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Modern Languages and Literatures: Locating Articles

A research guide to finding books, articles, and other resources in Modern Languages and Literatures

Using Databases

Databases provide access to published material in:

  • magazines
  • newspapers
  • scholarly journals
  • books
  • and other valuable information sources.

Magazines vs. Journals

Magazines are periodicals that are generally popular in nature, unlike journals, which are usually more scholarly and specialized.  Here are some differences between the two:


Magazine: Glossy; pictures often in color.
Journal: More serious look; few pictures, if any.

♦  Content

Magazine: Current events; general interest. 
Journal: More specialized; research topics.

♦  Audience

Magazine: General public.
Journal: Scholars and researchers in a particular field.

♦  Style

Magazine: Written for the average reader.
Journal: Written for others in the field; shows research.

♦  Foot / Endnotes and Bibliographies

Magazine: Few notes, if any.  No bibliographies.
Journal: Includes notes and sometimes bibliographies.

♦  Advertisements

Magazine: Many ads, often in color. 
Journal: Few or no ads.  If any, they are usually for books.

Citing Your Sources

While writing research papers, you may need to:

  List your sources in bibliographies or works cited, and

♦  Provide either footnotes or endnotes.

Here is a link to the UMW Libraries' Guide to Citing Resources.

Modern Foreign Language Databases

Ethnologue: Languages of the World (UMW subscription)
Provides information on the 7,100 languages spoken around the world. Browse or search by language name, language family, or country. Provides features not available in the free version of Ethnologue (below).
  An encyclopedic reference work that catalogs the 7,100 known languages in the world.
Fuente Academica (coverage varies; approximately 2000 to date)
Furnishes the full text of scholarly Spanish language journals in many academic areas.
Gale Literary Sources  (Previously known as Literature Resources from Gale)
Provides access to critical and biographical information on living and deceased authors from around the world.
An extensive compilation of literary commentary, covering "centuries of critiques on authors and their works that span all time periods, types of literature, and regions." Includes criticism on poetry, drama, short stories, children's literature, Shakespeare, the classical and medieval eras, and works published from 1400-1800 and 1800 to 1900.

MLA International Bibliography (1926 to date)
A comprehensive index to articles and books on language, literature, and the dramatic arts.

Other Useful Databases

Academic Search Complete (approximately 1880s to date)
Provides abstracts and full-text articles from more than 10,000 books, scholarly journals, magazines, newspapers, and reference works on a wide variety of topics.
An online index to millions of biographical sketches in hundreds of reference books and other sources. To use the index, 1) Look up your name. 2) Note the various titles that contain information on the person. 3) Use the Libraries' online catalog to locate the reference works. An excellent place to begin biographical research on living and deceased persons from around the world.
Dissertations and Theses Full Text
"Offers full text for most of the dissertations added since 1997 and strong retrospective full text coverage for older graduate works."
Ethnic NewsWatch (1960 to date)
Supplies full-text articles from newspapers, magazines, and journals of the ethnic, minority, and native press.
Indexes nearly 1,200 periodicals.
Humanities Full Text (indexing: 1984 to date; select full text: 1995 to date)
Indexes some 600 journals in the humanities.
Humanities International Complete (coverage varies; approximately 1985 to date)
Provides the full text of hundreds of magazines, journals, books, and other works.
JSTOR (archived publications from the 1800s to the last 1-5 years)
A full-text collection of scholarly journals in a wide variety of disciplines in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences. To focus your search, use the Advanced Search and the "narrow by discipline" and "language" limiters.
Project Muse (coverage varies; mostly 1995 to date)
Provides online access to more than 400 scholarly journals in the humanities, arts, and social sciences.

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