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FS 121 - Tolkien and Lord of the Rings: Find Articles

Where to search for Tolkien articles

An article database allows you to search for articles on a particular topic. Article databases differ by:

Subject coverage:
Some databases index articles from a specific discipline, such as literature or biology, while other databases index articles from many different disciplines.

Document type:
Some databases focus on indexing one type of document, such as scholarly research articles or popular news articles. Other databases index a mix of publications.


Time coverage:
Some databases index articles published several hundred years ago up to the present, while others only index recently published articles.

Since databases contain different sets of article records, one database might provide you with better results than another -- so try searching several!

*Clip art licensed from the Clip Art Gallery on (with the exception of calendar image, which is from

Recommended article databases for this class:

    Database of articles from scholarly journals spanning the humanities, social sciences, and sciences.
  • Project MUSE
    Database of articles from peer-reviewed journals covering the humanities and social sciences. Most journals in this collection are published by non-commercial publishers such as university presses and scholarly societies.
  • Communication & Mass Media Complete
    A comprehensive database including citation and abstract indexing, full text access to many journals, and author profiles.
  • Academic Search Complete
    Academic Search Complete is multi-disciplinary database that includes peer-reviewed journal articles, magazine articles, newspaper articles, and more.
  • Journal titles to know:

    Tolkien Studies Folklore The Review of English Studies

    How to search for Tolkien articles

    Save time by searching like a librarian! Try these three strategies for creating search queries:

    A. Combine your keywords into a search query:

    Link main ideas together with AND:
    • Tolkien AND culture
    • Using AND will give you fewer search results -- here are some other terms you might want to add to your search: Bias, Politics, Radio, Language, or History
    Venn-diagram using AND to narrow search

    Link related terms together with OR:

    • "Lord of the Rings" OR LOTR OR "Middle Earth"
    • Using OR will give you more search results
    Venn-diagram using OR to broaden search

    Exclude specific terms using NOT :

    • Tolkien NOT "C.S. Lewis"
    • Using NOT will give you fewer search results, but use this search technique with care -- you might end up excluding articles that just mention the unwanted term briefly.
    Excluding searches using AND

    B. Use quotation marks to search words as a phrase:

    Using quotation marks " " to group two or more words will tell the database or search engine to search them as a single concept.

    • Lord of the Rings
      • database might search for lord AND rings
    • "Lord of the Rings" :
      • database searches for phrase
    • Use phrase searching with care -- putting too many words in parentheses could exclude relevant articles.
      • For example, don't search for "J.R.R. Tolkien" -- you could miss articles where he was simply referred to as Tolkien or Professor Tolkien.

    C. Save time by truncating keywords:

    In many databases, the * character is a wildcard that tells the database to search for multiple characters in place of the *.

    • philolog* = philology OR philologist OR philologists
    • orc* = orc OR orcs OR orca OR orcas

    (the orca example illustrates how truncation can sometimes lead to unexpected results)