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English: Literature, Rhetoric, and Composition: Books

What About Print?

Summer 2022-Spring 2023

Due to an ongoing renovation project, the print collection has been removed from the library building. However, if you are on the Boston campus, you can request print material from our off-site storage space using your Northeastern ID and password. Please allow up to 2 days for delivery. See the Requesting Materials from the Remote Annex page for more information.

Most of our collection is available online through Scholar OneSearch. If you need something that we do not own as an e-book, you are welcome to Recommend a Purchase. Please keep in mind that not all publishers sell e-books to libraries, and requests may be denied due to unavailability of a library e-book license.

Reading Critically


Scholar OneSearch

You can use Scholar OneSearch to search for e-books within the library catalog. Use the drop-down menu next to the search box to limit your search to the library catalog. Once you've run your first search, check the "E-books" box on the left side of the page to limit to books available online.

Books Beyond NU - Deep Research in WorldCat and Google Books

  • WorldCat - identify titles at other libraries and request via InterLibrary Loan. Uses the same principles and subject headings as Scholar OneSearch, so if you find a good phrase, re-use it here.
  • Google Books - unlike Scholar OneSearch and WorldCat, search the full-text of digitized books; includes both older, public-domain and current, copyrighted titles. Most books under copyright only provide a short snippet, but the full title may be available at NU (check Scholar OneSearch to see) or via ILL.

Advanced Book Catalog Searching

1 - You are not searching the full text of the book.
Each book you see in the catalog includes author, title, and a subject phrase. Those subject phrases are very specific words that a human has tagged each book with, and are meant to summarize the content of the book for you. Some books will include a table of contents or abstract, but not all.

2 - Use those subject phrases.
This is how do you make sure the books you find are about, rather then by, your author. Better yet, this can help you make sure the books you find contain substantial analysis of the author or work in question.

3 - As an example, let's say you're interested in this book.
First, type the title into the catalog, The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. Note that the author's name is reversed to Atwood, Margaret.

4 - Next, try putting Atwood, Margaret into the subject field.
That guarantees those books are about her, but not necessarily by her. If we had a book both by and about Margaret Atwood, that usually would be her personal views, or interviews, or perhaps correspondence.

5 - Find the master subject phrase Atwood, Margaret 1939 -- Criticism And Interpretation.
Any books with that additional subject phrase Criticism and Interpretation will contain a substantial amount of analysis. Also notice that, from the Margaret Atwood subject list above, many subjects include additional helper terms like criticism or technique. Recycle those terms back into your search to narrow it down. This can be particularly helpful with canonical and frequently-studied authors like Walt Whitman or Jane Austen.