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American Literature



Sources of literary criticism can be found in the library databases, including:

Critical Essays

  • Written by literary scholars
  • Evaluates and critiques an aspect of a literary work
  • Offer an opinion on some aspect of the literary work or author
  • Refers to a small number of secondary sources
Articles from scholarly journals
  • Written by literary scholars to highlight their current thoughts and research on an author, author's work, or author's body of work
  • Evaluate and/or critique an aspect of a literary work
  • Offer an opinion on some aspect of the literary work or author
  • Refers to a larger amount of secondary sources than critical essays
In general, you should NOT USE:
  • Book reviews (purpose is to review quality of the book, not to critique or analyze an author's work
  • Magazine articles (purpose is to provide non-scholarly, non-academic information related or only somewhat related to the book)


Getting Started

The Burgess Library has a combination of resources to help you with your research, including print materials, eBooks, and online databases. 

Finding Articles

How and where do I find scholarly articles?  The best way to find appropriate articles for your assignments is by searching the library's online databases.  The databases include articles from scholarly journals, magazines, newspapers, and more. You can limit your search to full-text and/or scholarly journals within each database.

Select the ARTICLES tab on the homepage then click on the Databases A-Z link to be taken to the database guide.  You can then search multiple EBSCO or GALE databases by using the search boxes on the main tab.  You can also select a single database by clicking on the specific name of the database you want to search.  

Instructions for off-campus access are included within the Databases A-Z guide.

The library provides access to over 80 online research databases.  Using the databases provided by the library will help you find reliable information from trusted sources.  

The following are suggested databases for Criminal Justice.  Visit our Databases A-Z Guide for a full list of databases.

*Off campus access: to access the library's online databases, you'll be prompted to enter your SMC username and password.  This is the same username and password you use to access your SMC email or to log on to computers at SMC.  For the username, you only need to enter the first part of the email address (example:  smithjd15).

Interlibrary Loan

Need something that is not available in our library?  Try interlibrary Loan (ILL).



1. What are reserves?  Course Reserves are books, articles, and other items placed at the library by a faculty member for class use. They are located at the front desk

2. What kinds of items may be placed on reserve?

  • Books from the general collection
  • Videos from the general collection
  • Textbooks 
  • Faculty member’s personal copies of materials
  • Photocopies (i.e. book chapters, articles, practice tests)

3. What are the reserve circulation policies?

  • Reserve materials, including videos, must be used in the library.
  • Reserve materials can be checked out for up to 3 hours.
  • Students must have their student ID to borrow reserve materials.
  • Students may borrow only one reserve item at a time. 

4. Can reserve materials be copied or scanned?

Students may copy reserve materials (in accordance with *Copyright Law) at a cost of 10 cents per page. Scanning materials to a USB drive is free.

*Under Title 17 of the United States Code, it is illegal to reproduce, distribute, or publicly display any copyrighted work (or any substantial portion thereof) without the permission of the copyright owner. Exceptions can be made under fair use guidelines, but the patron, not the Library, is responsible for any violations. 


Off-Campus Access

1. To access individual Online Research Databases or e-Book Collections, you'll be prompted to enter your SMC username and password.  This is the same username and password you use to access your SMC email or to log on to computers at SMC.  For the username, you only need to enter the first part of the email address (example: smithjd19). 


2. For any electronic resources listed within the ONE SEARCH, you'll be prompted to enter your full SMC email address and password.  


3. Online (distance education) students may request Print books (owned by SMC) found in ONE SEARCH.  These books will be mailed to the student's address free of charge (return postage will be included). Please contact us for assistance.  


4. Online (distance education) students may also use PASCAL Delivers (learn more under Student Services).


If you need help with off-campus access, please contact us:

Phone:  864-587-4208




African American Women Writers of the 19th Century

A digital collection of some 52 published works by 19th-century black women writers.


Mark Twain in His Times

Goal is to allow readers, scholars, students and teachers to see what Mark Twain and His Times said about each other, in a way that can speak to us today. Contained here are dozens of texts and manuscripts, scores of contemporary reviews and articles, hundreds of images, and many different kinds of interactive exhibits. Produced by the University of Virginia Library. Includes some contemporary reviews.


Kate Chopin International Society

The Society encourages and supports scholarship and activities that illuminate Chopin's contribution to the American literary tradition.  They seek to preserve her literary significance for future generations.


Willa Cather Archive

The Willa Cather Archive is an ambitious endeavor to create a rich, useful, and widely-accessible site for the study of Willa Cather's life and writings. To that end, we are providing digital editions of Cather texts and scholarship free to the public as well as creating a large amount of unique, born-digital scholarly content.


Walt Whitman Archives

The Walt Whitman Archive, edited by Ed Folsom and Kenneth M. Price, is published by the Center for Digital Research in the Humanities at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Includes images of some of his manuscripts.


The Edgar Allen Poe Digital Archive

This site includes "the manuscripts of The Domain of Arnheim, The Spectacles, and some of Poe's most famous poems," as well as "correspondence, books belonging to Poe (includes the author's annotated copies of several works), and a large group of sheet music for songs based on Poe's poetry."


Knowing Poe: The Literature, Life and Times of Edgar Allan Poe 

Documents and pictures related to Poe's life.


Faulkner at Virginia: An Audio Archive 

Listen in on William Faulkner’s sessions with audiences at the University of Virginia in 1957 and 1958, during his two terms as UVA’s first Writer-in-Residence.


The Emily Dickinson Archive makes high-resolution images of Dickinson’s surviving manuscripts available in open access and provides readers with a website through which they can view images of manuscripts held in multiple libraries and archives.