Use the techniques described on this page to find specific works of literature by using our general search bar or subject databases.
Or, use one of our excellent Print Indexes to track down a hard-to-find work.
If you've found the text of a poem or a short story online, be careful — you never know when words might be changed or verses omitted, whether accidentally or maliciously.
Using online texts is usually okay for quick skims, but always use trustworthy, authoritative sources when doing a close reading and analysis — especially when you need to cite them.
If you know the exact title of a work,
Limit to books held in Lindell Library by clicking "Augsburg" in the Location box on the left-hand side of the search results.
If you want something from another library, you can order it.
If the play, poem, or story you want is in an anthology or a collection by a single author, search for the title of the larger work in quote marks and include the author's name, especially for generic titles.
To find out if the work you're looking for is in a larger work, you can do the same search in Google to find the title of the larger work — this is fast and usually works. Once you have it, search our collection using that title. If Google's no help, try one of the print indexes, Academic Search Premier, or ask a librarian.
If you don't know the title or want to see what's available from a particular writer,
This eliminates books about the author or criticism, leaving only the books the author has written.
Start with basic terms like:
These searches alone will find thousands of books.
Then add words to narrow your search closer to what you want:
Keyword searches are a great way to find anthologies. Searching for: "short stories" carver will find books that title or author searches won't — anthologies that probably include only one of his stories, but also other potentially interesting, similar writers and themes.
Find in the Reference Section, under heading Reference PN1655 P51
Look here to find out how to locate specific plays or to browse by subject or author.
Find in the Reference Section, under heading Reference PN3451 S5
Look here for where to find specific short stories or to browse by author or subject.
Find in the Reference Section, under heading Reference PN1021 H39
Look here for where to find specific poems or to browse by author or subject.
Choose the volume that includes the year the poem was published, or the year or two after. Older but popular poems that are reprinted often (by Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, etc.) will also be included in recent volumes. Just browsing? Choose whatever you want.
You can search in three ways:
Books on literary theory or about multiple authors are on the Link Level in the P section, which is too large to browse. Use the General Search of our catalog.
Books by and about individual writers — novelists, poets, dramatists, short story writers, etc. — are on the Lower Level. These can also be found in our catalog or browsed on the shelf using the tips below about literature call numbers.
This is where you'll find most of the literature books, shelved according to the Dewey Decimal System (unlike the rest of our collection which is shelved in the Library of Congress system).
Books both by and about an author are shelved together.
A typical Dewey call number has three parts:
Authors are arranged according to the language in which the work was originally written.
For example, Günter Grass is Polish but wrote The Tin Drum in German.
You can find this English translation and the German original, Die Blechtrommel, at call numbers that start with 83 — authors writing in German.
|81||American and Canadian authors writing in English|
|82||British authors writing in English|
|83||authors writing in German|
|839.5–.82||authors writing in Scandinavian languages|
||authors writing in Norwegian|
||authors writing in French|
||authors writing in Italian|
||authors writing in Spanish|
||authors writing in Latin|
||authors writing in Greek
|891.1–55||authors writing in Indo-Iranian (Aryan) languages
||authors writing in Irish Gaelic and Welsh
|891.7–92||authors writing in Russian and Eastern European languages
||authors writing in Hebrew
||authors writing in Arabic
|895||authors writing in Asian languages|
||authors writing in African languages
||authors writing in American aboriginal languages
||authors writing in South American aboriginal languages
||authors writing in other languages
It includes the first letter of the author's last name and then an author-specific number code.
For example, D555 is used for Charles Dickens.
For the first letter:
For B, C, and S, the next letter that follows is the first letter of the last name of the author or editor of the biography, criticism, or sources. The numbers that follow specify the book further.
For W and X, the letters that follow relate to the title.
|82 D555 BC292||A biography of Charles Dickens (author's name starts with C).
|82 D555 CP835||A book of criticism of Dickens' works (author's name starts with P).
|82 D555 SD487||A work of sources of Dickens' works (editor's name starts with D).|
|82 D555 WCo||A collection of more than one work by Dickens (Collected Works).
|82 D555 XTa||A single work by Charles Dickens (A Tale of Two Cities).|