Poetry is Slammin’

April is National Poetry Month! Poetry can be a great way to express yourself, and some of the world’s greatest literary works take the form of poems. Celebrate this month of poets, rhythm, meter, metrical patterns, stanzas, alliteration, diction and form by learning about one of the library’s many poetry resources.

National Poetry Month was established in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets.

Online Resources

  • MLA International Bibliography
    This database is your first stop for literary criticism and analysis of novels, short stories, poems, etc.
  • Literature Resource Center
    This database is a bio-bibliographical guide to writers in fiction, general nonfiction, poetry, journalism, drama, motion pictures, television, and other fields. It’s searchable by name, title of work, subject/genre, nationality, date and place of birth, honors, awards and more.
  • Contemporary American Ethnic Poets: Lives, Works, Sources
    This one-stop guide to 75 contemporary American poets from 12 different ethnicities includes biographical sketches, thematic discussions, and more.
  • Greenwood Companion to Shakespeare Vol. 4: The Romances & Poetry
    This nifty tool has prose interpretations of Shakespeare’s sonnets!
  • Greenwood Encyclopedia of American Poets & Poetry
    Separated into 5 volumes, this handy encyclopedia lists both author and poem topics alphabetically, making it easy to locate info on a specific writer, or find sweet poetry about everything from the Black Arts Movement to Visual Poetry.
  • Thematic Guide to British Poetry
    This guide offers interpretations of 415 poems, representing the work of over 110 poets spanning seven centuries of British poetry.
  • Poetry Tool
    Online archive of full text poetry with a robust search engine. It also includes numerous articles, podcasts, and audio on poets and poetry, brought to you by the Poetry Foundation.

Books & More
You can also search the library catalog by poem title, author or genre for books of poetry and books about poetry and poets. If you’re looking for some recommendations, check out our Poetry! Pinterest Board. And if you’re really feeling inspired, sign up to receive a Poem-A-Day via email, courtesy of Poets.org.

Still not finding that perfect poetry source? Ask a Librarian for help, and poetic justice shall surely be yours!

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Presidential Picks

Presidents carved in stone.

Mount Rushmore photo courtesy of fotopedia

Because we’re all about celebrating holidays here in the UGL, we’d like to draw your attention to Presidents’ Day! Celebrated this year on Monday, Feb. 18, the holiday was originally established to honor George Washington’s birthday, but it’s since morphed into a standard federal holiday celebrated on the third Monday of February. Either way, we think it’s a great excuse to showcase some of our resources for researching the U.S. presidency.

Finding Background Info

  • The American Presidents
    Provides an overview and additional reading for each administration from George Washington through Bill Clinton
  • Encyclopedia of American Parties, Campaigns and Elections
    This online encyclopedia has entries on contemporary American politics, including explanations of many of the most commonly used political terms and jargon
  • The Presidency A to Z
    Contains more than 300 entries related to the U.S. Presidency
  • American National Biography
    Contains 17,435 biographical articles on deceased Americans and includes men and women that were significant in politics, scholarship, science, sports, business, theater, film, and activism

Subject Guides

  •  History of the U.S. Presidency
    This subject research guide contains information on find background info, stats, journal articles and more for any research related to the U.S. President and the Executive Branch
  • Presidential Campaigns and Elections
    This subject research guide has loads of information for researching presidential campaigns, campaign history, election reform and more

Doing research on the presidents not your thing? Don’t worry—Hollywood is more than adept at glamming up the Executive Office for film and TV. Why don’t you kick back and celebrate the holiday with one of the famous leading men (and one woman!) who played Commander-in-Chief instead? Just a partial list to get you going…

All the President's Men DVD cover: Dustin Hoffman is shorter than Robert Redford, but they are both serious.All The President’s Men
What’s better than a couple of enterprising reporters breaking open one of the biggest scandals in Presidential history? Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman playing said reporters, of course.

Battlestar Galactica
In this sci-fi space odyssey, the last remaining members of humanity must protect themselves from the evil Cylons—all under the fearless leadership of Madame President Laura Roslin (Mary McDonnell).

Deep Impact
While the other meteor-will-destroy-Earth movie from 1998 was much more entertaining (Armageddon, for those of you keeping score at home), Morgan Freeman’s portrayal of President Beck in Deep Impact was harder-hitting. (Pun intended.)

Frank Langella does his best “I am not a crook!” impersonation of President Nixon in this Oscar-nominated version of the famous post-Watergate interview between Nixon and British TV host David Frost.

Independence Day
Bill Pullman kicks some serious butt as President of the U.S.A. (and, really, all of the remaining world) after aliens decide to destroy Earth. Between President Thomas J. Whitmore and Will Smith, we’re pretty sure we can take whatever E.T. can dish out.

Who killed JFK? In Oliver Stone’s classic conspiracy theory flick, District Attorney Jim Garrison (Kevin Costner) tries to find out.

The West Wing
Martin Sheen plays President Jed Bartlett in Aaron Sorkin’s fast-paced, sharp-tongued take on the American White House in the late ’90s/early ’00s.

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Summer Research Cheat Sheet

Picture of Illini pool

Rays and research, the perfect combination! (Photo courtesy of ARC website)

So, Summer I classes are almost half way over. Uh, whoa! That was super-fast! Condensed coursework is great because you get to rack up some credits a whole lot quicker. But they can also be a bummer because they tend to be much more intensive with tighter deadlines than a normal semester class. But if you’re taking a class right now, we don’t need to tell you that, huh?

If the half-way point of your Summer I class means it’s time to get your research on, never fear! The UGL has some quick-n-easy resources that will help you maximize your research capabilities (and theoretically maximize your grade), all while minimizing the time you actually need to spend in the library. In fact, the time you need to physically be inside the library could add up to a whopping zero hours. Is your mind blown? Well, it should be. Here are some trade secrets for helping you through a research paper – from conceptualizing an idea to polishing the works cited page – that are all one or two clicks away on the UGL homepage.

Meet your new best friend, the “Find” Button

screenshot of UGL homepage with easy search bar highlighted

Located in the upper left corner of the UGL homepage, hovering over the “Find” button gives you the keys to a whole bundle of helpful stuff, such as:

  • Need facts and contextual info on a topic? Click on “Background Info” to search our online encyclopedias, dictionaries, almanacs, etc. You can search by subject area, resource type, or just a plain old-fashioned keyword search—user’s choice!
  • Need to narrow down a broad topic? Click on “Subject Guides” and be privy to a whole list of custom-made research guides. These guides break down common topics such as climate change, the Iraq War, teen pregnancy or media bias with a topic overview, background info, tips on finding relevant articles and books, and helpful websites.
  • Need a couple peer-reviewed articles? Click on “Articles” and you’ll automatically land on our handy “Find Articles Guide” page. Divided by multi-topic or subject-specific, this page provides links into the most commonly used databases, where you can search for articles on everything from the effects of UV rays on college students’ appetites to the sociological impacts of taking a summer road trip with a handful of your closest buds. (Extra pro tip: try looking for the department your class is in if you’re stuck—for example, if you’re taking a psych class, PscyINFO could be a good place to start.)

A Cite For Sore Eyes

Style guides are linked to on UGL page under heading 'Learn'

Citations, I love you, but you’re bringing me down. Ever feel this way while working on the reference list for your paper? Well, there’s an app for that. Err, um, a link, anyway. Near the center of the UGL homepage, under the orange “Learn” heading is a link to the APA, MLA Guides. One click here takes you to a list of resources for perfecting your citations—both in the text and in the works cited list. Oh, your instructor is requesting Chicago Style? That’s covered, too!

Ask Us! (Online)

Ask a Librarian chat box located on main library page, UGL page, and many other places.

There’s a live help chat box embedded in the UGL homepage, and it’s staffed M-F from 9am-5:30pm and Saturday & Sunday from 1pm-4:30pm. Just one more way you can get a little extra push from a librarian without leaving the air conditioned comfort of your bedroom (or the sweltering pool deck at the ARC, if your wireless so allows).

One last tip…

Our online library resources are available to you wherever you are—you just need an internet connection and your Net ID/password to access from off campus. Your crazy-busy Summer I sched might be cramping your grill out/lay out/work out seshes, but time spent in the library (while we’d be happy to have you!) doesn’t have to get in the way of your fabulous summer.

Questions about anything you read here? Ask-A-Librarian!

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Cite These Sources

Image of reference books on shelf

Did you know that even librarians like us at the UGL are fans of Wikipedia? Yep, we are. Because librarians are people, too.

But while Wikipedia is a great place to start looking for information on things you’re interested in and might want to research for a class (not to mention an excellent source for finding the information you need to win bets with your friends), you typically can’t cite Wikipedia for your academic research.  Your professors just aren’t gonna accept it (unless you’re doing research on Wikipedia itself, in which case you might cite it as a primary source).

Sometimes you really need credible background information to inform a paper, presentation or project. You need…encyclopedias! In case you haven’t used one since elementary school days, encyclopedias are the (usually big) books, from which the name Wikipedia is derived, that typically offer objective overviews on a range of topics. They range from the general, like Wikipedia or World Book Encyclopedia, to the specific, like the Encyclopedia of Islam in the United States. Like Wikipedia, encyclopedias are really great starting points to find background information, but unlike Wikipedia, credible, published encyclopedias can be cited in papers, as the entries have been compiled and reviewed by experts in the field.

The UGL has lots of print encyclopedias both in the reference collection on the upper level and all over the shelves on the lower level, organized by their subject area. Just to challenge your notion of what an encyclopedia is (big, dusty, can only be used at the library), we also have TONS of online encyclopedias, most of which are electronic versions of their print equivalents. You can access these anywhere, anytime, through the UGL’s homepage (Find → Background Information). And they never get dusty.

Here’s a list of some of our faves!

West’s Encyclopedia of American Law – You’re probably not a lawyer, but you might take classes that deal with some aspect of law: education, political science, communication, technology, medicine…all of these are affected by the law! This encyclopedia doesn’t just offer definitions of legal terms, but gives you great overviews of policies, issues and government departments and processes. (Related: Gale Encyclopedia of Everyday Law)

Encyclopedia of Food and Culture – This title is a little more specialized, but is useful for research in history, sociology, food and nutrition, and other cultural research. Bonus: it includes recipes!

 Encyclopedia of Espionage, Intelligence, and Security – It’s not going to bring you the same kind of thrills you get from watching The Bourne Identity.  But if you’re Interested in learning more about the science, technology, and organizational structure behind today’s intelligence and security organizations, this is a great place to start.  It’s also an excellent place to learn more about the concept of homeland security and the complexities involved in the reorganization of United States security agencies.

St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture – Learn more about pretty much anything you can think of related to pop culture.  Entries range from the very broad (like “advertising”) to the much more specific (“Threes’s Company“!  “Velveeta Cheese”!).  Easy to read entries are great for research or just for kicks.

You can find more of our online encyclopedias here.  Now go get researching!





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