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English Subject Guide: online library support

Subject Guide - help and guidance on finding resources in your subject area

 Welcome to the English Subject Guide

  Use this guide to help you make the most of the library and information resources and services.  

New to the University?  Explore the Getting Started with the Library guide to learn all about the Library basics. 

Referencing - MLA Handbook

Reading for leisure

Take a break from your recommended academic reading and explore e-books and audiobooks on the Libby app.


More information can be found on the Libby guide.

Librarian @ Exeter

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Sarah Jones

Where to start your search

Library Search

Search across the print and online collections for books, chapters, articles, journals and lots more. 

For more in depth research in databases and archives, use the A-Z Databases List.

Key research resources

The following are key research tools to find scholarly research including journal articles, conference proceedings and books.


As well as the research databases mentioned above, there is a vast collection of other resources relating to particular literary periods, genres or information types that you may want to consider in your research. Find out more in the Which resources do I use? section on this page.

You can scroll through the A-Z and choose a database if you know exactly what you are looking for.

Or select your subject from the drop down subject menu to see a subset of resources in that category.

Or select a database type from the drop down type menu to see a subset of resources in that category.

For guidance on how to use these databases, see the Which resources do I use? guide > Criticism and Commentary section.


Full text is access to the whole article or paper

  • Some databases provide full text access to the articles themselves.
  • Some databases are primarily indexes or bibliographic databases, and although they provide information about the content of a journal article, they may not provide full-text access to the actual article itself.
  • Some databases are a mixture of full-text and indexed/bibliographic access.

How do I get the full text?

Try these options:

Use the Check for this at Exeter button; clicking on this link will check whether we have access to the item.

Search for the journal title in the library catalogue


Run your search in Google Scholar

First go to Settings> Library links and type University of Exeter in the search box. Make sure the box next to the University of Exeter is ticked and click Save.

Now when you search, you can get sometimes get PDF links to University subscribed content alongside the results.

Download the LibKey green teardrop iconLibKey browser extension to help you get access to full text articles.


In some cases, material you want to consult may not be available to you at Exeter. 

You will be using vast literature databases which feature many millions of resources from around the world. There are a number of options that may be of assistance to connect you with the information you need. 

Document Delivery Service

This service can be used  to request books/journal articles from other libraries.


Student Book Suggestion Scheme

Students can make book suggestions to the Library. Submit requests online and they will be reviewed by the library. If the book is unlikely to be used by others after your dissertation work, then you may be directed to the Document Delivery scheme instead, for short term access to material.


Library Hub Discover

Use this service to search across the book and journal collections of the UK research and specialist libraries.

You can search to see if copies of books/journals are available in other libraries that you could visit whilst at home over the vacation, or by a special trip.  Always check the access requirements before you travel, if you wish to visit another library.  Find out more about visiting other libraries. 

Expand your search



Click here for the 'Which resources do I use?' guide

This guide will help you: 

  • Choose which resources to use for different modules/ research areas
  • Find criticism and commentary on literary works
  • Locate primary texts from the era you are studying




Use this tutorial guide to help you locate information for your assignments.



Visit this tutorial guide for help with locating and using library resources when undertaking dissertation research.


  Click here for the Shakespeare resources guide

  Unsure how to access the texts of Shakespeare's plays and poems?

  Need a critical article or essay relating to the Bard? 

  Visit this guide for help.


If you are looking for information on a particular author or literary figure, then try searching the following resources:


Within this resource is Gale Literature, which includes literary biographies. See this page for more information.


If you are looking for a particular literary work, i.e. a play, poem, short story or novel, then you can try searching the following resources:



  • Library Search - the best starting point for tracking down a text online or in print.

See the LitFinder in the Gale Literature section.


Visit the English: which resources do I use? to locate literary works from particular time periods or literary movements.



We have a growing collection of audiobooks, available for you to borrow from our Overdrive website and the Libby app.











What is Libby? What is OverDrive?

A way to borrow e-books and audiobooks! Read or listen via the Libby app or on our OverDrive website

You can:

  • Check out up to 3 titles at a time
  • Borrow e-books for up to 7 days 
  • Borrow audiobooks for up to 14 days
  • Place up to 3 holds on titles that are currently checked out

How do I find titles to read?

  • Search or browse our collections using the Libby app

See this guide for more information on setting up your account - it's very simple!

  • On your reading list

Where available, links to OverDrive e-books and/or audiobooks will appear on your reading list, e.g.

  • Library Search

All OverDrive e-books and most audiobooks are also discoverable via Library Search.

A wide range of current and archival news sources are available at the University.   

Choose the News type in the A-Z Database List to view all resources.

See the guides below for more details.


Current news sources


Archival news sources


We have a large collection of online archival resources. These contain digitised copies of newspapers, images, diaries, official documents, reports and letters, covering a broad range of topic areas.

We also have a wide range of physical primary source materials, available in Special Collections and the Bill Douglas Cinema Museum.

See the Primary Sources guide for more information.



A reference resource, such as an encyclopedia, dictionary, guide, or volume of literary criticism, provides general background information on a topic. High quality reference works produced by scholars are an excellent place to start your research, and can give you give a useful overview of a subject.

Includes the Historical Thesaurus, where you can explore synonyms of a word over time, arranged chronologically. Use the OED video guides for more information.



Click here for the Library Research: EAS2026 Desire and Power guide

This guide introduces you to the skills and resources required for effective library research for Module EAS2026​.

Browse academic journals, save your favourites and discover new titles.

Connect to the platform with your Exeter IT login, and create a free account to save and organise journals and articles. 

For more information visit

Take a look at these freely available resources.

Effective Searching & Referencing

It is important to plan your search strategy, and manage your search results so that you get the most from your online searching.

Keep a record of all the material you need to cite in your assignments, papers, projects etc. 

Use the Search Techniques and Referencing guidance to assist you.

  • It is  easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer breadth of information available to you.  
  • Invest time in planning an effective online search strategy so that you can quickly and easily discover relevant and high quality information. 


As you search you need to keep track of all the material you will be using in your academic work so that you can cite and reference it appropriately.

Top Tip

Always check your module handbook for specific departmental guidance on the style required for your assessed works and dissertations.  Check with your personal tutor or dissertation supervisor if you need clarification.

For more guidance take a look at:

Find out more about the skills support available to help you develop a range of study skills including essay writing, referencing, critical reading and getting the most out of lectures.

Study Skills Support

Sage Research Methods Online (SRMO) is a great resource to use when you are planning and conducting your research. 

It is targeted at social science researchers but is useful across all subject areas as it covers key research methodology topics that are applicable across the research spectrum.

Sage have produced a comprehensive LibGuide to help you get the best from the resource.

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