This page helps you to select databases for your research and to learn more about databases for literary topics in general. With most English and literature papers, there is no one right place to start. Begin where you feel most comfortable, and if that doesn't work move to another database.
Short stories in particular have a way of appearing in one database rather than another. Flexibility is the key to successful short story research.
Gale Literature Resource Center is your source for full text overviews, criticisms, and articles about your work. Literature Resource Center's content is 100% full text and consists of articles taken from Gale's wide range of literary criticism book series. For best results, start with the Criticism tab. If your professor has asked you to use journal articles rather than book chapters, you will need to examine your results VERY CAREFULLY.
To learn more about how to use Literature Resource Center, try Step by Step with Gale Literature Resouce Center.
Yes, the Modern Language Association, which creates and maintains this database, also is behind the MLA style used in your works' citeds. MLA International Bibliography is the largest language and literature database in the world. It is the one your professor consults for his or her own research. It consists entirely of links to articles from scholarly journals. Unfortunately, only a small fraction of this database is full text. Make sure you click full text when searching.
To learn more about MLA International Bibliography, try Step by Step with MLA International Bibliography.
JSTOR is a nearly 100% full text database for older, scholarly literary criticism articles. JSTOR covers a small set of core language and literature journals all the way back to their first issue or the year 1900. To obtain the best results, make sure to use Advanced Search and to select Language and Literature from the long list of available subject. You will need to scroll down the page to see all the subject choices.
For help using JSTOR, try Step by Step with JSTOR.
Literary Reference Center is another full text database that offers literary criticism along with summaries. The summaries and overviews are from a different series of books than those in Literature Resource Center, and the articles occasionally come from popular magazines rather than scholarly journals. To obtain only full text results, you need to use Advanced Search.
To learn more about searching with Literary Reference Center, try Step by Step with Literary Reference Center
|Literary Databases at a Glance|
|Gale Literature Resource Center||Criticism and overviews. Some are full text articles from scholarly journals. Many more are articles from Gale's literary criticism reference books.||1400 to present|
|MLA International Bibliography||A very large number of language and literature articles (including criticism) from scholarly journals. Only a fraction of this database is full text.||1966 to present|
|JSTOR||Older full text articles from a core collection of journals in the humanities and social sciences. These include literary criticism.||1900 to approx 2007|
|Literary Reference Center||Articles from McGill's literary criticism reference books, scholarly journals, and popular magazines. Not entirely full text.||1986 to present|