infosystem'of our University Library (SULB). 

If you are looking for definitions of literary terms, biographical information on authors, etc., use the online-sources collected in our Literature & Culture section.

How to Obtain an Article: EBSCO Host, "Link Solver," and Online Archives
Articles in bibliographies such as the MLA are often available online. When using the EBSCO Host (or google scholar) you can click on a "Volltext Verfügbar?" button. This operation opens a new window with the "Ovid Link Solver" ; this tool allows you to check if the journal containing the article/the article itself are available in the EZB (Elektronische Zeitschriften Bibliothek) or online archives for research literature such as JSTOR, Periodicals Archive Online or Sagepub. In case the Link Solver does not offer links to JSTOR etc. a second look in these archives is highly recommended! Since some journals are also available in print in our libraries (e.g. ARIEL), a "Katalogsuche" can also be worthwile.

  • Google Scholar provides a simple way to broadly search for scholarly literature. From one place, you can search across many disciplines and sources: peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, abstracts and articles, from academic publishers, professional societies, preprint repositories, universities and other scholarly organizations. Google Scholar helps you identify the most relevant research across the world of scholarly research. (Information from Google Scholar website)
  • Via the EBSCO HOST is the most powerful and comprehensive search tool as you can search several databases simulaneously. It is recommended to select the following databases: Academic Search Complete, Humanities International Complete, Literary Reference Centre and MLA International Bibliography.  
    NOTE: Access is only possible from within the university network. For using these databases outside the university, students require a client software.
  • JSTOR is a not–for–profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive of over one thousand academic journals and other scholarly content. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. (Information from JSTOR website)
    NOTE: Access is only possible from within the university network. For using these databases outside the university, students require a client software.
  • Periodicals Index Online is an electronic index to millions of articles published in over 6,000 periodicals in the humanities and social sciences. It enables undergraduate, graduate, faculty and general researchers to quickly locate every article relevant to their particular field of study, reducing what could involve years of research to a matter of minutes. Periodicals Index Online is unique in combining a broad subject base with deep chronological coverage going back over 300 years. (Cataloguing in Periodicals Index Online is not limited by language or by date. (Information from PIO website)
    ​​​​​​​NOTE: Access is only possible from within the university network. For using these databases outside the university, students require a client software.
  • Periodicals Archive Online is an archive of hundreds of digitised journals published in the arts, humanities and social sciences. It provides researchers with access to more than 200 years of scholarship, spread across a wide variety of subject areas, direct from their computer. (Information from PAO website)
    NOTE: Access is only possible from within the university network. For using the PAO outside the university, students require a client software.
  • The Karlsruhe Virtual Catalog KVK is a meta search interface which starts a simultaneous search in the catalogs of national and international university libraries and gives you a standardized hit list. It is a very useful tool for finding out whether there are any publications on your topic available via interlibrary loan (Fernleihe)!
  • Google Books allows you a full-text search in its already massive repository of scanned books. It is a powerful tool to look for information published in monographs as the latter are generally not covered by MLA, JSTOR and other databases which collect articles from scholarly journals. If the book is out of copyright, or the publisher has given Google permission, you'll be able to see a preview of the book, and in some cases the entire text. If it's in the public domain, you're free to download a PDF copy. Google books can thus help you decide whether or not a book may be worth the effort  of being ordered via interlibrary loan. 
  • The Internet Archive, a non-profit, is building a digital library of Internet sites and other cultural artifacts in digital form. Like a paper library, we provide free access to researchers, historians, scholars, and the general public. (Information from Website). Similar to google books, but more extensive holdings. No full-text search. Contains music, film, books and audio books.
  • The OPAC catalogue contains the complete holdings of the central university library (SULB) and much (!!) of the holdings of our department library (IB). If you don't find a book in this catalogue does not mean that it is not on the shelves of the IB, especially when the book has been published before 2000! Always double check with the 'analogue' catalogue located in the IB before you consider an interlibrary loan.

​​​​​​​Browsing the shelves of the TAS section of SULB is not the worst method to find secondary sources. It has clear advantages:

  1. As there is a thematic order, you often find relevant information in clusters.
  2. Many critical studies or biographies, especially seminal ones, are shelved with their respective authors and thus easy to obtain. However, be aware that sources might be dated.