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ENGL 500


Summon is the UBC Library's meta-discovery tool that provides a single starting point to find and to access the majority of the UBC Library collections - including books, ebooks, scholarly journals and articles, newspaper articles, dissertations and theses, videos, maps, manuscripts, music scores, digitized items, and more.

Summon is very fast and excels at finding print books, ebooks, journal articles, film and media, and a multitude of other resources using keyword searching. It's a good starting point for research. Summon only indexes about 80% of our articles and doesn't cover some full text resources such as the Oxford reference guides and handbooks so you should also use specialized databases for your research. Use the Advanced Search if you want to search by specific fields (i.e. author, title, call number, subject headings, etc.).


When searching Summon, it's important to use quotation marks around phrases. For example, try searching monkey beach and notice the number of results returned; then redo the search using quotation marks "monkey beach" and review the results. Try narrowing your results to books/ebooks; clear the filter and then try journal articles.

You can also use Summon to find a known journal article quickly. For example, try searching for this article ""Black States": Diasporic Affect in the Prose of Dionne Brand" by David Chariandy published in TOPIA: Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies, 2016, Volume 34, pp. 87-102.

Finding Books

Go to the UBC Library website and use the Books & Media tab to start looking for books on your topic. To enhance and improve your search results, use truncation in your keyword searches and try searching the subject headings assigned to books on your topic. Before you begin your searching, consider your topic and write down the key concepts. What are the keywords that describe your subject? Think of related words, synonyms, and different spellings. For example, for the topic: Feminist novels in the early 20th century.

Key concepts are:

  • feminist, feminism, women, gender
  • novel or novels, fiction, literature
  • 20th or twentieth century, Victorian, Edwardian

Use truncation to expand your search results:

  • feminist novels 20th - gives you 126 results
  • feminis? novel? 20th - gives you 388 results
  • The ? is a truncation mark used in the Library catalogue to broaden your search: for example, feminis? will retrieve records with feminism, feminist, feminists, etc.

Browse the results list and look at the full records to see the subject headings assigned for relevant titles. Note that the results are sorted by relevance. You can change the results to sort by date, author, or title. Click on the subject headings to find more books on your topic.

Examples of other subject headings to search for books on this topic include:

  • Feminism and literature--History--20th century.
  • Feminist fiction--History and criticism.
  • Women and literature--History--20th century.
  • Feminist fiction, American--History and criticism
  • Feminist fiction, English--History and criticism.
  • Feminism and literature--United States--History--20th century.
  • Women and literature--United States--History--20th century.
  • Women's rights and literature
  • American fiction--Women authors--History and criticism
  • Suffragists in literature
  • Women in literature
  • Feminism in literature.
  • English fiction--20th century--History and criticism.

Browsing Subjects and Call Numbers

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Most library catalogues use Library of Congress Subject Headings for subject description. These are available in a six-volume set on the counter behind the Research Commons Desk and online . These subject headings:

  • Provide a control list for subjects assigned to books
  • Offer universal subject coverage
  • Help put concepts into words
  • Guarantee that research material exists
  • Are used by most North American libraries
  • Are often used or built upon by general periodical indexes

Reliable searching depends on understanding the relationship between natural language and deliberate subject description. The latter structures and controls natural language. Use of controlled subject headings or a thesaurus eliminates synonyms, defines a hierarchy of inclusion (broader than, narrower than), and indicates some less precise semantic connections. Scope notes may elaborate on distinctions made among terms.

For example, the subject heading British Literature has a scope note and many cross-references, which give a good sense of the range of possible headings:
British Literature
Scope note: Here are entered works on the literature of the British Isles or Great Britain not limited to literature in one language or from one area. Works limited to literature in one language or from one area are entered under the specific heading, e.g. English literature; Scottish literature.

When you are starting your research on a topic, try looking up your key concepts in the Library of Congress Subject Headings. Often you will find ideas for other terms that will help you to find more relevant materials held in the Library.

After you find a relevant book on your topic, you can also browse the catalogue by the Library of Congress call numbers to find more titles.

New Books in English

Chaucer and the ethics of time cover
Race and affect in early modern English literature cover
The masculinities of John Milton: cultures and constructs of manhood in the major works
Line endings in Renaissance poetry cover
Paradise lost by John Milton, edited by Stephen B. Dobranski
Shakespeare and the denial of territory: banishment, abuse of power and strategies of resistance cover
Comparative practices: literature, language, and culture in Britain's long eighteenth century cover
Approaches to teaching the works of Eliza Haywood
British Romanticism and the archive: loss, archives and spectrality cover
Dickens and travel: the start of modern travel writing cover
Notework: Victorian literature and nonlinear style cover
My Victorian novel: critical essays in the personal voice
Narrating trauma: Victorian novels and modern stress disorders cover
The written and the visual: representations of women in English nineteenth-century poetry and art cover
Transatlantic Anglophone literatures, 1776-1920: an anthology
Twisted words: torture and liberalism in imperial Britain cover
Misfit modernism: queer forms of double exile in the twentieth-century novel cover
Reconstruction fiction: housing and realist literature in postwar Britain cover