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Library Research in Foreign Languages: Getting Started

These Library Guides will help you use IUP Libraries' resources in the Foreign Languages on-campus as well as at a distance.


1.    Set up your VPN – This will give you the advantage of being on campus to access all IUP Libraries databases without have to use the 16-digit I-card number or your computer username and password.  You will also be able to utilize your virtual H-drive. Note this must be mapped to your computer. However, if you don't have this set up you will be prompt for your computing username avaialbe in URSA

2.    Utilize PALCI for books IUP Libraries does not own or is checked out. 

3.    Set up your ILLIAD account. This will allow you to borrow books (not available through ILLIAD) and articles not owned by IUP Libraries.

4.    Set up account managers in databases such as My EBSCOhost.

5.    Contact your Librarian for further assistant

Remote Login to IUP Libraries' Databases

If you are using IUP Libraries's databases from off-campus, you will be asked to login with either you 16-Digit I-Card number or your IUP Computing Username/Passoword.

Understanding the Source

Primary sources are original document or account that is not about another document or account but stands on its own.

  • novel, poem, play, diary, letter, speeches, autobiographies, or other creative work
  • the data from a research study because it comes straight from the participants' replies, statistics
  • Interviews, a first hand account— not of experts but of people actually experiencing something "on the scene," are also primary sources
  • Public documents, hearings, laws, and treaties

Secondary sources ones that interpret primary sources or are otherwise a step removed. Provides analysis—an explanation or a restatement of primary source. Often based upon and cite primary resources

  • A journal article or book about a poem, novel, or play
  • or a commentary about what an interview signifies is a secondary source.
  • Your paper will likewise become a secondary source.
  • Dictionaries, Encyclopedias, textbooks

Primary vs. Secondary Sources


Primary Source

Secondary Source


Original artwork

Article critiquing the piece of art



Interview with a politician

Slave diary

Article on interviewing politicians

Book about the Underground RR



Treatise on a particular genre of poetry

Political Science


Essay on Native American land rights


Videotape of a performance

Biography of a playwright


Suggested Databases

Below are suggested databases for the discipline of Foreign Languages:

Academic Search Premier provides full text for nearly 3,180 scholarly publications covering academic areas of study including social sciences, humanities, education, computer sciences, engineering, language and linguistics, arts & literature, medical sciences, and ethnic studies.

NEW Arte Publico Hispanic Historical Collection: Series 1 - The Arte Publico Hispanic Historical Collection: Series 1 presents a digital collection of historical content pertaining to U.S. Hispanic history, literature and culture. Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage Project from which the collections draws its content, is the largest national project ever to locate, preserve and disseminate Hispanic culture of the United States in its written form since colonial times until 1960. Created under the direction of Dr. Nicolas Kanellos, founder and director of Arte PublicoPress, the oldest and largest publisher of U.S. Hispanic literature in the U.S., the collection accurately conveys the creative life of U.S. Hispanics, and sheds new light on the intellectual vigor and traditional values that have characterized Hispanics from the earliest moments of this country's history through contemporary times. Uses the EBSCOHost interface.

Biography Resource Center - A comprehensive database of biographical information on nearly 220,000 people from throughout history, around the world, and across all disciplines and subject areas.

Ethnic NewsWatch + ENW, A History  - covers news, culture and History from 240+ publications of ethnic, minority and native presses.  Designed to provide the "other side of the story", full text titles offer additional viewpoints from those proffered by the mainstream press. Both English and Spanish language search interfaces are provided. This does not affect the content.

InfoTrac OneFile - A one-stop source for news and periodical articles on a wide range of topics: business, computers, current events, economics, education, environmental issues, health care, hobbies, humanities, law, literature and art, politics, science, social science, sports, technology, and many general interest topics. Millions of full-text articles, many with images.Coverage: 1980 - Jan 2004.  Updated daily.

Academic Universe provides access to a wide range of news, business, legal, and reference information. Offers full-text of national and international newspapers. To search Spanish or Portuguese language news sources select "Non-English language News" as a news category and then "Spanish Language News" or "Portuguese Language News" as a news source.Coverage: 1978-present

Literature Resource Center - A complete literature reference database designed for both the undergraduate and graduate student as well as the sophisticated casual user. Rich in biographical, bibliographical, and critical content.  It is the premier Internet resource for information on literary figures from all time periods writing in such genres as fiction, nonfiction, poetry, drama, history, journalism, and more.

MLA International Bibliography - Index produced by the Modern Language Association consisting of bibliographic records pertaining to literature, language, linguistics, and folklore. It provides access to scholarly research in over 3,000 journals and series. Also covered are relevant monographs, working papers, proceedings, bibliographies, dissertations, and other formats. Interface:WebSpirs. Coverage: 1963-present.

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