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SPAN 221 Introduction to Methods of Literary Analysis in the Hispanic World

This guide aims to support SPAN 221 (Winter 2024) students with their Group Project: Critical Edition Assignment. Use it to identify how to use UBC Library website, catalogue and databases.

Library Website

I find it so hard to use the Library, why can't I use Google?

1. Google is not that reliable, but we will talk more about it here.

2. It's free! Well, I mean, you are paying a lot of money to study here, and part of it pays for the many helpful resources that the Library has.

The following video introduces the UBC Library website, important tabs, and basic search options.

Using the Library’s Search Engine

Sometimes you want to search broadly to get started discovering sources. The following video introduces UBC Library’s search engine, Summon, and how to use its features so you can find the topics and materials you are interested in AND so you can get access to them if they are available in full-text online. This video will help you getting your search started.


Keyword Searching & Journal Articles

From Google to databases: How to Search?

We conduct research every day: choosing which new cellphone we should buy, where we should take our graduate courses on, and so on. Academic Research is a bit different.

Whereas on our day to day life we ask Google any question, for Academic Research questions, we should use keywords on databases and the Library catalogue. "Keywords? Databases?". The video below shows you how to go from a Research question to keywords.


Databases: Focusing your search

Summon, the Library Search Engine, is a great place for you to get your search started, learn more about a topic, and see what is available out there. However, it might be hard to narrow down your results - that is, to get results that are more specific to your topic. Databases are subject (e. g., Spanish, Latin American Studies) or functionality (e. g., data or reports) specific, which can save you time going through Search results. So, if you know what kind of resource you need or have a well-defined topic in mind, you might want to move on to more particular searching.

In this link you’ll get a chance to learn more about and explore a good scholarly database called MLA International Bibliography. The MLA International Bibliography provides access to scholarly research from 4,400 journals and series. It also covers relevant monographs, working papers, proceedings, bibliographies, and other formats.


Historical context

As we mentioned before, the default library search engine, Summon, allows you to find a great deal of articles. Besides MLA International Bibliography, UBC subscribes to a number of specific databases that can help you focus your search. Below you will find History / Primary Sources databases that might help you with the historical context of your assignment.

  • Latino Literature

    Authors such as Rudolfo Anaya, Cherrie Moraga, Carlos Morton, Alurista, Virgil Suarez, Judith Ortiz Cofer, Ivan Acosta, Oscar Zeta Acosta, Rolando Hinojosa, Tato Laviera, Lucha Corpi, Luis Valdez, and others are included, along with many others.

    The collection begins with the works of those in the Southwest who became citizens of the United States in 1850, covering the body of early Chicano writers who began to create a distinctive literature in the early 19th century, such as Maria Amparo Ruiz de Burton, Maria Cristina Mena, Josefina Niggli and Daniel Venegas. Much of this work has long been out of print and unavailable. The collection includes major writers from the Chicano Renaissance and current writers as well. The works of some Teatros created in the late '60s and early '70s are targeted for inclusion, such as El Teatro Campesino (The Farm Workers Theater) and El Teatro de la Esperanza.

    Social historians will find much of value in Latino Literature from Alexander Street Press. The works of Salvadorans, Nicaraguans, Dominicans, and other Central and South American writers address the social upheaval in their countries. Cubans write of exile. Chicanos write of the social oppression they experience and their efforts to gain political and economic advancement.

    Material is about 75% in English, 25% in Spanish.

  • Sabin Americana:

Based on Joseph Sabin's landmark bibliography, this collection contains works about the Americas published throughout the world from 1500 to the early 1900's.

Included are books, pamphlets, serials and other documents that provide original accounts of exploration, trade, colonialism, slavery and abolition, the western movement, First Nations, military actions and much more. With over 6 million pages from 29,000 works, Sabin reaches into all aspects of western history and culture. It touches upon the political and religious life in the U.S, Canada and Mexico as well as reaching into South American and the Caribbean.

Makes available a diverse range of topically-focused collections of historical documents in digital format including: 

  • Feminism in Cuba: nineteenth through twentieth century
  • La guerra civil Española