Finding a topic:
Find something that interests you – even just a name, like Louisa Nell Gray.
- Articles and Books tab at library.rochester.edu: will give you a sense of how much is available on your topic. Try a few different terms in your search, and when you have results, you can narrow by discipline or by peer-reviewed journals, etc.
- Databases by Subject: If you have a sense of what field or discipline your topic is in, click on the Databases tab and click “Browse by Subject” – librarians have picked “best bet” databases for each subject.
- Find a book or journal article that we don’t own? You can request it through our Interlibrary Loan Program – there’s no charge, and we’ll get you an electronic or print copy of the material you need.
Louisa Nell Gray:
- Articles and Books – one hit, African American Theater Directory http://site.ebrary.com/lib/rochester/reader.action?docID=5007350 We learn that she’s part of the Histrionic Club of Boston. That’s run by William Cooper Nell. Let’s see if we can find out more about that.
- In Databases, try America History and Life – nothing on Histrionic Club. Quite a bit on William Cooper Nell.
- Now try the database: Black Literature Index for “Histrionic Club” and we get a book review: Wagner, Bryan : Book Reviews: "Slavery and Sentiment on the American Stage, 1787-1861: Lifting the Veil of Black" by Heather S. Nations. Reference from: African American Review, 44:1-2 (Spring-Summer 2011), p.321-322. We’ve found the title of this book, but the library doesn’t own it – let’s look it up in Google Books or Amazon, to see if we can search it. In Amazon, yes. Does it have something we’re interested in? The index says there’s a bit on the Histrionic club. So, let’s request it through Interlibrary Loan
- Make a note of the things that interest you – is the existence of African-American literary societies interesting? We can follow that path. Is William Cooper Nell the person that you’d like to follow? How about African-American women and their role in literary society? There’s lots of possible paths!
- What about scholar.google.com and Google? They aren’t bad resources, but they are likely more useful when you have a better sense in what you’re looking for.