This depends largely on what is meant by 'older' and what type of material you hope to find. If you're looking for responses to a novel or play for example that was written in the mid-to-late 19th century, there are a few places to look. One of the best places to start is with the New York Times. The Roosevelt Library has access to the New York Times as far back as 1850. To make your search really easy you can use the New York Times Online Archive Search - but don't pay for the articles on their website! Simply write down all the article information and then come to the library for the microfilm from that date and print it off. You can do the same thing with The Atlantic's Online Archives. We carry The Atlantic from 1857-1932 in print, and from the 1970's to the present in various formats. You might also try setting the date in JSTOR and searching there for older material. You can also do research at the Chicago Public Library for newspapers they may carry that we do not.
Another way to find this information is to look for books and articles written about the work in question. For example, if you can find a book about Pride and Prejudice the author may discuss how the work was received at the time. Similarly, you can look for books about the author-as-subject, in the above example that would mean a biography or critical analysis of Jane Austen and/or her work. You may also want to look at specialized libraries and archives, or online archives. There are some links on the "Websites" tab of this research guide.
One of the best places to find biographical information (and much more) about an author is the Dictionary of Literary Biography, which we have as an online resource.The entries in this database provide the basic biographical information as well as a list of all their work and critical essays on their different works. To get to this database from the library webpage, click on Online Resources A-Z, and then choose Dictionary of Literary Biography. You can also search in Contemporary Authors from this same list, or try your search in Credo Reference. Remember, if you're off campus you'll have to enter your . Additionally, you could try a searching in reference books. To search the full-text of reference books at Roosevelt's library click here.
MLA Bibliography is the premier resource for scholarly articles about literature and film. However, the database has few full-text articles, and rarely do the articles have abstracts. You can still get these articles. The first thing you should do is click the green 'get article' button to see if we have the article in another database. Pay careful attention to the results on the next screen and to the citation; some of these articles are actually essays in an anthology - and Roosevelt may have the book. If you get a screen that say s"Article not owned by Roosevelt University" and you still want the article, click the link that says 'Click to Request this Article through Interlibrary Loan'. You will be taken to ILLIAD log in screen. If you do not have an ILLIAD account, simply create one by filling out the form. Be sure to distinguish between the article title and the journal titlesevelt staff/faculty address) in a few days to a week.
Looking at a book or article's bibliography is an excellent way to find new resources for your research. If you have the information for an article, and you're sure it's an article not a book or essay in an anthology then you want to identify the journal the article was published in. For example, look at the following citation:
Jolley, Susan Arpajian. "Integrating Poetry and To Kill a Mockingbird." English Journal 92.2 (Nov. 2002): 34-40. MLA International Bibliography. EBSCO. Roosevelt University Library, Chicago, IL. 22 Jan. 2009
In this citation, the journal is English Journal. Your next step is to find out whether Roosevelt owns this journal and which database it's in. Start at the library homepage and click on 'Find Journals and Newspapers by Title or Subject'. Then type in the name of the journal, English Journal, to find out if Roosevelt owns the journal. Pay attention to the year you need. In this case, you'll notice that Roosevelt has the journal for the year needed for the above article. Simply click through and then search for your article in the linked database. If you learn that we do not have the journal when following these steps, log on to your ILLIAD account and request the article through interlibrary loan.
When you are looking for information about your topic but it is not necessarily explicitly related to literature, or you are planning on relating it to the text yourself you can look for articles in humanities and interdisciplinary databases. For example, if you're working with Wuthering Heights and you want to know about race and orphans in 19th century England you might try journal databases that have a historical or socio/cultural-studies focus. Some databases you might try are Project Muse, JSTOR, or Arts and Humanities Search. As with any search, you'll want to start simple by narrowing your topic down to a few key words and playing around with synonyms, broader terms, narrower terms, and related terms. For help choosing a database, choose a subject-specific research guide and look at the databases suggested there. For more on database searching strategies click here.
If you'd like to find books, start your search in the book catalog at Roosevelt, or expand it to the I-Share catalog. Play around with key words and subject terms, and narrow your search one step at a time by clicking on the options in the right side bar like Subject Area, Era, Topic etc.
Click here to request a One on One session with a librarian to work on your research.
Email Martinique Hallerduff, the English Department's Librarian Liaison at mhallerduff [at] roosevelt [dot] edu.
Stop into the library in Chicago or Schaumburg and ask any of the librarians for help. You can also email, call, or Instant Message us. See the boxes to the right for "contact us."