, , , ,

Library Databases are collections of articles where the library buys the rights for you to access, read, link to, and print the articles. Although EBSCOhost is the best known provider of databases in Iowa, there are many others. Today we highlight another library database Kirkwood provides. All of our databases can be accessed both directly on any Kirkwood computer or by logging in with your k number and password from anywhere off campus.


Literature Resource Center – What it Is, Why to use it

The Literature Resource Center (also known as Gale Literature Resource Center and as GLRC) provides access to Gale Literature products. Gale Publishing has long been known for its serialized literature reference books. In each series a few volumes came out a year extending the breadth of the series. These series are such familiar titles as Contemporary Authors, Short Story Criticism, and Something About the Author.

The Literature Resource Center provides online full text access to a majority of Gale content. This includes both essays that are specially written for Gale and articles that they’ve licensed to include. This database is a must for anyone doing research about an author or literary analysis of either an individual title or the body of work of an author.

In addition, it has nice biographical summaries of both authors and people who you might not first identify as an author but have been published. For example there is a nice, short biography on President John F. Kennedy. So if you’re looking for a basic summary of someone’s life it’s a good idea to run a search in GLRC.

Search Gale Literature Reference Center by clicking here.

You can also find the link directly by clicking on the All Kirkwood Databases link on the Kirkwood Library Services home page and scroll to L for Literature Resource Center. If you are accessing it from off campus you will have to log in with your K number and password at this point.

How to Use It

Put the name or title you are looking for in the search window and hit search. A results page will turn up with tabs for:

  • Literature Criticism
  • Biographies
  • Topic and Work Overviews
  • Reviews and News
  • Primary Sources and Literary Works
  • Multimedia

Be aware that results from the initial search will often include many false hits (returns that may only tangentially have to do with your subject). For example a search for Laura Ingalls Wilder will also bring up every hit of an author identified as a Laura Ingalls Wilder Award winner. You may also disagree under which tab each item was placed because it’s fairly subjective, so check all the tabs.

I’d encourage you to narrow down the results either by clicking on the subject headings listed in the left hand column (they are hyperlinks with a number of references found after them) or  by leaving the box before “search within results” checked and putting in a further search term.

Tech Tips

All articles indexed in Literature Research Center are available as clickable full text, but not all Gale material is – see note in research tips below.

Articles are available in html and so each is able to be read aloud by a computer generated voice, highlighting each word as it is read. If you want to listen on the go you can download the articles as standard MP3s which you can play anywhere.

Research tips

One thing to watch for with GLRC is that it doesn’t have full or even partial runs of magazines. Instead of full issues they have selected articles which can confuse you if you’re looking for a particular article or issue. From the information they give it may suggest they have an article you’re looking for when they really don’t.

Another thing to watch for is that entire Gale series like the children’s literature focused Something About the Author aren’t included and some sections of the series that are included aren’t available. Sometimes the content of abridged versions series are referenced without explaining which longer work they were taken from. While if you are looking for a major author you ought to be able to find enough directly, if you’re having trouble finding more obscure material, check out their online index to their paper books which can cover more, many but not all of the paper books, are available at the Cedar Rapids location of the Kirkwood library.

Search the paper book index here. The link is also available on the All Kirkwood Database page under L, for Literary Index by Gale.

Printing and Permalinks

To print, open the full text of the article and then click on the printer icon in the box on the right. This is print preview and will open a printer friendly version in a separate window. Click anywhere on this box and then click on Control-P for it to print.

To get the permalink, open the full text of the article and scroll to the bottom under “Source Citation” This is the permalink to that article including Kirkwood’s proxy server information.

Also in the box is an icon with the word e-mail. This allows you to e-mail a full text article to yourself with the text in the body of the e-mail.

The floppy disc icon in the box by the word download will download the article into the download file of your computer in the print friendly format. A separate window will pop-up and ask you click on a button marked download and then it will download.

The sound icon in the box by the words Download MP3 will download the audio file of the computer generated voice. You have to click to agree to use it only non-commercially before it will download.

Despite its presence in the box, the highlighting feature is grayed out and is unavailable.

A final feature is the translate button which lets you pick what language to translate that file into. Please note that this a machine translation and so may not be a true translation of meaning as it would be with a human translator.

More Information

An automatic citation is available, but GLRC honestly notes on the same page:
“While the data elements for the following citations have been formatted to meet the latest citation standards set forth by the respective agencies, these citations provide the available publication data for the document cited and should only serve as a guide and not as a replacement for the latest guidebooks — or those required by your instructor. Please refer to the provided examples for proper formatting.”

In other words, their citations may or may not be right. If you have an instructor who carefully corrects citations, don’t trust your grade to the automatic citation in any database since they all draw from similar automatic programs.

Sarah Uthoff is a reference library at Kirkwood Community College. LIKE the Kirkwood Community College Library on Facebook and find links to Sarah all over the web at her About Me Profile.