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Michigan State University

Literature and Criticism: MSU Libraries

Finding Books in the MSU Libraries

How do I search for books on my topic?

To search for books in the MSU Libraries on a topic, you will need to use the Online Catalog (MAGIC). The Online Catalog is a searchable listing of materials owned and located in the MSU Libraries, including: books, journals, government documents, microforms, videos/DVDs/CDs, etc.

When should I use the Online Catalog (MAGIC)?

  • To find whether we own a specific book, including its location and call number
  • To browse for books on a topic
  • To find whether we subscribe to a specific magazine, journal, or newspaper

To search for books placed on Reserve for your class, search by course or instructor.

NOTE: You cannot use the Online Catalog to find individual articles within a magazine--you must use a periodical index for that.

How do I search for articles on my research topic?

To search for articles on a particular topic, you must search a periodical index. A periodical index allows you to search the contents of magazines, journals, and newspapers. For more details and step-by-step instructions, see Finding Periodical Articles in the MSU Libraries.

Need help choosing keywords and searching indexes? Try: Database/Index FAQs and Searching Tips

  • LION (Literature Online)

    Contemporary criticism is available through the MLA International Bibliography (MLAIB) and the full text of 120 current literature journals that can be accessed through the literary index, Annual Bibliography of English Language and Literature (ABELL), which contains over 880,000 records of literary criticism from 1920 to current. LION (Literature Online) contains a full library of up-to-date, fully searchable criticism and reference sources in addition to the full text of poetry, drama, and prose fiction from the seventh century to the present day.

  • Gale Literature Resource Center

    Excellent source for full-text literary criticism from the history of literature, though in no way as complete an index as MLAIB. Especially good for biographical material, author bibliographies, and contains some full-text of contemporary criticism.

  • America History and Life

    America History and Life provides access to the citations of contemporary articles (and in some cases, the full text of articles), book reviews, and dissertations in American and Canadian history.

  • Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center

    Contains articles with pro/con viewpoints on a variety of contemporary social issues including gun control, genetic engineering, censorship, abortion, and terrorism. Also includes references to related books and articles on topics of current interest. I include this resource because of the debate format for certain assignments in this class.

Finding Assistance in the MSU Libraries

If we can provide any further assistance to you in your research, please do not hesitate to contact us:

  • Call MSU: (517) 355-1855
  • Visit:
  • MSU is an affirmative-action, equal-opportunity employer.
Michigan State University