Research Guide: Introduction to Fiction

| Reference Books | CONSULS Catalog | Online Databases | Locating Periodicals | Interlibrary Loan | Questions? |

Citing Sources to Avoid Plagiarism

Plagiarism is a form of cheating which may lower the grade you receive on your assignment. You must cite the source of any direct quotation and of any facts or ideas you obtained from another source. For more information about how to avoid plagiarism, please watch this brief video from Bainbridge College in YouTube: Plagiarism: How to Avoid It (

For tips on citation format, please see the MLA Formatting and Style Guide courtesy of OWL: Purdue Online Writing Lab (

Reference Books for Background Information

Reference books are shelved by Library of Congress call number on the fourth and fifth floors of the Haas Library. To learn about LC call numbers, please watch the brief video Reading a Call Number in YouTube (courtesy of the Douglas College Library). Reference books may not be checked out, but free scanners are available for student use on the first floor of the Library (please use your flash drive).

General Background on Literature

The Oxford Encyclopedia of American Literature. 4 volumes.Ref PS 21.E537 2004
The Cambridge Guide to Literature in English. Third edition.Ref PR 85.C29 2006
Encyclopedia of American Indian LiteratureRef PR 153.I52.E53 2007
Encyclopedia of Asian-American LiteratureRef PR 153.A84.O37 2007
Facts on File Companion to the American Short Story. Second edition. 2 volumes.Ref PS 374.S5.F33 2010
The Greenwood Encyclopedia of African American Literature. 5 volumes.Ref PS 153.N5.G73 2005
Hispanic Literature of the United States: A Comprehensive ReferenceRef PR 153.H56.K36 2003
The Oxford Companion to African American LiteratureRef PS 153.N5.O96 1997
The Oxford Companion to American Literature. Sixth edition.Ref PS 21.H3 1995
The Oxford Companion to English Literature. Sixth edition.Ref PR 19.O94 2006

Literary Criticism

Short Story Criticism (SSC)In Literature Criticism Online (see databases below)
Black Literature Criticism (BLC) (use author index at end of last volume)Ref PS 153.N5.B556
Hispanic Literature Criticism (HLC) (use index at end of last volume)Ref PQ 7081.A1.H573 1994
Critical Survey of Short Fiction. Fourth edition. 6 volumes.Ref PN 3321.C7 2012
Critical Survey of Long Fiction. Fourth edition. 10 volumes.Ref PN 3451.C75 2010

Biographical Sources

Dictionary of Literary Biography (DLB)Under Databases A-Z on library homepage
American Writers. 4 volumes + 4 supplements.Ref PS 129.A55
African American WritersRef PS 153.N5.A344 1990
African-American Writers: A DictionaryRef PS 153.N5.A3444 2000
Asian American Short Story Writers: An A-to-Z GuideRef PS 153.A84.A828 2003
American Women Writers. Second edition. 4 volumes.Ref PS 149.A42 2000
Modern American Women WritersRef PS 151.M54 1990
Latin American Writers. 3 volumes.Ref PQ 7081.A1.L37 1989
Latino and Latina Writers. 2 volumes.Ref PR PS 153.H56.L39 2004

Specific Fiction Writers

Critical Companion to Edgar Allan PoeRef PS 2630.S68 2007
Critical Companion to Flannery O'ConnorRef PS 3565.C57.Z735 2008
Critical Companion to James JoyceRef PR 6019.O9.Z533376 2006
Critical Companion to Toni MorrisonRef PS 3563.O8749.Z653 2008
Critical Companion to William FaulknerRef PS 3511.A86.Z459 2008
Critical Companion to Zora Neale HurstonRef PS 3515.U789.Z75 2009
Edgar Allan Poe A to ZRef PS 2630.S68 2001
Edith Wharton A to ZRef PS 3545.H16.Z459 1988
Ernest Hemingway A to ZRef PS 3515.E37.Z7484 1999
F. Scott Fitzgerald A to ZRef PS 3511.I9.Z873 1998
The Franz Kafka EncyclopediaRef PT 2621.A26.Z7173 2005
Herman Melville A to ZRef PS 2386.A24 2001
The Kate Chopin CompanionRef PS 1294.C63.B6 1988
Mark Twain A to ZRef PS 1331.R37 1995
Oxford Companion to Mark TwainRef PS 1331.O97 2003
The Poe EncyclopediaRef PS 2630.P58 1997
The Toni Morrison EncyclopediaRef PS 3563.O8749.Z913 2003

Literary Terminology and Critical Theory

Dictionary of Literary and Thematic Terms (Quinn)Ref PN 44.5.Q56 1999
Dictionary of Literary Themes and Motifs. 2 volumes.Ref PN 43.D48 1988
Encyclopedia of Literary and Cultural Theory. 3 volumes.Ref PN 81.E435 2011
Glossary of Literary Terms. 6th edition.Ref PN 41.A184 1993
Johns Hopkins Guide to Literary Theory and Criticism. Second edition.
Also available online in CONSULS.
Ref PN 81.J554 2005
New Handbook of Literary Terms (Mikics)Ref PN 41.M48 2007
Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms (Baldick)PN 41.C67 2008
Penguin Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory (Cuddon/Preston)Ref PN 41.C83 1999

Symbols, Allusions, and Metaphors

Adonis to Zorro: Oxford Dictionary of Reference and AllusionRef PN 43.D45 2010
Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 15th edition.Ref PN 43.B65 1995
Dictionary of Biblical Tradition in English LiteratureRef PR 149.B5.D53 1992
Dictionary of Literary Symbols (Ferber)Ref PN 56.S9.F47 1999
Facts on File Dictionary of AllusionsRef PN 43.M25 2009
Metaphors DictionaryRef PE 1689.M47 1995
Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and FableRef PN 43.O94 2000
Ruffner's Allusions: Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical...Ref PN 43.A4 2009
Thesaurus of Traditional English MetaphorsRef PE 1689.W56 1993

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CONSULS Online Catalog for Books and Media

CONSULS catalog workstations are concentrated on the first floor of the Haas Library, but some workstations are available on each of the other floors. You may logon to CONSULS via the WCSU Libraries Homepage at or directly at For more detailed instructions on searching, please see the yellow CONSULS flyer on the display rack on the first floor.

Please Note: CONSULS ignores upper and lower case, and you may omit punctuation, except the hyphen which must be replaced by a space.


Select Author at the CONSULS Main Menu, then type the writer's name last-name-first. Correct spelling is important.

Example: oconnor flannery (press ENTER orRETURN)
Example: oconnor fl (ENTER)

To limit search results to items owned by WCSU, click the Limit/Sort option, then select WCSU under "Where Item Is Located."


Select Subject at the CONSULS Main Menu, then type the writer's name last-name-first. Correct spelling is important. To limit results to items owned by WCSU, click Limit/Sort and then select WCSU under "Where Item Is Located."

Example: hawthorne nathaniel (press ENTER)
Or just: hawthorne nat (ENTER)

CONSULS will retrieve at list of Library of Congress Subject Headings which begin with the words you typed:

Hawthorne Nathaniel (main heading is subdivided)
Hawthorne Nathaniel 1804 1864--Biography
Hawthorne Nathaniel 1804 1864--Criticism and interpretation
Hawthorne Nathaniel 1804 1864--Influence
Hawthorne Nathaniel 1804 1864--Political and social views

PLEASE NOTE: Personal name headings may also be subdivided by the titles of individual works, for example:

Hawthorne Nathaniel--Rappaccini's Daughter


Select Title at the CONSULS Main Menu, then type as much of the title as you remember in correct word order. In CONSULS, you may omit "a," "an," or "the" at the beginning of a title.

Example: The Heart of the Story: Eudora Welty's Short Fiction (press ENTER)
Or just: heart of the story eudora (ENTER)

If your TITLE search does not retrieve an entry for a separately published edition of the work, select Words from the prompt line to re-execute the search as a keywords search (example: good man is hard to find and press ENTER). Then scan the CONTENTS field of each entry for the title of the work you need.


Select Subject at the CONSULS Main Menu, then type the Library of Congress subject heading which best describes your topic. Correct spelling and word order are important. The complete list of Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) is published in a set of big red books available in the Reference Area on the first floor of the Haas Library.

Type: Grotesque in literature (press ENTER)
Or just: grotesque (ENTER)


Select Keyword(s) at the CONSULS Main Menu, then type the key WORDS which best describe your topic, in any order.

Example: flannery oconnor and (violen* or grotesque) press ENTER
Narrower: flannery oconnor and good man and (violen* or grotesque) press ENTER

Example: eudora welty and worn path press ENTER
Narrower: welty and worn path and (poverty or race or racism or prejudice) press ENTER

Example: hawthorne and young goodman brown press ENTER
Narrower: young goodman brown and (dark* or shadow* or night*) press ENTER

Use the * (asterisk) as a truncation symbol to retrieve variant forms of a word root. Use the Boolean OR to expand your search by including synonyms and related terms. When using two different Boolean commands in the same search statement ("and" and "or" in the preceding examples) you must include parentheses to indicate which command is to be performed first.


If the item you need is owned by one of the other CSU Libraries (CCSU, SCSU, or ECSU) but not by WCSU, or if the Haas Library's copy is checked out, you may request the item electronically via Inter-Campus Loan by clicking on Request at the full record display in CONSULS. Type your University network username and password and then specify a pickup location (Haas or Young Library) before initiating your request. If you need assistance with Inter-Campus Loan, please contact the Circulation Desk at (203) 837-9100.

There is a limit of ten (10) Inter-Campus Loan requests per person. Videos are available via Inter-Campus Loan. Please allow 3-4 working days for delivery to the Haas Circulation Desk. Items borrowed via Inter-Campus Loan may be renewed for an additional borrowing period if no one else has placed a HOLD on the item.

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Online Databases for Finding Articles

To learn how to distinguish scholarly (peer-reviewed) journals from magazines, please see the brief YouTube tutorial Popular Magazines vs Scholarly Journals, courtesy of the library at the University of Detroit-Mercy.

Academic Search Premier in EBSCOhost
Coverage: 1990 - present (earlier for many publications)
Location: Under Articles & Databases: Most Popular at the WCSU Libraries Homepage.
Scope: Indexes approximately 8,000 newspapers, magazines, and scholarly journals in most fields, including language and literature, with 4,000 available in full-text.
Coverage: Issue number one to within 5-6 years of present (archival but embargoed)
Location: Under Articles & Databases: Most Popular on the WCSU Libraries Homepage.
Scope: Full-text of core scholarly journals in more than 25 disciplines, including language and literature (complete backfiles).
Literature Criticism Online from Gale Research
Coverage: Includes the series Short Story Criticism (SSC), Contemporary Literary Criticism (CLC), Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism (TCLC), Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism (NCLC), Literature Criticism from 1400 to 1800 (LC), Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism (CMLC), Drama Criticism (DC), Shakespearean Criticism (SC), and Poetry Criticism (PC).
Location: Under Articles & Databases: A-Z on the WCSU Libraries Homepage.
Scope: Excerpts and (in some cases) the full-text of articles published in English-language books and scholarly journals on literature and languages.
MLA International Bibliography
Coverage: 1963 - present
Location: Under Articles & Databases: A-Z at the WCSU Libraries Homepage.
Scope: Indexes books, essays published in books, journal articles, and dissertations in literature, language, linguistics, and folklore. Some linked full-text. No abstracts.

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Locating Periodicals in the Haas Library

To find out if WCSU subscribes to a specific periodical in print or online:

1. Select Journal Title at the CONSULS main menu, then type the name of the periodical (example: studies in short fiction and press ENTER). If a title list appears on the screen, select the desired title, then look inside the box to find WCSU holdings. Be sure to scroll to the bottom of the page to see if WCSU owns backfiles on microfilm or microfiche. Print periodicals are shelved alphabetically by title on the third floor of the Haas Library, with backfiles in bound volumes in the stacks.

2. To find out if a given periodical is available in full-text in one or more of WCSU's online databases, use the Journal Finder available under Articles & Databases on the WCSU Libraries Homepage (

How to Use Interlibrary Loan

If the CSU Libraries do not own the book you need, or if WCSU does not subscribe to the periodical you need, you may request delivery of the item via Interlibrary Loan using the online ILLiad system available at:

There is a limit of 5 Interlibrary Loan requests per day per person. Videos are not available via Interlibrary Loan. Under most circumstances, Interlibrary Loan is a free service, but please allow at least ten working days for delivery. You will be notified as soon as the material arrives. Faster document delivery service is available for a reasonable fee. Please call the Interlibrary Loan Desk at (203) 837-9114 for more information.

Do You Have a Question?

Reference service is available on request at the Circulation Desk on the first floor of the Haas Library, or you may contact Joan Reitz, Instruction Librarian, at 837-8308 or My office is located in Room 402 on the fourth floor of the Haas Library (near the glass elevator).

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Please send your comments to Joan Reitz, Haas Instruction Librarian, Western Connecticut State University.
Last updated on January 14, 2016