COM LIT R1B: Imitatio

Contact your librarian

  • Cody Hennesy
  • Photo of Cody

  • Office Hours: By appointment
  • Office Location: 212 Doe
  • Contact Info:


About this Guide

A guide to library resources for J Hock's Comparative Lit R1B course.

This guide has been archived

This course guide was created during a previous semester, and is no longer being actively maintained. Here is a list of current course guides.

Doe Reading Room


north reading room, doe library, uc berkeley berkeley, ca

january 2012

Starting off

Which of the following is the best place to start your research?

  • Oskicat
  • Google

UCB Libraries

The library website is your gateway to research at UC Berkeley.

UC Berkeley Library campus map

Reference books

Encyclopedia of Renaissance literature
Author: Cook, James Wyatt, 1932-
Call #: Doe Reference Reference Hall PN721 .C66 2006
Read at Google Read at Google

Encyclopedia of literary epics
Author: Jackson-Laufer, Guida M. (Guida Myrl)
Call #: Doe Reference Reference Hall PN56.E65 J33 1996b NRLF (UCSC) PN56.E65 J33 1996
Read at Google Read at Google

Library catalog history

Keep in mind that when you are searching a library catalog:

  1. You are not searching the full-text of any books. 
  2. You can not find articles in the library catalog.

The library catalog was originally a card catalog such as those pictured below.The online catalog still doesn't contain much more information on a specific book than these index cards did in the past. For this reason you need to be persistent when searching the online catalog. Many important keywords might not appear in the catalog record for a particular book, so make sure you try different synonyms if you don't find any good results at first.


photo of card catalog

Photo of card catalog from OSU Archives on Flickr.

photo of card catalog index card

Photo of card catalog index card by dfulmer on Flickr.

Searching Library Catalogs

It's often best to start your research by looking for books in the library catalogs. At Berkeley we have two different library catalogs. Oskicat is almost always the best place to start.

oskicat logo

Use OskiCat to locate materials on the shelves of the UC Berkeley libraries and also to:

melvyl logo

Use Melvyl to locate materials at other campuses in the UC system, or worldwide, and also to

Oskicat Tips

  • Search for author's name using the author search, e.g., Ackroyd, Peter
  • Search for topics using a keyword search, e.g., counterfeit and author*
  • use an asterisk as a wildcard, author* finds authority, authorship, etc.
  • Limit results by language (Modify search)
  • You can browse topics using the Subject links. To find secondary literature on a particular author, look for "criticism and interpretation" subject links such as these:
  • Use My Oskicat to view your library account and renew books
  • Use the Request button to page books in NRLF and recall books that are checked out
  • Be persistent!

Getting Material from NRLF

A large part of the library's collection is stored off campus in an environmentally secure building called the Northern Regional Library Facility [NRLF].

Submit online requests via the REQUEST button in OskiCat to borrow material shelved at NRLF. To receive electronic or paper copies of book chapters or journal articles, submit an online request via the "Request an article from NRLF (photocopy or web delivery)" link that appears in eligible titles in OskiCat. Staff at public service desks of any campus library can assist you with further questions. 

nrlf request button in oskicat

Log in to Request with your Calnet ID and fill out the screens.  Choose the volume you want, for periodicals:

nrlf request item selection

Scholarly Article databases

The following databases are recommended for finding scholarly journal articles related to literature. There are hundreds of other article databases on different topics available on the library website, and you can browse them by different subjects

Where's the PDF?

Once you've used an article database to find articles on your topic, you may need to use this button:uc-eLinks button in order to locate and read the full text of the article. 

UC-eLinks will link you to the online full text of an article if UCB has paid for online access; otherwise, UC-eLinks will help you locate a print copy on the shelf in the library. If UCB doesn't own the article in print or online format, UC-eLinks can also help you order a copy from another library.

For more information, watch this video tutorial (about 4 min.)

You can also set up UC-eLinks to work with Google Scholar.  For more information, watch this video tutorial (about 2 min.)

Proxy server

To use library databases from off campus you have to set up the proxy server: this changes your browser settings.

Research process

What does it look like?

Be critical

The research process is part of the composition process. Don't be afraid to let your personal taste and inclinations guide the direction of your research. What are you interested in or passionate about? How can you find out more about those things? Many successful scholars research topics and documents which nobody had ever thought to explore, and tie them together with the strings of their own personal obsessions and thematic fixations. 

It's also important, however, to Critically Analyze Information Sources (Cornell). Doing scholarly research (this is a paper for school, after all) requires different skills than those you've developed from years of online searching. Google and other search engines reward certain approaches that create false expectations and poor research results when you try to transfer those skills to library databases. Here are a few tips:

Cite your sources

A few questions to finish

Fill out this quick survey to finish up the class. thanks!

Chat and email reference

Go to the research help page to have librarians answer your questions online:

Research Advisory Service

Research Advisory Service for Cal Undergraduates

Book a 30-minute appointment with a librarian who will help refine and focus research inquiries, identify useful online and print sources, and develop search strategies for humanities and social sciences topics (examples of research topics).

This service is for Cal undergraduates only. Graduate students and faculty should contact the library liaison to their department or program for specialized reference consultations.

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