Library Research in German Literature


1. Secondary literature search checklist

2. Primary literature search starting points

3. Finding biographical information

Secondary literature search checklist:


Scholarly monographs: Scholarly articles:

     Literary+ indexes

Use keywords when searching any of the following indexes:

     Scholarly full-text journals online: Please keep in mind that there are many important journals that are published exclusively in print, for example, Arbitrium, German Quarterly, German Studies Review (German Studies Association), Germanisch-Romanische Monatsschrift, Seminar: A Journal of Germanic Studies, Zeitschrift für deutsche Philologie, Zeitschrift für deutsches Altertum und deutsche Literature, Zeitschrift für Dialektologie und Linguistik, 1969-. and Germanistik: Internationales Referatenorgan mit bibliographischen Hinweisen.

Primary literature search starting points:

Published materials:

Microfilm: Archival/manuscript materials:

     General databases of archival sources:

     More specialized databases and online directories of archival sources:

Printed archival inventories and guides:

Contacting archives and other scholarly institutions:

It is often to your advantage to call or, even better, write before visiting an archive or library for the first time. Archives, particularly small ones, are notorious for withdrawing series from circulation and even closing their doors entirely with little advance warning. Better to know now what is available and when. Some useful sources of mailing addresses and other contact information:

Finding biographical information:

While we have biographical dictionaries for many countries, these dictionaries often include only the most notable people in a given country. For a broader cross-section of the population in a given country, try the Deutsches Biographisches Archiv (KG Saur "Biographical Archives") (microfiche compilations of entries from biographical dictionaries, organized by country and then by personal name). To use these:

A less comprehensive but still useful resource for German authors is Literature Resource Center. LRC contains a suite of literary and biographical databases. Contemporary Authors Online, contains biographical information on over 113,000 authors; Contemporary Literary Criticism Select provides profiles of authors from the print series beginning with volume 95, and complete profiles of 266 authors listed in the CLC series prior to volume 95; Dictionary of Literary Biography, contains over 10,000 scholarly essays on authors and their works.  Users will also find full-text critical material from Literature Criticism, over 4,000 explications, plot summaries, and overviews of literary works, links to web sites about authors and their works, and literary timelines. 

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