Literature and Research Made Easy

Posted on May 16, 2016

By Holly Hibner

Have you ever read a book and immediately thought, “I must know more about this author!”? After reading a particularly satisfying book, one which you instantly need to share with everyone you meet, look no further than Gale’s Literature Resource Center. There you can learn more about the author and their works, and hopefully even repeat that feeling of awe and admiration for their genius!

For me, that author is Lisa Genova. She is one of my all-time favorite authors. Over at Literature Resource Center, I plugged her name into the search box and found out, via an article in Contemporary Authors Online, that she is a neuroscientist who received her doctorate at Harvard University. I also read reviews of a few of Genova’s novels via BookPage, Contemporary Authors Online, and The New York Times Book Review.

I think my mom and sisters would enjoy Genova’s books, but as a librarian I’m always suggesting authors. I need them to understand that this one is special! They should actually read this author’s books!  Here’s an idea – I’ll share some articles and book reviews with them. They don’t have to take it from me; they can take it directly from BookPage and the New York Times Book Review. Inside Literature Resource Center there is a share button. I can also email these articles to my family, but I think I’ll casually share them on Facebook instead so that everyone in my circle will hear about this wonderful author! Click, log-in, and post. Easy peasy.

Of course, there are also times when you have a more serious interest in literature. Book bloggers, professional reviewers, and students will find Literature Resource Center invaluable. It integrates with Google Drive so you can easily download a copy of any article to your Google Drive account for further review and organization of sources.

Teachers, take note! Now Literature Resource Center integrates with Google Classroom, too! You can quickly and easily push content out to your students directly from the database. What a great way to assign reading, and also provide resources for discussion and research on literature topics. You can even highlight passages within articles that you want students to pay particular attention to. Just click and drag your mouse pointer over any text, choose “highlight” from the pop-up menu that appears, and choose a highlight color. Here you can also choose to add a note that further explains a passage or ask your students a question about the text. When you download the article to Google Drive or push it out to your Google Classroom, it will include all the highlights and notes you added to the article. Students can even add comments of their own within the Google Drive document. A whole conversation is started! This is interactive, paper-free learning at its finest.

Do you collaborate on projects for work or school with others? The highlights and notes feature mentioned above is for you. At the top of the page in the Literature Resource Center database, there is a “More” button with a link to “Highlights and Notes.” Clicking through provides you with a list of all highlights and notes you have made in any article. You can add more notes and edit your notes here too. There are links back to the original articles, and you can download this “highlights and notes” document to Google Drive as well. This is a great way to collaborate on a group project.

Sharing isn’t limited just to articles. You can share whole topic pages! Teachers can push a lot of content at once, giving their students broader exposure to a subject. If the class is studying Maya Angelou, for example, a teacher can share the whole Literature Resource Center topic page, filled with articles, search limits, and related terms.

Remember the days when students crammed large reference books into photocopy machines, breaking bindings and getting mediocre copies? No more! Just get them signed into their Google account and save articles directly. They can print a flawless copy if needed, or stick to paperless methods and just access the database or their saved copy in their Google Drive. As in all Gale databases, they have the options to translate, download, listen to, and cite all of the sources they find.

Public librarians will find this database and its new Google integration extremely helpful. Literary criticism is a common topic we provide help with at reference desks. Even small libraries with limited shelf space can offer resources like Contemporary Authors (which is a multi-volume set, and therefore a shelving commitment) through this database. Back issues of the New York Times Book Review and Book Page are not a problem when the holdings come from the Literature Resource Center. Libraries of all types and sizes can make these big, broad, and deep reference collections available to their users.

Interested in learning more about Literature Resource Center? Access a trial today! 

[alert-info]Holly Hibner Mary Kelly

About the Authors

Holly is the Adult Services Coordinator at the Plymouth District Library in Plymouth, MI. She has a mild obsession with collection quality (ok, maybe not so mild) and can be found at the Readers’ Advisory desk dreaming up read-alikes.

Mary is the Youth Services Librarian at the Lyon Township Public Library in South Lyon, MI. She, too, is obsessed with collection quality, and has taken it up a notch with never ending shelf lists, spreadsheets, and inventory. Mary has a special knack for linking books to readers of all ages.

Together Mary and Holly are the authors of “Making a Collection Count: a holistic approach to library collection management.” They also tweet at @awfullibbooks and blog at


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