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Literary Reference Center – A MARVEL Database

I think it’s time for me to check out a new-to-me database on the MARVEL! Maine’s Virtual Library page.

Hmmm . . LITERARY REFERENCE CENTER – this looks interesting.  Clicking on the link opens the Literary Reference Center page.  Here I see several options to try.  The top menu bar contains New Search ;  Publications ; Browse Authors ; Browse Most Studied Authors and More.  There’s a place to do a search by Keyword ; Author  or Title.  Down the left side I see BROWSE with several options in the box, REFERENCE SHELF also with several options and CONTENT SPOTLIGHT which appears to be a journal article.  I don’t know how often the article is changed, but this one is about author Peter Matthiessen.

Closer to the center of the page there is BOOK HIGHLIGHT, which contains a sideways scroll.  I see articles with titles such as Critical Insights: The Great Gatsby ; Critical Insights: Mark Twain and Critical Insights: John Steinbeck.  Below this there are two more boxes – FEATURED WORK and FEATURED AUTHOR.  Today the FEATURED WORK is The Left Hand Of Darkness, and the FEATURED AUTHOR is Ursula K. Le Guin.

Where to now?  I check out the options below BROWSE and click on Most Studied Authors.  I am taken to a list of many, Many, MANY authors (in alphabetical order, of course) all that are click-able links!  It looks like I can also check them out by Country ; Culture ; Genre and Movement.  More options than I know what to do with!  After clicking on Movement, I scroll down the page and click on Beat Movement.  Wow, a list of seven authors who were part of the Beat Movement, all as links to more information about each of them.  I click on Jack Kerouac and am taken to a page with information about him, including his full name, birth and death dates.  There are also links to more information about him – Principal Works , Biography, Analysis, Summary, Discussion Topics and Bibliography.  Again, WOW!

I click back to the home page and again look at the BROWSE options.  This time I click on Most Studied Works.  I have to tell you, I find it odd that the list of works is in an odd to me order – yes, all of the As are together, but they seem to be in reverse alphabetical order – Awakenings before Atonement before Are You There, God? It’s Me Margaret.  This might not be an issue for many people but is a bit off to me.  Clicking on a title takes me to a beautiful citation of the work, as well as giving me more options to look at.  There is a box on the left that contains Related Information, which includes Interviews, Reviews, Poems, Biographies and several other topics.  The Contents box works well to move me through the current page.

Back on the home page I focus on the REFERENCE SHELF.  Here there are several more choices.  I click on Research Guide.  This takes me to a page that seems to have any and all information I might need to write a research paper – from Plagiarism: How to Avoid Common Pitfalls to Worst Case Scenario: My paper is nearly due and I’ve barely started! to a Research Glossary.  This looks like a great page to keep in mind for “THOSE” questions – “How do I make an outline?” ; “My teacher said I can’t use the internet because it isn’t true.  What makes a true resource on the internet?” or “How do I write a bibliography?”

This is a very interesting database!  There are many pieces that I can see using here at the library, but there are definitely pieces that are a bit  . . . clunky to use.  This is a site that I would have found helpful several centuries (or at least decades) ago when I wrote my first papers for school!