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Syracuse University Libraries

ENG 650: Research, History, and Imagination : Home

Resources for generative and imaginative creative writing research.

About this Guide

This guide is meant to be a catch-all of fruitful resources for creative writing research. The focus is on full-text, page-image access to publications and archival materials, but some relevant text-only publications and databases are included. These tools allow for exploratory queries, serendipitous discovery, and allow us to encounter juxtapositions among events, ideas, products, facts, and voices we may not see in reference books or secondary scholarship. Often, these resources reward time and attention in unexpected ways, and can help you to think about detail and context as you build and explore your creative worlds.

You can contact Patrick Williams ( if you have any questions about doing so or to get recommendations based on your interests.

HathiTrust Digital Library

Syracuse University Libraries holds a membership to the HathiTrust Digital Library, which means SU-affiliated users may download full pdfs of any full-view publications hosted there. The collection includes collection of millions of titles digitized from libraries around the world.

For books which are not available as full-view, you are able to search within their contents and easily locate keywords present in books for further research. Furthermore, you can use the HathiTrust Research Center to curate and search within a specified collection of titles.

Internet Archive / Wayback Machine

The Internet Archive holds many, many full runs and issues of publications, films, book, and other media.

Also, you can use the Wayback Machine to view preserved versions of many old websites.

Historical Corpora for Looking at Language

As you encounter historical materials, you will begin to get a feel for that language of a particular era. But you may also be curious about the way people spoke and wrote about topics, ideas, people, and objects. Using historical corpora, you can locate idioms, cliches, and other turns of phrase. More than a dozen searchable, part-of-speech tagged corpora for language research.

Google Books Ngram Viewer: compare frequencies for words and multi-word phrases over time in the Google Books corpus.


Archival Media Collections

Current and Historical Newspapers

  • Daily Worker (1922 - 1968)
    The Daily Worker was the official mouthpiece of the Communist Party of the United States of America (CPUSA).

Individual Popular Magazine Titles

Periodical Collections

Many more regional, community, historical, and specialized newspapers can be found in the News & Newspaper category of the Libraries' databases menu.

Primary Source / Document Collections

Consumer-oriented collections

Community-related collections

Historical Documents, Papers, & Ephemera

Video & Audio Resources

Locating Historical Peroidicals

SU has been collecting print materials for 150+ years, so we have access to many historical periodicals that have not been digitized. You can access those in print and via microfilm, but you will likely have to request they be delivered from the Library Facility to Bird for use. You can locate titles using the Journal Locator, and you can make your delivery requests via Library To Go.

Some may be available only on microform, which is really fun.

a user reading microfiche


Special Collections Research Center

SUL's Special Collections Research Center holds hundreds of thousands of rare books and publications, personal and corporate papers, objects and ephemera. Collection strenghts include printing & publishing history, radicalism in art and literature, activisim and social reform, utopian communities, pulp literature and science fiction, broadcasting history, cartoons and cartoonists, and plastics, among others.

  • Books and periodicals from the SCRC collections are listed in the catalog with a location of Bird-Spec Coll (does not circulate).
  • Papers, objects, and other "non-book-things" are described in the Finding Aids.

Visit SCRC on the 6th floor of Bird to fill out a call slip to request items of either type for use in the reading room. SCRC hours are M-F 9-5pm, except Wednesdays, when the reading room is open until 7pm.