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What is a Critic?

Critics are considered experts in their field. Here are a few guidelines that qualifies someone as an expert:

  • A person that has a degree in their field (in most cases this will be a Ph.D.)
  • A person that continually studies and publishes about aspects in their field
  • Opinions and ideas expressed in publications are supported by research or evidence
  • Publications by this person are published scholarly articles and are peer-reviewed (checked for accuracy by other members in their field)

So then, what is criticism?

  • Who: Articles written by critics or experts in the field
  • What: Articles examine a topic very closely. They often attempt to interpret or find meaning in a text, work of art, piece of music, etc.
  • How: Critics use examples from primary sources to prove their argument. They often use secondary sources (articles by other critics) to further support their argument or thesis.
  • Why: Stories, art, music, etc. rarely has one concrete meaning. There can be several ways to consider a topic. Criticism then, is articles that are proposing new ways to interpret a topic. This interpretation could use historical events, specific ideas in their discipline, biographical information about the creator, new evidence uncovered about a topic (a painting for example), etc. Because there are so many outside events that influence a creation of art, there can be lots of articles on one particular topic.

Getting to a book vs this book

Finding a book on a topic is sometimes easier, and sometimes conversely more difficult than finding a specific book you know the title of. Start with a basic search of the library catalog. The left column will have options to narrow your results. This is an easy way to narrow to just print or e-books. You can also use a subject search to get other books on similar topics that might not use the exact words you searched for.  Once you find a book in the catalog, you need to look at 3 different things to figure out where to find the book.

First: Look at the status (in the blue box)--Is your book Available or Checked out?

Second: Determine what collection (in the purple box)--Which floor is the book on?

Third: Write down the call number (in the green box)--This call number is like the book's address. You need the whole thing.

This book is in the Circulating Collection on the third floor. You know it's the third floor and not the first floor because the Call Number starts with ND which is between L-Z, not A-K. Remember, other books on the same topic should be shelved near this book. It might be a good time to head to the shelves in that section and browse for a book that works for your needs.

If you locate an e-book we own, you can just click "View Ebook" to read it. More about how to use e-books can be found on this guide.

Looking for a specific book or book chapter? Use the library catalog to see if we own it. Use "quotation marks" around the title of the book, and add the author if you know it for generic titles.

Once you find the book in the catalog, use the directions above to use the call number to locate the book or to view the e-book.

If it doesn't appear like we own the book, find the record for the print book in the search results and click on the Availability tab. Click on the Request this Item through InterLibrary Loan/E-Delivery button. This will prompt you to log in using your UD network log in. It should auto fill the information you need, and you just need to click Submit Request at the bottom. We'll email you when your book arrives and you can pick it up.

Subject Guide

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Becky Canovan
Office: L200
Second floor near water fountain


Search Tips

  • Use the exact title of the novel or film
  • Put titles and genre searches in "quotes." This will ensure that the database is finding the entire phrase and not just individual words mentioned in the title. For example, "Farewell, my Lovely" or "Film Noir."
  • If you are searching a novel that has been adapted to film or the film adaptation, include the author or director in your search. This will help to narrow results to the specific work/medium you are researching.
  • Generic name? Try searching for title and author/director. A well-known actor or character might work too.
  • Not able to find anything by searching for title? Try expanding your search and looking for the specific actors/characters or the genre they are associated with. You may be able to find information about your particular work within a source that talks about the actors/characters and or the genre in general.
  • Often artistic works are influenced by some outside event (politics, war, economy, etc.). After doing a little background research, try searching for your film and factors that may have influenced it. Don't forget you may need to try various keywords and the more you put in the search box, the less results you'll get. See box below for more specific keyword/subject heading tips.