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English and American Literature: Digital Collections

A resource guide for the study of English and American Literature

Database Search Tips

Here are tips for better search results in databases. These will work in most databases, but check 'Help' sections for supported search syntax.

Boolean: (using operators: and, or, not)

mother and father searches for occurrences of both words within scope defined.

mother or father searches for one or all, but both are not required.

mother not father searches for occurrences of the word ‘mother’ without use of the word ‘father.’

(mother not father) and god searches for occurrences of the word ‘mother’ without use of the word ‘father,’ then also requires the word ‘god.’


art* searches for art, arts, artistic, artful, etc.


m?n searches for man and men. 

Finding sources in digital collections

NYU subscribes to a large number of databases that offer digital primary source collections and other related content. This section is an ongoing list of digital collections that are especially relevant for literary study, broken down into two subsections for NYU subscription digital collections and open access digital collections. These collections cover many time periods and  include digitized text and images, scholarly commentary, bibliographic information, and much more. If you're looking for online versions of literary texts, or images of historic books and newspapers, start here!

(If you're looking for journal articles on English and American literature, try the Finding Articles via databases section of this guide.)

Digital humanities research: what is it and how can I do it?

Digital humanities (also known as humanities computing) is an umbrella term for a wide range of computer-assisted approaches and methods in humanities research, from text analysis to data mining to geospatial projects . For an overview, see the CUNY Digital Humanities Guide, especially the Defining the Digital Humanities page, or the "What is digital Humanities?" thread at Digital Humanities Questions and Answers, a project by the Association for Computers and the Humanities. Examples of some large-scale digital humanities projects can be found on the "Digital Collections and Digital Humanities Projects (open access)" subsection of this guide.

If you're interested in trying digital humanities approaches, the Digital Studio on the 5th floor of Bobst Library offers consultations. The DiRT (Digital Research Tools) directory lists popular tools for DH projects.

There are many scholars interested in the digital humanities in the greater New York area, and the newly formed NYCDH online community is one place to get to know them.