Database of the Week – ABELL

Chadwyck-Healey Literature Collection
ABELL Database

ANNUAL BIBLIOGRAPHY OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE, 1920– (ABELL)
There are many databases that comprise the Chadwyck-Healey Literature Collection, but this description will focus on ABELL, the Annual Bibliography of English Language and Literature, which “lists monographs, periodical articles, critical editions of literary works, book reviews and collections of essays published anywhere in the world; [and] unpublished doctoral dissertations …for the period 1920–1999. The bibliography consists of 80 volumes, beginning in 1920 and issued annually; a number of items published between 1892 and 1919 have been indexed retrospectively….Subject areas covered by ABELL include: English language – including syntax, phonology, lexicology, semantics, stylistics and dialectology; English literature – including poetry, prose, fiction, films, biography, travel writing, literary theory and studies of individual authors; Bibliography – including manuscript studies, textual studies and the history of publishing; and Traditional Culture of the English-speaking world including custom, belief, narrative, song, dance and material culture.” A great feature of this database is that there is little overlap with the MLA database, another core research database in literature and language, regarding content. For an exhaustive search on literature and related topics, both ABELL and MLA should be searched.
This database provides a number of features with access to help screens to assist throughout the search. Upon entering the database, there are four choices: Search; Information Centre; Literature Collections; Site Map; and Help.

Under Search, there is a detailed search screen, which allows one to enter: Keyword(s), Title Keyword(s); Subject; Author/Reviewer; Publication Details; Journal; ISBN; ISSN; Publication Year; Search In Latest Update; Limit to All, Articles, Books, and Reviews. Beside each search box is the capability to select from a list. The lists are alphabetical, with numbers coming first. One can browse through the lists by scrolling down page by page or simply typing in a word and jumping down in the list alphabetically. The limit feature allows one to view all types of information or create a set of articles; books and chapters; or book and film reviews. Entries that are chapters in a book, allow one to view all the contents of the book by clicking on the ABELL Reference Number. Entries can also be marked for later export through email, printing or downloading. The entries can also be formatted for input into ProCite, EndNote, Reference Manager and RefWorks, and they can be downloaded in plain text or HTML format. There is no full text in this database, so one must also search in Journal Finder in order to see if full-text would be available in another database.

Each browsable list presents information a little differently; one may have the option of selecting a title phrase under the “Keyword” search or single words from the titles of works in the “Title Keyword” search. As a title keyword search, Chesnutt produces 225 hits. The “Subject” search combines single keywords and phrases.

For example, Chesnutt as a Subject search brings up this subject heading with 297 hits in the database, “English Literature: Nineteenth Century: Authors: Chesnutt, Charles W.” There is always the option to select multiple items from the browsable
lists which will then appear in the search box. “Authors and Reviewers” are listed by their last name first, and “Publication Details” provides a list of the book, manuscript, chapter, and series titles in alphabetical order along with publisher names and places of publication. The journal search allows one to browse through the journal titles listed in alphabetical order.
The Information Centre lists detailed information about the electronic and print versions of ABELL.
The Literature Collections point to the other databases that are available and they are listed below:
AFRICAN AMERICAN POETRY AFRICAN WRITERS SERIES AMERICAN DRAMA 1714–1915
AMERICAN POETRY CANADIAN POETRY EARLY AMERICAN FICTION 1789–1850
EARLY AMERICAN FICTION 1789–1875 EARLY ENGLISH PROSE FICTION
EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY FICTION ENGLISH DRAMA ENGLISH POETRY
ENGLISH POETRY, SECOND EDITION THE FABER POETRY LIBRARY KING JAMES BIBLE
NINETEENTH-CENTURY FICTION TWENTIETH-CENTURY AFRICAN AMERICAN POETRY
TWENTIETH-CENTURY AMERICAN POETRY TWENTIETH-CENTURY ENGLISH POETRY
BIBLIOGRAPHY OF AMERICAN LITERATURE
WEBSTER’S THIRD NEW INTERNATIONAL DICTIONARY, UNABRIDGED

Jan S. Whitfield, Head of Public Services & Reference

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s