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Brief Guide to Literary Resources & Criticism: Catalogs(OPACS)



Finding Books: Catalogs & E-books


The primary resource for finding books is the Libraries' catalog and WorldCat, an online union catalog. : first the University at Albany Libraries' catalog that provides access to titles in the Libraries and is accessible through the Primo Discovery Service; and, second, WorldCat, which is an extensive catalog-of-catalogs and provides access to important titles not owned by the University Libraries, but easily obtained via interlibrary loan(ILL).

Note: the OPAC like many indexes and databases uses specific terms for subject headings (referred to as controlled vocabulary). For assistance, check the Library of Congress Subject Heading online or ask a Reference Librarian.

  • Primo Discovery Service The Library’s OPAC is an excellent resource for finding literary criticism. Following are some suggestions for using the catalog:
    • keyword search both subject and title.
    • keyword search "Title and Subject keywords" in the "advanced search" option.  For example, if your topic is Emily Dickinson search on:
      • Dickinson and criticism
      • Dickinson and feminism
    • search related works. When you display a record, open the full record and examine the links listed under “Subjects- Lib. Cong.;” these will take you to related works.
    • Browse search with “Subject heading begins with...” This allows you to search broader topics. For example, if your topic is focused on James Joyce’s Ulysses or Thomas Hardy's Jude the Obscure, search on:
      • Joyce, James
      • Hardy, Thomas
      • You can then find headings including terms like: criticism and interpretation, bibliographies, specific characters, and much more.


  •  WorldCat: Accessible to University at Albany users only. This is an extensive collection of resources that are available through interlibrary loan. Use the same search strategies mentioned above. If you have an ILL account set up, just click on the "Submit request to UAlbany" link, enter your Illiad username and password, and the request is complete. Remember to start early, because loan items may take up to 2 weeks to arrive.


  • E-books: