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SPAN 779 - AP Spanish Literature

This guide will aid researchers in locating books and journal articles in order to conduct a critical analysis of texts or to develop lesson plans.

Library Research Guide

MLA International Bibliography: Search Tips

Below are two ways to search to increase the relevancy of your search results in MLA: use options on the Advanced Search screen and expand your search terms using the Thesaurus. 

Advanced Search

Advanced in this case means special search features for literary researchers, not that you have to be a literature expert. Advanced search features include searching by:

  • Genre
  • Primary Subject Author (that is - the author of a work, like Colette, is the subject of the article)
  • Location
  • Time Period

Below is a screen shot of the Advanced Search screen, including the search options that appear when you click on the Select a Field option in the search boxes.


Screenshot of MLA Advanced Search screen with options to refine search


Use the Thesaurus to identify terms commonly used by literary researchers.

The Thesaurus:

  • appears as an option on the Advanced Search screen
  • identifies alternative search terms, including broader, narrower, and related terms 

Not all keywords will appear in the Thesaurus; not all terms in the Thesaurus will have alternative terms.


A sample Thesaurus search:

  1. Link to the Thesaurus from the Advanced Search page.
  2. Enter your keyword in the search term box. The image below shows a search for the keyword middle.
    • All the subject terms that appear contain the word middle
    • Switch to subject terms that begin with middle by clicking the Begins with option under the search term box.
  3. Click on a subject term to open a new window.

Screenshot of MLA International Bibliography Advanced Search opening Thesaurus

Below is a screenshot of the Thesaurus screen that appears for the term African American middle class. Note that the Thesaurus offers two Broader Terms and one Narrower Term:

  1. Click the box to the left of any of the subject terms that you want to include in your search.
  2. Once you have selected all of the terms to include, click on the Add to search button at the bottom of the box, then Close.
  3. You will be returned to the Advanced Search screen with the new subject terms added.


Screenshot MLA International Bibliography Thesaurus box with related terms



JSTOR: Search Tips

JSTOR searches journals covering multiple subjects, including literature and modern languages.

Use the Advanced Search page because it offers options to focus your search so that you don't get 100,00 irrelevant articles.

On the Advanced Search page

  • Take advantage of the multiple search boxes, each line can be used for a separate concept
  • Insert OR between synonyms or related terms to tell JSTOR that you will accept results with any those words
  • Select All Content under access type; you can use the Get It button to locate a copy of the article if it's not available through JSTOR
  • Under Item Type, select Articles. This removes the hundreds of the book reviews that will appear otherwise.

JSTOR Advanced Search options