English Language & Literature

This guide has links to resources for doing literary research. Some give general research advice and others are specific to an author or subject.

Introduction-English Guide

The subject liaison at the Libraries for English Language and Literature is:

Kristy Nowak

This guide has links to resources for doing literary research. Some give general research advice and others are specific to an author or subject. Included are databases supported by English Department Wentworth funds.

Databases Supported by English Department Wentworth Funds

These online resources are supported by the English Department; they may be accessed by CSU affiliates only. Content of these resources is found in the a section (skip one) below.

Dictionaries, Thesauri, & Encyclopedias on the Web

This box has links to multiple online dictionaries, thesauri, and encyclopedias--there are even more out there. Some of the sites listed here have more than one of these reference tools, and some are listed under more than one category. It is recommended that you look up your term(s) on more than one site. As with all resources, let the user beware. If something doesn't look accurate, check additional (including print) sources.

Dictionaries--Single titles Thesauri Foreign Language Dictionaries
Dictionaries--Multiple Links Encyclopedias Grammar



Look up definitions of words.

CSU subscribes to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED). It is available to CSU affiliates. "The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) is widely regarded as the accepted authority on the English language. It is an unsurpassed guide to the meaning, history, and pronunciation of 600,000 words— past and present—from across the English-speaking world." One thing to note is it is a British English dictionary so spellings and pronunciations do not always match American English.

Single Titles

Dictionary.com. Lexico LLC.


Merriam Webster Online.

OneLook Dictionaries.

Multiple Links

Dictionaries. LibrarySpot.com

Includes links to Special (Business/Finance, Etymology, Humanities, Legal, Medical, Professional, Rhyming, Science, and Technology) and Foreign Language Dictionaries (Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Spanish).

Freeality Online Dictionaries.

Language Dictionaries.

yourDictionary.com. yourDictionary.com Inc.

Over 1800 online dictionaries (more than 250 languages), including specialized, language, multi-lingual, translation, and thesauri, grammers, and more.


Find synonyms for words you already know. Most of these are Roget's, but on different searching platforms.

Merriam Webster Online.

Roget's Thesaurus. Bartleby.com.

RhymeZone. Datamuse and Lycos, Inc.

Thesauri. LibrarySpot.

Thesauri. yourdictionary.com.

Thesaurus.com. Lexico LLC.


Get background information for your research. For descriptions of these encyclopedias, see General Encyclopedias, which also lists print encyclopedias.

Infoplease.com. Columbia Encyclopedia, Fifth edition (1993).


Foreign Language Dictionaries

These sources offer dictionaries for foreign languages, English-foreign, and foreign-English dictionaries. As with printed language to language dictionaries, these are only going to be as reliable as you are familiar with the language in question.

Foreign Language Dictionaries. LibrarySpot.

Glossaries by Language. Language Automation, Inc.

Language Dictionaries. yourDictionary.

Language Dictionaries and Translators. Bigben.


Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing (text and podcasts). Copyright Mignon Fogarty, Inc.

Descriptions of Wentworth-supported Databases

Early American Imprints. Series I Evans 1639-1800 and Early American Imprints Supplement, 1670-1800.

Evans contains virtually every book, pamphlet and broadside published in America over a 160-year period. It contains more than 36,000 printed works and 2.3 million pages. The type of work has a wide range and includes a wide variety of 17th- and 18th-century imprints, such as advertisements, almanacs, bibles, broadsides, catalogs, charters and by-laws, contracts, cookbooks, elegies, eulogies, laws, maps, narratives, novels, operas, pamphlets, plays, poems, primers, sermons, songs, speeches, textbooks, tracts, travelogues, treaties and more. These are valuable primary research materials.

The online collection may be searched by subject and browsed by genre, subjects, author, history of printing, place of publication and language. Topics covered include agriculture, astronomy, auctions, capital punishment, child rearing, commerce, constitution, diseases, education, foreign affairs, French & Indian wars, geography, Latin, lotteries, masonry, medicine, military operations, missionaries, operas, religious thought, revolutionary war, slavery, suffrage, temperance, trials, witchcraft, women, work, yellow fever and more.

Early American Newspapers. 1823-1860.

Jacksonian Era, Parts 1 and 2, 1823-1842 covers: Second Great Awakening, Lowell Textile Mills, Monroe Doctrine, Trail of Tears, and  Indian Removal. Antebellum Period, Parts 1 and 2, 1843-1860 covers: Height of Plantation Slavery, California Gold Rush, Dred Scott decision, Mexican War.

Independent Voices.

"Independent Voices is a digital collection of alternative press newspapers, magazines and journals, drawn from the special collections of participating libraries. These periodicals were produced by feminists, dissident GIs, campus radicals, Native Americans, anti-war activists, Black Power advocates, Hispanics, LGBT activists, the extreme right-wing press and alternative literary magazines during the latter half of the 20th century."

Iter Bibliography.

Secondary source materials on Middle Ages & Renaissance time period 400-1700. The bibliography has more than 1.3 millions citations.

Literary Research Guide: An Annotated Listing of Reference Sources in English Literary Studies (Harner)

"The Literary Research Guide is a selective, annotated guide to reference sources essential to the study of British literature, literatures of the United States, other literatures in English, and related topics." "[B]ibliographies, abstracts, surveys of research, indexes, databases, catalogs, general histories and surveys, annals, chronologies, dictionaries, encyclopedias, and handbooks" are described and often evaluated by the author.

Women Writers Online 1526-1850

"Women Writers Online is a full-text collection of early women’s writing in English, published by the Women Writers Project at Northeastern University. It includes full transcriptions of texts published between 1526 and 1850, focusing on materials that are rare or inaccessible." "[M]ore than 375 texts published between 1526 and 1850."

World Shakespeare Bibliography Online 1960-2016.

World Shakespeare Bibliography Online has "annotated entries for all important books, articles, book reviews, dissertations, theatrical productions, reviews of productions, audiovisual materials, electronic media, and other scholarly and popular materials related to Shakespeare and published or produced between 1960 and 2016. The scope is international, with coverage extending to more than 120 languages and representing every country in North America, South America, and Europe and nearly every country in Asia, Africa, and Australasia.

"The more than 117,000 records in this version cite several hundred thousand additional reviews of books, productions, films, and audio recordings."

Liaison to English

Kristy Nowak's picture
Kristy Nowak
I am available to help you virtually! Please contact me by e-mail, chat (chat will say "Chat with Kristy" when online), or set up a virtual appointment above!

E-mail: kristy.nowak@colostate.edu
Office Hours calendar: https://libguides.colostate.edu/kristynowak

How to Do Library Research

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