Web sites can be sources of great information...but how do you determine what is okay to use in academic papers?
Here are 4 considerations as you assess web sites for use in your assignments.
Author: Who wrote the section, and what are their credentials? What larger organization are they affiliated with? If I google them, what do I find? What is the parent web site?
Bias: Can you identify an angle/slant/bias in the article or on the larger web site? What is the purpose of the study or content—to prove something to a particular group? Can you corroborate the claims with at least 2 other sources?
Content: Is the source accurate? Are there basic mistakes in grammar, dead links, or spelling? When was it posted or last updated or published? Does it contain claims that contradict things you know to be true or even other claims within the article itself?
Support: Does the content have citations or sources? Can you verify the sources? Can you contact the author or organization?
UPenn's Furness Shakespeare Library (digitized texts through Schoenberg Center for Electronic Text and Image--sceti). An excellent collection of digitized texts and works by famous authors from the Renaissance. Browse by author or subject.
Provides a wide range of glossed Middle English texts and translations of analogues relevant to Chaucer's works, as well as selections from relevant works by earlier and later writers, critical articles from a variety of perspectives, graphics, and general information on life in the Middle Ages.
Provides authoritative texts, documents, and historical research in the forms of letters, writings, images, and biographies by and about the American author Mark Twain. "Its ultimate purpose is to produce a digital critical edition, fully annotated, of everything Mark Twain wrote."
Includes resources on women authors from the Romantic era in terms of their electronic texts, contemporary responses to them, archive of electronic texts, and cultural and visual resources, along with suggested relevant web sites.
Self-proclaimed as "the Web's first edition of the Complete Works of William Shakespeare. This site has offered Shakespeare's plays and poetry to the Internet community since 1993." Plays are presented in HTML format.
The beginning source for all things Gothic, both historically and more recently. This site, though not peer-reviewed or specifically academic, provides a vast amount of information on authors, titles, web resources, and how to begin research on Gothic literature.
A collection of some of the most important literary works of Classical and Medieval civilization. Search by author, title, genre, or language. Documents are available in HTML format, no pdf's, but still an amazing collection of full texts.
Includes a wide range of literary works of the American South published before 1924. Originally based on Dr. Robert Bain's bibliography of the hundred most important southern literary works and continues to expand under the guidance of scholarly advisers. Browse the collection alphabetically, by subject, or the original bibliography by Dr. Bain. Various collections are listed on the left hand menu.
Includes Medieval, Renaissance, 17th Century, and Restoration literatures, all well organized and cross-referenced through links. Individual authors have biographical information, chronologies and bibliographies of their works, essays and articles about them, as well as additional sources deemed appropriate by site editors. Excellent resource.
Originally published as a book, this site offers the same material organized into sections. Ten chapters represent the major literary and historical perspectives, cycles, or movements in American literature; each chapter has an Introduction, a Selected Bibliography, and a list of representative authors. The twenty-two appendices cover a range of helpful and specialized topics in genre studies, writing assignments, research topics, and perspectives related to American studies.
The Association for the Study of Literature and Environment website deals with literature that considers the relationship between human beings and the natural world. It covers the genres of literary nonfiction, nature poetry, and environmental fiction, including ecofeminism. It includes full-text Electronic Archives, with five topical divisions: ecocriticism, bibliography, a library of environmental writing, related syllabi, and assorted documents, news bulletins, and essays.
An amazing collection of Middle English texts, this site offers free full text for personal use. The only method of searching the texts is alphabetically by first title word. Despite the somewhat limited method of searching, this is an excellent free source for Middle English texts and footnotes.
Provides a plethora of information relating to Greek mythology from charts, maps, and biographies of figures, to images and topics for searching. Also available are dictionaries for quick information on a particular place, figure, etc. The Groups section describes particular common traits among characters in mythology, such as the Amazons or Argonauts.
An extremely large collection of pointers to material on English literature. Organized by period and by author. Maintained by Mitsuharu Matsuoka at Nagoya University, Japan. No search engine but includes an alphabetical index.
Browsable by resource type, time period, heading or peruse a list of general resources for the study of English. Compiled by subject specialists in the UK, the intended audience is "lecturers, researchers and students within UK higher and further education," yet American students can find extremely useful free web resources here, as well.
Provides full-text searching for primary sources (over 10,000 digital books and 2,000 journals) in American history, highlighting these subjects: education, psychology, American history, sociology, religion, and science and technology.