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The primary database for conducting research on literature and related areas is the MLA International Bibliography (MLAIB). It indexes books, articles, and websites on literary theory and criticism, dramatic arts (film, radio, television, theater), folklore, and the history of printing and publishing. Book reviews are not included. 

OU subscribes to the MLAIB through EBSCO, so the interface may look familiar to you. However, the database has certain unique features.

  • Search indexes such as genre, literary technique, literature topic, primary subject author, and primary subject work.
  • Build your search using the database's Thesaurus.
  • Use the Names as Subjects feature when you're not sure how to spell a name or whether to use a pseudonym.

The Modern Language Association has created several tutorials to help you use the bibliography.


The Annual Bibliography of English Language and Literature (ABELL) indexes literary scholarship published from 1920 to the present, with some records going back to 1892. The database lists monographs, periodical articles, critical editions of literary works, book reviews, collections of essays, and doctoral dissertations published around the world. Although there is overlap with the MLAIB, there are also some unique citations.

NOTE: There are no links to either full text from ABELL. In many cases, we do have the article available either online or in print, but you must search the journal or book title in the library's catalog.

Other Databases

Where is the Full Text?

For a step-by-step explanation of how to get an article you've found in a database, see this guide.