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Gould Library staff continue our commitment to support the teaching and research needs of the Carleton community. Information on remote access to library resources and services will be updated regularly on the Remote Resources and Guidance for Library Users page and this FAQ. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you need additional assistance.


Remote Access

Many resources are available remotely!

    1) Our digital sources are available to you from off campus. Off campus access instructions are available here.

    2) You may submit Interlibrary Loan requests for articles and book sections (1-2 chapters, generally), including sections of books that we have here at our library. We cannot send physical items (full books, etc) to you off campus.

    3) You may always contact me for help determining whether sources are available remotely or to help you identify sources that are available that may fit your needs.

Reference Works

Finding Pure Theory


For resources from Carleton and St. Olaf

Advanced Search | Help

TIP: Straight literary theory is difficult to find unless you have the name of a theorist in mind (in which case, simply do and Author search to see what we have by that theorist). Try combinations of keyword and Subject searches for broad categories of thought, and try combining these (using the Advanced Search form) with the Subject "Literature."

Here are some possible combinations: "Literature" with "Philosophy" or "Literature" with "Psychology" or "Feminism and Literature."

Web of Knowledge for Finding Theoretical Perspectives

One of the trickiest things to do is find scholarly work that takes a particular theoretical approach. This is because articles, books, and book chapters are described according to the topics they tackle rather than the methods they use to tackle them. So what happens if you want to find a deconstructionist reading of Virginia Woolf? Well, there is no perfect way to do this, and it will always take a lot of digging and critical reading, but the Web of Science can give you a better starting place than most. Here's how:

  1. Click "cited reference search" and enter the name of a key theorist in your area (in this case, perhaps Michel Foucault) in the format they specify (in this case Foucault M*) and press "Search."

  2. From the next page, select all the options that appear to be for your theorist. Note that you can ONLY select up to 500 entries. You'll need to do multiple searches and OR them together... come see me and I'll show you how.

  3. At the top or bottom of that result list, click "finish search."
    Don't spend time looking at your results yet!

  4. Click "search" (up under the "Web of Science" title at the top of the page) and then select "Basic Search." Enter the name of the author or work you're interested in (in this case "King Lear"), and click search.
    Don't spend time looking at your results yet!

  5. Click "Search History" (up near "Search" and "Cited Reference Search"), check the boxes next to your two searches, select the "AND" radio button, and click "combine."

  6. You'll see a new search appearing at the top of your list of searches in the search history, with the number of results of this combined search on the left. Click on that number to see your results.

  7. NOW dig through your results to see if there are any there that deal with your author/work.

The idea is that if the article talks about your author or work, and if it cites a primary theorist in your area, then the chances are greater that the work will either tackle your topic through your theoretical lens or will point you toward another article that does. This is not a foolproof method, remember. Scholars will often cite theorists in order to refute them, or because they say something that's tangentially related, or even just in passing. Your chances are improved somewhat, though, over reading every article on your author or work that shows up in the MLA International Bibliography.