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ENGC01 - Indigenous Literature of Turtle Island (Canada)

A research guide to help you find books and articles relevant to your assignments for ENC01: Indigenous Literature of Turtle Island.

Recommendation: Go into the Library and Browse books

Some students avoid using books because they don't want to physically go into the Library.  Books are a rich source of information for the study of Literature, and can help you write a better essay. 

1.  Books are shelved by topic.  So you'll find several books related to your assignment in the same spot:  Take a few minutes to browse the books (check the Table of Contents, book jacket, index), and you'll probably leave with a few more books then you expected.

2. A book's title is not a good indicator of whether or not its relevant to your assignment.  It's worth going to a relevant area in the library and browsing books:  This makes searching for books online problematic, as you get fairly little information about a book from the Library catalogue.  Go to the Library, and browse books in the correct area to see if they're relevant.  Remember the whole book doesn't (and generally won't) be right on your topic.  A chapter or two of pertinent material is good enough to use a book as a source.

Tip:  Remember that unless your researching a VERY VERY famous text (example:  Hamlet) you almost certainly WON'T find a book completely devoted to criticism of that text.  Search for criticism of the author.  When you find a book, check the table of contents and index to see if the texts your writing about are discussed.

Refine your Results

Once you have performed a search, you can refine your results by using a filter. You can filter by:

  • Library
  • Subject
  • Author
  • Format
  • Publication Year
  • Language

Library Catalogue: Learn how to find books relevant to your assignment

Search for books using the Library Catalogue.

Example:  Sherman Alexie is an Native American author from Seattle Washington.  One of his recent works was a novel titled Flight.

1.To find the novel, search by title and/or author. So:

sherman alexie AND flight

2. To find a poem or short story, search for the title of the book in which it appeared.  Catalogue records may not contain the title of every poem or short story in a collection or anthology, so you'll need to find out the name of the collection/anthology.  This is a case where Google can actually be very helpful!

3.  If you are looking for criticism of a text, remember that unless a work is extremely well known, you will not be able to find an entire book about it. Instead, try searching for books on the criticism of the author's works as a whole.

For example: sherman alexie AND criticism

This too will also only work in the case of reasonable well known and well studied authors, but in the case of Alexie Sherman you will find 321 hits with this search!

 312 hits for this search.

If there are no books devoted to your author look for books on a theme addressed in your texts, or on the broad category of literature into which your text falls

For example, what happens when we search the catalogue for "indigenous literature"?

searching for indigenous literature in LibrarySearch


In this case, we do find records in the catalogue.  HOWEVER, note that there are over 55,000 results, so we may want to look under the Subject field on the left of the search results under "Refine your search" to see what official subject headings might help us narrow our search.
Subject Headings related to the search "indigenous literature"