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Exploring the Pastoral in Literature
Detail of The Wilds of Lake Superior by Thomas Moran, 1864 via Wikimedia Commons.
New(ish) to doing college-level research? Or maybe it's been awhile since you've used the library or searched for sources. Either way, you might find this Quick Answers guide helpful, in addition to the resources on this page. It walks you through some basic skills and answers frequently asked questions about the library and research. And as we continue to live into this strange, new world, you might also find our Stay Connected: COVID19 guide to be helpful as well. This guide contains information about library & research services during the pandemic.
Chat with Us! (Fall Semester through Spring Semester only)
Chat reference service is available Monday - Thursday 10:30 - 4:30 & Fridays 10:30 - 2:30. We look forward to connecting with you! Contact us with any question about research or library services.
These times don't work for you? Prefer to connect via email or Google Meets? Visit our Reference Services page for more options to contact a librarian.
For Background and Context
Wikipedia is great, but sometimes you want something a little more focused and academic. These books in the Reference Collection (main floor, Beck side) might help you define concepts and get a smart summaries about people or issues.
American Nature Writers by
Call Number: Reference PS 163 .A6 1996
Publication Date: 1996-10-01
American Environmental Leaders by
Call Number: Reference GE 55 .B43 2000
Publication Date: 2001-09-09
Encyclopedia of Environmental Ethics and Philosophy
Call Number: Reference GE 42 .E533 2009
Publication Date: 2008-10-15
Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature by
Call Number: Reference BL31 .E465 2005
Publication Date: 2005-05-31
Finding Secondary Sources
Before you settle on a thesis for your paper, you will need to explore the possibilities a particular author and work provide for thinking about connections between humans and the natural world. The good news - it's wide open! The bad news - you'll have to narrow your focus. You'll get your main idea from the text itself, but for this paper you'll take your interpretation and add in what you can learn from at least two other sources about either the author or work you're focused on or sources about the themes or issues your interpretation draws out. Browse around and see what's out there as your thesis begins to firm up.
You should also use the Environmental Studies research guide for additional suggestions on places to search.
WorldCat Library Catalog
Find books in our library, articles, and books you can borrow from other libraries (if you have several days available to wait for them). Look to the left-hand side to see various ways to refine your search.
Academic Search Premier
An all-purpose grab-bag of a database. Find articles about all kinds of topics. Use the limiters on the left to filter your results to scholarly articles and recent publication dates.
Full contents of a group of scholarly journals. The most recent years are often unavailable in full text. It works best if you make use of limiters:
- choose "articles"
- set a range of dates (e.g. 1990 -2019) to avoid outdated sources
- scroll down and choose disciplines (e.g. Language and Literature)
Research database focusing on the relationship between human beings and the environment, with information on topics ranging from global warming to recycling to alternate fuel sources and beyond. Comprised of scholarly and general interest titles, as well as government documents and reports.
MLA International Bibliography
Hardcore research on writers and literary topics. This includes books, book chapters, articles, and dissertations. So in-depth a lot of the things you find will have to be requested through interlibrary loan.
Indexes over 500 scholarly journals published by SAGE in a range of disciplines, including many social sciences titles. Includes current full text for over 30 journals and back issues for hundreds of journals. Many journals include full backfiles - back to 1960s or earlier. To search articles by discipline, click "Browse" > "Journals by discipline."
This search engine points toward scholarly research rather than all Web-based sources. It is stronger in the sciences than in the humanities, with social sciences somewhere in between. One interesting feature of Google Scholar is that in includes a link to sources that cite a particular item. Not all of the articles in Google Scholar are free; the library can obtain many of them for you through Interlibrary loan.
It's like Amazon, but without the bills! If we don't have a book or article you want, we will get it for you. In the catalog, you can widen a search to "libraries worldwide," click on the title of the book you want, then use the "request" button. In a few days you'll get an email when the book arrives and can pick it up at the information desk.
If we don't have an article, use the "find it" option in article databases to request it. You'll get a PDF of it in a day or two.
Use the "my library account" link on the left-hand side of the library's main page to get blank forms or check on the status of your ILLs.
Note that during spring 2020, you will need to find electronic sources only, as most libraries have suspended borrowing/loaning physical books. The Tracking Down Materials tab above has more details on how to request items from ILL, too.
When you click on a database, you will be prompted to log in with your Gustavus username and password.
If it doesn't work, contact Julie via email (click the email me button above).
Tips on how to recognize reliable sources by evaluating them in terms of relevance, currency, audience, and credibility.
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