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English, American, and World Literature

How to find library resources on English, American, and World Literature

Finding Books

Use the following databases to find print books, e-books, and book reviews. 

Call Numbers and Subject Headings

Call Numbers

Print books in the duPont-Ball Library are organized by Library of Congress Call Number. Call numbers are arranged by subject. Literature and books about literature have call numbers that begin with the letter P. These are located on the top floor of the library. For more details about call numbers, see the Library of Congress Classification System. One way to find books is by browsing the stacks. If you know the call number range for the topic you are interested in, find the range in the stacks and start browsing the titles and tables of contents of books in that section.

Subject Headings

Subject headings are used to index books and ebooks by subject. Use subject headings to search for books in the Library Catalog or Worldcat. Here are some example subject headings: American drama, American fiction 19th century, American literature, African American authors, English drama 19th century, English fiction 20th century, Feminist literary criticism, Gothic fiction, Literature and history, Literature modern history and criticism

How to find a subject heading on your topic:

1. Use the catalog or Worldcat to find a book on the subject you're researching.

2. Click on the title of the book.

3. Click on Description

4. Find Subjects. Next to Subjects, you should see a list of links. These are subject headings.

5. Click on the subject heading link for the subject you want to research. This should take you to a list of other material on the same subject.



How do I know if a book is scholarly?

Scholarly books disseminate research and academic discussion among professionals within disciplines.  They are intended for academic study and research, and are preferred when writing college-level papers. They are published by academic or university presses.

Non-scholarly books do not examine a topic with the sufficient level of detail and intellectual rigor. They are not authoritative (the authors are often not academics). They are written to entertain and broadly inform, rather than to advance a field of study. Non-scholarly books are published by commercial presses.


Comparing Scholarly and Non-Scholarly Books


Scholarly/Academic Book

Non-scholarly/Popular Book


  • To share with other scholars the results of primary research & experiments.
  • To entertain or inform in a broad, general sense.


  • A respected scholar or researcher in the field; an expert in the topic; names are always noted.
  • A journalist or feature writer; names not always noted.


  • A university press; a professional association or known (independent) scholarly publisher.
  • A commercial publisher.

Intended audience

  • Other scholars or researchers in the field, or those interested in the topic at a research level.
  • General public.


  • Language is formal and technical; usually contains discipline-specific jargon.
  • Language is casual. Few, if any, technical terms are used (and if they are, they are usually defined).


  • References are always cited and expected; text often contains footnotes.
  • Very uncommon; text may contain referrals to "a study published at..." or "researchers have found that..." with no other details.

Have a question? Ask a librarian! Email Call or text 386-747-9028.