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Subject guides: English Language & Literature

English Language & Literature section

This guide provides information about:

Printed collections Books, periodicals and films.

Electronic collections Databases, electronic journals, exam papers and websites.

Other libraries Other useful libraries


Explore is the Library's search facility for accessing print and electronic materials. It incorporates the catalogue of books and journal titles with access to selected journal contents, achive materials, exam papers and the research publications repository.

Access WISE for a series of web-based information skills courses.

Printed collections

The ENGLISH Collection is on the first floor of the Main Library in the Wilkins building. The collection covers English and American language and literature across all time periods and genres.

The LITERATURE collection can be found along the North Corridor that leads to the English Collection, this contains literary topics not specific to a national literature, such as literary theory and comparative literature. It also includes literary works translated into English from other languages, such as Japanese and Russian.


The Library has its own classification scheme for arranging books on the shelves, a typical classmark for a book on the open shelves will begin with the name of a subject (indicating a section of the library) followed by letters and numbers denoting its position on the shelves in that section, for example

ENGLISH E 320.6 PEA for a book about Chaucer.

ENGLISH P 200 BLA for an introduction to the Victorian novel.

LITERATURE A 48 CLA for a book about literature and science.

Click here for a detailed version of the classification scheme for English.

A classmark beginning with the word STORE refers to a work housed away from the UCL Main Library. You will need to request these items via Explore, or fill in the online store request form. Most Store items are borrowable and can usually be collected from the Science Library Assistance Desk from 3pm the following day.


The library subscribes to English periodicals in print and electronic format. Print periodicals are shelved next to the book collection, recently-published issues are displayed in racks. Runs of some older titles and those which are available electronically are kept in Stores. Explore can be used to find out the location of printed journals or to access the electronic version of the journal where available (see below).

Other Collections

There are many other collections you might find useful, for example

HISTORY includes extensive coverage of European, Latin American and United States social, political and economic history and a special collection on London History. Located in the Main Library, 2nd floor.

HUMANITIES PERIODICALS is a collection of multidisciplinary humanities periodicals, including the Times Literary Supplement. Located in the Main Library, 2nd floor.

Audio Visual Collections

Plays, feature films and documentaries are available on DVD, they are shelved in the Main Library Issue Desk area. These are available to borrow for either short (up to two days) or one week loan. Some DVDs are for reference only and must be used in the viewing room which is adjacent to the Main Library Reference Room.

Special Collections

Old, valuable, and rare material is held in UCL Special Collections, and is available for reference only, by appointment. This includes, for example, the GEORGE ORWELL ARCHIVE, the JAMES JOYCE COLLECTION, the POETRY STORE and LITTLE MAGAZINES.

Language & Speech Science library (LASS) holds Linguistics and Phonetics materials. Located at Chandler House, 2 Wakefield Street London WC1N 1PF.

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Electronic collections

Material held in electronic form is available to registered members of UCL. When off-campus, you will be asked for your user ID and password in order to gain access.

Explore enables you to search for material within a single resource or across a range of resources simultaneously and obtain instant access to the online full-text material we subscribe to. However, databases should be used for conducting comprehensive research.


For the full list of electronic databases currently available please consult the Databases web pages. There are many databases relevant for English, the following might be of particular interest:


English and American Literature

Electronic journals

A large number of journals are available electronically to registered members of UCL, Explore can be used to search for and access these. Alternatively, view an alphabetical list of electronic journals available.

Exam papers

Copies of past exam papers are available online and can also be searched for via Explore. Printed copies can be found in the Main Library.

Other Web resources

Freely available web-based material you might find of interest:


  • Survey of English Usage Research in English Language and Linguistics, based in UCL Department of English Language and Literature. Wealth of information about current and completed research projects.
  • British National Corpus 100 million word collection of samples of written and spoken language from a wide range of sources.

English and American Literature

Archives and Special Collections

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Other libraries
  • Senate House Library (University of London, Malet Street) has a large collection of English and American Language and Literature, and is especially strong in periodicals holdings. Any registered member of UCL can join the library and borrow from there.
  • The British Library
  • The Poetry Library

For more information about the use of other libraries, see the full information at www.ucl.ac.uk/library/otherlib.shtml.

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Contact details

If you have any problems using the Library, please come to the Enquiry Desk, or contact the Subject Librarian for English:

Sarah Burn
E-mail s.burn@ucl.ac.uk
Telephone: internal: 32964; external: 020 7679 2964

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Last modified 10 September 2013

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