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Better Than Google

Does this picture bring back memories? Former students may remember our rows and rows of infamous “brown books”, weary looking tomes that contained Nineteenth Century Literary Criticism (NCLC), Twentieth Century Literary Criticism (TCLC), and Contemporary Literary Criticism (CLC).  Students didn’t particularly like using these series, because, in most cases, they reprinted partial essays and critiques.  Some of the more demanding Clarkstown teachers insisted that the students have access to the entire essay.  Pre-internet days, this was very difficult for our small public library to find. The books also looked unappealing, and even I preferred other sources, although the content was excellent.  Another problem is that students, who were without a dime for the photocopier, or who were malicious, would remove the much wanted pages, leaving the rest of the students bereft.  Missing pages are no longer a problem with on-line sources, and we happily got to say goodbye to those cumbersome and space consuming books when we switched to the e-book version.

The database encompasses the aforementioned CLC, NCLC and TCLC, as well as Shakespearean Criticism, Poetry Criticism, Drama Criticism and Short Story Criticism.  Although the content was good, the search interface was not.  The vendor of this database realized the shortcomings, and created an attractive and modern interface.  Workflow tools such as term frequency and term clusters will help students in developing their topics. If that proves to be too much work, one can use the search box to type in an author or title. The Gale Literary Index is where you search to see where your particular author or work is covered by which resource.  It would have been helpful if you could click from the index to the source, but that is not possible.  Perhaps it will be in the future. 

Those of you who have used the other Gale literature resources and have ignored Gale Literature Criticism Online may want to have another look.  It is a trusted source with impeccable credentials, and there is no doubt that it is much better than Google.

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