French Subject & Information Resources
French Subject & Information Resources
In citing electronic resources, you should in the first instance follow the same general rules as for printed sources, as the following example of a reference to an item contained on the (vast) Gallica site of the Bibliothèque nationale de France indicates:
- the name of the author and of the text cited should be given in full, e.g. Louis de Bonald, Économie politique, p. x.
- next, you should cite the name of the webpage or web service that provides the source, e.g. Website: BNF Gallica
- next, you should cite the URL of the source itself
- finally, you should give the date on which you last accessed this URL
A complete reference would thus look something like this:
Louis de Bonald, Économie politique (Paris, J.-P. Migne, 1859), p. x. Website: BNF Gallica.
URL: http://gallica.bnf.fr/scripts/ConsultationTout.exe?O=N023496&T=0. Last consulted: 12 December 2001.
Your bibliography should also record this information, together with the full publication details of any published work cited. Here is a further example:
Website: Calendrier des spectacles sous l'Ancien Régime (Barry Russell, Oxford Brookes University). URL: http://foires.net/cal/cal.shtml. Last consulted: 12 December 2001.
For further information, consult the following sources.
- Documenting sources from the World Wide Web (MLA)
- Citing electronic resources (Internet Public Library)
- Citing Electronic References (Boole Library, U.C.C.)
- Columbia Guide to Online Style
This page provides guidance on how to find relevant information to support your reading, thinking and writing. Knowing how to search for useful sources is an essential skill and your work in French will benefit from learning both how to exploit the resources of the library as a whole and how to locate online sources of the appropriate quality.
- using reference resources
- resources in the Boole Library
- online resources
- useful websites
- citing electronic sources
One of the key tasks you will undertake in your work in French is that of finding sources and using them to develop arguments or to locate information. This work will typically involve using library resources. Sources of this kind will include reference works (e.g. dictionaries, encyclopaedias, dictionaries of specialized terms, bibliographies).
Reference works may point you in the direction of further sources, either primary works with which you are directly concerned in a given project or secondary works. Primary works are the materials which you take as your focus in your work: literary texts in the case of a literary essay, works in the history of ideas if you are work on French thought, original documents (e.g. speechs, tracts, statistics or other data sets) if you are working on a historical topic. Secondary sources are typically books or articles containing further information on or critical discussion of the topics on which you are working.
In dealing with information, you will need to acquire a number of different skills:
- a capacity to identify relevant sources of information and to find relevant information within the sources which you use
- a capacity to discover sources of new information
- an ability to search effectively through the very wide range of sources that are available to you
- a capacity to evaluate the quality and precision of the sources which you may use
- an ability to keep accurate records of the sources which you use (author, title, publication details, page references --- see the advice on sources and references in the Department of French stylesheet)
Increasingly, information is available online, either by means of electronic access to specialized sources and reference data or through materials assembled for the web. Here again, you will need to evaluate the information which you use. Links to websites on France and French are also available via the Department of French website.
Printed works are likely to be your main sources --- books, articles, or reference works. Reference works can be used to locate information on primary texts, or on literary movements, or on the political and cultural history of France and French-speaking countries, or on linguistics, or the history of ideas, or on contemporary French culture. Use library catalogues to locate relevant works from amongst holdings in books and journals (journals are also increasingly available online, together with databases which help you to search for articles which may be of use to you --- more on this below).
The Library now subscribes online to Oxford Reference, through which you will have access to a wide range of reference resources, including some of those cited below.
The following items are among the reference works to be found in the Boole Library which you are likely to find useful.
- Bassan, Fernande, Donald C. Spinelli and Howard A. Sullivan, French Language and Literature: An Annotated Bibliography (New York, Garland, 1989)
- Dictionnaire des littératures de langue française, ed. by Jean Pierre de Beaumarchais, Daniel Couty and Alain Rey (Paris, Bordas, 1994)
- Dictionnaire des littératures suisses, ed. by Pierre-Olivier Walzer (Lausanne, L'Aire, 1991)
- Dictionnaire des oeuvres de langue française, ed. by Jean Pierre de Beaumarchais and Daniel Couty (Paris, Bordas, 1994)
- Dictionnaire des oeuvres littéraires du Québec, ed. by Gilles Dorion (Montreal, Fides, 2001)
- New Oxford Companion to Literature in French, ed. by Peter France (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1995); also available online
- Le Nouveau Dictionnaire des oeuvres (Paris, Laffont, 1994)
- Baldick, Chris, The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms (Oxford University Press, 1990); also available online
- Dupriez, Bernard, Gradus: les procédés littéraires (Paris, UGE, 1984)
- Crystal, David, A Dictionary of Linguistics and Phonetics (Oxford, Blackwell, 1997)
- Matthews, P. H., The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Linguistics (Oxford University Press, 1997); also available online
- Dictionnaire d'éthique et de philosophie morale, ed. by Monique Canto-Sperber (Paris, PUF, 1996)
- Dictionnaire de philosophie politique, ed. by Philippe Raynaud and Stéphane Rials (Paris, PUF, 1996)
- The Oxford Companion to Philosophy, ed. by Ted Honderich (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1995); also available online
- Vocabulaire technique et critique de la philosophie, ed. by André Lalande, third edition (Paris, PUF, 1993)
- Dictionnaire des intellectuels français : les personnes, les lieux, les moments, ed. by Jacques Julliard Michel Winock
- Vocabulaire européen des philosophies: dictionnaire des intraduisibles, ed. by Barbara Cassin.
- Christian Godin, Dictionnaire de philosophie
- Jean Laplanche and Jean-Baptiste Pontalis, Vocabulaire de la psychanalyse
- Encyclopedia of Contemporary French Culture, ed. by Alex Hughes and Keith Reader (London, Routledge, 1998)
- French Culture: 1900--1975, ed. by Catherine Savage Brosman (Detroit, Gale Research, 1995)
- A Dictionary of Contemporary France, ed. by Richard Alpin (London, Hodder and Stoughton, 1993)
- Dictionnaire historique de la vie politique française au XXe siècle, ed. by Jean-François Sirinelli (Paris, PUF, 1995)
More and more information today is provided online, either directly in web-based text databases and reference works, or indirectly through library catalogues and other searching devices. Some useful guidance on internet sources for linguists is available from the Virtual Training Suite.
The Boole Library catalogue is your primary point of reference for primary and secondary works alike. The second link below is to an online catalogue of all research libraries in Ireland, through which you can check different libraries' holdings and identify books which can be obtained through inter-library loan.
A wide range of catalogues in international national and research libraries can also be consulted online. These catalogues can be useful sources of bibliographical and other information:
- COPAC: University research libraries in the UK and Ireland
- British Library Public Catalogue
- Library of Congress: Gateway to Library Catalogs
- Bibliothèque nationale de France: catalogues
- Catalogue collectif de France (a national repertory of libraries and documentation centres)
Journals are important sources usually of secondary works in article form. The Boole Library subscribes to many journals, either in print or online --- see the catalogue for details. Some of the relevant journals which you may use include Forum for Modern Language Studies, French Cultural Studies, French Forum, French Studies, Journal of French Language Studies, Journal of the History of Ideas, MLN, Modern Language Review, PMLA, Revue d'histoire littéraire de la France, Romantisme, Theatre Research International. Current issues of these journals may be consulted on Q+1 and on Q+3.
Journals are now increasingly published or archived online. One of the main means of obtaining access to research materials is via electronic databases incorporating contents of journals and reviews. Consult the Boole Library guide to these sources, which provides direct links to the databases in question
Many very useful sources both of information and of critical discussion are now available online via the website of the Boole Library. You may find some of these tools useful.
- OCLC First Search: a set of databases which you can use to find relevant critical materials (the most relevant databases are likely to be WorldCat, FRANCIS, ArticleFirst, Humanities Abstracts, Humanities Index)
- the MLA Bibliography: an annual index of scholarly publications in literary subjects
- JSTOR: an archive of journal articles in leading journals
- Cambridge Journals Online: journals and other titles published by Cambridge University Press (including Cambridge Companions Online; Theatre Research International)
- Oxford Reference Online (reference works, including The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms)
- Oxford Journals (including French Studies; Forum for Modern Language Studies)
- Project Muse: online journal archive (including French Forum; New Literary History; Nineteenth-Century French Studies; Paragraph)
- Taylor and Francis: online journals and reference works (including Contemporary French and Francophone Studies)
You must bear in mind that you will always be expected to refer explicitly and in detail to your sources, bearing in mind the relevant conventions for presenting references, including those that apply to online sources.
Today, the digital library co-exists alongside the physical library as archives of the printed word. Of the sources listed below, Gallica is a major collection of a very wide range of French literary and other works in original editions no longer subject to copyright. Online texts may be provided in HTML or in PDF format (guidance on accessing files in each of these formats is available online). In some cases, online texts are based on more or less recent scholarly editions. Documents of Ireland contains texts in Hiberno-Norman French. The last two links below are to mainly English-language databases.
- ABU: la bibliothèque universelle
- ATHENA: textes français (Université de Genève)
- FreBase: bases textuelles (Départment d'études françaises, Université de Toronto)
- Centre d'éditions de textes électroniques (Université de Nantes)
- La Bibliothèque électronique de Lisieux
- Gallica (BNF)
- Textes électroniques clandestins du dix-huitième siècle (Università di Torino-Vercelli)
- Documents of Ireland (U.C.C.)
- Electronic Text Center (University of Virginia Library)
- Center for Electronic Texts in the Humanities (Rutgers University Libraries)
The web contains a very wide range of online information and resources --- some of it useful and original, some of it less dependable. A useful way of initiating your research on online sources is to use gateways which seek to evaluate websites according to the range and usefulness of the information which they contain.
- Humbul Humanities Hub
- Resource Discovery Network
- Voice of the Shuttle: Web page for humanities research
- Voice of the Shuttle: Cultural Studies page
- Virtual Library: Histoire de France
- Virtual Library: Linguistics
- Virtual Library: Theatre and Drama
Online search engines now provide access to collections of dictionaries and encyclopaedias. At present, the Boole Library subscribes to Oxford Reference, among a wide range of other resources and databases.
Here are some useful original online resources:
- A glossary of literary terms (Robert Harris)
- A glossary of rhetorical terms with examples (Ross Scaife, University of Kentucky)
- In other words: a lexicon of the humanities (Randy Radney)
- Lexique des termes littéraires (Lettres.net)
- Litweb (W. W. Norton)
- Virtual Classroom Glossary of Literary Terms (Faculty of English, University of Cambridge)
A separate page is maintained giving details of useful websites in the range of areas of French and francophone language, culture and society of interest to staff and students in the Department. You should feel free to suggest other sites that could be added to this list: send your suggestion to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The citation of materials maintained online presents certain problems, in part because Uniform Resource Locators (or URLs, or typical web 'addresses' in the form http://www.ucc.ie/french/) give information precisely on locations, and not as a rule on what a file may contain, or its title. In general, therefore, you should give the title of the website (as indicated on its home or main page) as well as the name of the page which you are citing, together with the URL. Because URLs are not absolutely persistent (a file may disappear, or the page cited may move to a different location, even without changing its content), you should also give the date on which you last referred to the file or page. In general, the title of a page is what appears in the title bar of your browser: