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Medieval & Renaissance Studies: Using a Bibliography

This guide consists of a listing of materials available either in The St. Scholastica Library or available through The St. Scholastica Library for students taking classes in our Medieval & Renaissance Studies Minor.

The Scribe

Man fighting monsters

"The Public Scribe in His Writing Room."  French woodcut - late 15th - early 16th century.

Image from Art Museum Image Gallery.

The Unknown vs. The Known

Using a bibliography you found from a specialty encyclopedia is a bit like having an informal chat with your favorite learned professor. She has told you what you need to know to get started, and as she ushers you out of her office she recommends that you should read a few things. She has just made your (and your librarian's) life easier, because it is always easier to find something that is known as opposed to something that is not known.

Which of these two questions is easier to answer - the unknown or the known?

"Do you have any books that discuss the difference between industrial food production and organic farming?"

Or,  "Do you have a copy  of Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma?

Here's how to locate the (known) works listed in your article's bibliography ...

Actually, this is pretty cool ...

This is a partial bibliography of the 8 page article "Printing and Publishing" from the Encyclopedia of the Renaissance (6 volumes. Scribners & The Renaissance Society of America, 1999.). First you have a list of a dozen+ related topics/articles before the bibliography. Within this partial bibliography, 8 of the 9 books printed in English are owned by Scholatica or a PALS member library, and through ILL we could have them for you to pick up in our library within a week.

A great way to start your research!

Example of a bibliography

Finding Books from a Bibliography

Use ScholastiCAT, our library's catalog, to determine if the CSS Library owns the book you are looking for. Use a "title begins with ..." search.

If the CSS library does not own the book, search MNPALS, which is consortium of college and public libraries that share resources. You can search all the member's catalogs with one search. If you find the book in MNPALS, click on the InterLibrary Loan link to request the book. We'll borrow it for you from another library and send you an email when it's ready to be picked up at the CSS Library (approx. 7 business days).

If you don't find your book in MNPALS, then go right to our ILL Page, fill out the book request form, and we'll find a library that does own it.

Finding Articles from a Bibliography

The CSS Library gives you access to approximately 50,000 full-text electronic & print journals. However, that is a small part of the world of publishing. But don't worry, just like with books, we have ways of finding things for you, for free.

First, head to our A to Z List. This is an alphabetical listing of our full-text journal collection. Search by the title of the journal or magazine you are looking for. If your search is successful, you will see the names of databases listed that cover your journal. Follow the link to one. You will then be presented with a chronological list of years, and issues/months within those years. Follow the trail till you locate your article.

If the journal was not listed in our A to Z List, then head to our ILL Page and fill out the article request form. We'll find a library with a copy and deliver it to your CSS email in 48-72 hours.

50,000 bonus points!

If you use this idea, the Library will reward you with 50,000 bonus points you can use for any approved class!

When you are in ScholastiCAT, or MNPALS, and you find the book listed in your bibliography, look at the bottom of the book's record (the descriptive info supplied in the catalog). The terms listed as subjects are hot links to more books on your topic.

So, you could start with a 5 page article on "just wars" from The New Encyclopedia of the History of Ideas, locate one book in MNPALS from the article's bibliography, click on the subject link for "just war doctrine" and suddenly you have 147 books to choose from, of which any can show up at your door in a week's time with a click of the ILL button.