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ENGL 379: Black Feminist Theory

Following the Bibliographic Trail

Being able to interpret a citation is an important research skill. Conventions for documenting sources vary by discipline, but typically a citation tells you enough basic information to go and find the item no matter what style is used (APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.).

There are three steps in following a citation trail to locate an item at Collins Library.

1. Read the citation to determine what kind of source you are looking for (a book, an article, something else).
2. Choose the essential citation information you need to locate the item.
3. Use Primo to search using the citation information.

Identifying the Parts of a Citation

Before you can find the full text, you need to understand the parts of a citation.


Example of a Journal Citation

Cooper, Brittney. “Love No Limit: Towards a Black Feminist Future (in Theory).” Black Scholar, vol. 45, no. 4, 2015, pp. 7– 21.


Example of a Magazine Citation

Sales, Ruby. “A Letter from Ruby N. Sales.” Off Our Backs, vol. 20, no. 8, August/September 1990, p. 25.

Sullivan, Andrew. “Is Intersectionality a Religion?” New York Magazine, March 10, 2017.


Example of a Book Citation

Weheliye, Alexander G. Habeas Viscus: Racializing Assemblages, Biopolitics, and Black Feminist Theories of the Human. Duke UP, 2014.


Example of an Essay in an Anthology or Edited Collection 

Alexander, M. Jacqui, and Chandra Talpade Mohanty. “Cartographies of Knowledge and Power: Transnational Feminism as Radical Praxis.” Critical Transnational Feminist Praxis, edited by Amanda Lock Swarr and Richa Nagar, SUNY Press, 2010, pp. 23– 45.


Use Primo to locate these sources.

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Searching for Sources with Primo

Once you've identified a citation, your next step is to locate the full text. Whether it's a book, magazine, journal, or newspaper article, check Primo. Use the library map to identify the floor of a physical item.

Searching Primo for a book is pretty straightforward: search by the title of the book and/or the author's (or editor's) name. If you are looking for a chapter or essay in an edited collection or anthology, again search by the title of the book.

Locating individual articles (from a magazine, newspaper, or scholarly journal) in the library catalog is a little like looking for a needle in a haystack. For this reason, searching for the journal first is often a more effective way to find an article. To locate a specific article from a citation, follow these steps:

  1. Type in the title of the journal in the Primo search box. Limit the "Material Type" to "Journals"
  2. Find the record in our library catalog and determine whether the journal is online or in print.
  3. Locate the correct year, volume, and issue number.
  4. Locate the article within that issue using the table of contents or the page numbers indicated in the citation. 

Google Scholar Cited Reference Search

Google Scholar can help you find articles and other sources which have cited a source that you have found. Frequent citation is often (but not always!) a marker for a particularly influential scholarly work.

Step 1: When looking at your search results, check for the 'Cited by X' link underneath each result. That will tell you how many subsequent articles (that Google Scholar is aware of) have cited this particular article or book.

Step 2: Click that link, and you will be taken to a new set of results, all of which have cited the original source, which will still be listed at the top of the page. Use Primo to find out if Collins Library provides access to the full text. 

Google Scholar Search

Practice: Deconstructing Theory

Part 1: Review the notes and bibliography section for your chosen text or theory and identify 2-3 sources to locate. Jot down the citations and look for the full text in Primo.

Part 2: Use Google Scholar cited reference search to find a source that cites your chosen text.

For each of your sources, note your search results. Does the library own or provide access to the item? If yes, where can the full-text be found?


If your source is only available in print, you may request books for pickup at the circulation desk or request that portions of print books be scanned. To submit a request, make sure you are logged in with your Puget Sound username and password and click the relevant link within Primo (under "Request Options").

If the library doesn't have access to the source, trying requesting it via Summit or Interlibrary Loan, or choose another citation.

Tipasa: Interlibrary Loan

If your article is not available at Collins Library, you've got another option for getting it. Use Tipasa, our interlibrary loan service.

Tipasa is linked to your library account so you'll need to log in to use it.

Once you are logged in, either go directly to Tipasa and manually enter the information, or, if you're using a database, look for a shortcut link to automatically fill out the form:

Interlibrary Loan Link

Allow at least a week for the article to come. If your article is delivered in electronic format, you'll receive an email with a link to follow as soon as it's arrived.