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Nonfiction Writing Program in the Department of English

Resources for students in Brown University's NonFiction Writing Program.

Questions About Research

Searching for Scholarly Material

The Library Discovery Tool is a great place to start casting your net. Use the Discovery Tool Search Box to look for books, articles, media, journals and databases from a single keyword search.

Library Search Bar

A keyword search will turn up two results screens. On the left side are books, ebooks, and archival material, and on the right side are a variety of subscription holdings, including journal articles.

Books+ and Articles result screen

Searching By Topic

If you're looking for resources on a particular topic, a good to place to start is the search box on the library home page. It's our Discovery Tool. In it you'll find library holdings, including books, ebooks, CDs and DVDs, archival material, and access to our online journal content.

For more information about the library search tool visit the informational webpage on the library discovery tool.

To find images on the Brown library site, please see the subject guide Finding and Using Images.

Searching for books and ebooks

Too many results? Click Filter to narrow by format, author, date of publication, and more.


To learn more about the book and to find its location, click on the title:


Note the location AND call number; you'll need all of that information to get the book.

If a book looks useful, choose the subject headings you think are most relevant. This will lead you to other titles in the Discovery Tool with similar content. There are clickable subject headings listed within the record for each book, as well as at the top of the list of all found books. These can help you both broaden and narrow your search.


If the record says "online book," click on the "full text available" link provided to access the ebook.

Searching with Keywords

A keyword search will turn up two sets of results in one screen. On the left side is Books & more (books, ebooks, and archival material) and on the right is Articles & more (a variety of subscription holdings including journal articles).


Filtering to narrow the number of search results

It's easy to get overwhelmed with the number of results you'll get when doing a basic keyword search in Summon. After all, you're searching across all of our electronic journal subscriptions.

But with a few clicks, you can often limit the number of results to get a general sense of what the journal literature says about your topic.

Click Filter to narrow your results using a variety of limiters, including type of journal, disciplinary focus, language and year of publication.

Once you've clicked on filter, the page will look like this. You can then choose what filters you want to use from the list at the right side of the page:


Note that you can search through a variety of periodical literature -- not just journal articles.

Searching the Discovery Tool for a specific article

To find a particular article, type in all or part of the journal article title into the search box, then choose Articles-- All Fields, By Title from the pull-down menu to the right. If we have the article electronically, you'll find it by doing a search.

If you don't find an electronic version of the article in this way, it's possible we have it available in print:

Type in the journal name that contains the article for which you are looking. Then choose Books+ -- by Title   in the pull-down menu to the right. If the library has a subscription, it will show up in the results list:

Look carefully at Held, the subscription information for the journal. If it contains the volume/year of your article's publication, you'll find it at the location noted. Click on See holdings for further information about the periodical.

If the library doesn't have the article in either electronic or print format, don't despair! You can still access it by doing an interlibrary loan using ILLiad. Submit interlibrary loan requests using ILLiad at

Please allow 10-14 days for your article to arrive in your email box.

Need More?

Can't find what you're looking for in the Library Discovery tool? We have a variety of book lending options with libraries local and worldwide through our interlibrary loan system, easyBorrow

From the library home page, click on WorldCat to search a worldwide catalog of library resources.           

Requesting your items in WorldCat is easy-- just click on Request this item


Is your book owned by the Brown library but checked out? Not to worry. A Request link will appear next to the status of the book if it is checked out. Simply click on this link to request the book through easyBorrow.



If you are searching in a database such as Avery Index, click on the FindIt! link and you will be directed to easyArticle, where you can easily request a pdf of the article from another library:

Be sure to allow extra time to receive resources from easyBorrowYou'll get an email when your books arrive.

Subject Librarians