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Beowulf & Grendel

Searching Omni

Search Omni to find books of criticism, biographies, bibliographies, concordances, literary glossaries, dictionaries, and encyclopedias on literary works.  

Subject Headings vs Keyword Searching

Subject headings allow you to search for resources on a particular author or topic and are often more productive than keyword searches. 

Keyword searches work best if you have multiple concepts or topics and need only a few books. 

For a comprehensive subject search, search with subject headings as well as keywords.

Searching Omni

Start with a keyword search, but expect to revise it. 

Keyword Searching TIPS

Search Technique  

What It Does

quotation marks

Searches for exact phrase

Truncation *

Searches for all forms of a word

Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT)

Lets you broaden or narrow your search


When searching OMNI for books, use the facets located on the search results screen, to limit your search results to books & ebooks.  Also can limit search to book and e-books in Advanced Search.

To find critical writings about a specific work, you can search Omni by either keyword or subject heading. For example:

   beowulf (subject search)
   beowulf AND grendel

To find books concerning a particular mode or genre in a particular language or period, search the mode or genre by subject heading. This will give you a list of more specific subject headings from which you can choose. Some examples include:

     Anglo-Saxon literature
     Christian literature
     Christian poetry, English (Old)
     Civilization, Anglo-Saxon in literature
     Civilization, Medieval in literature
     Dragons in literature
     English language--Old English, ca. 450-1100
     English literature--Old English, ca. 450-1100
     English literature--Old English, ca. 450-1100--Criticism, Textual            
     English literature--Old English, ca. 450-1100--History and criticism
     English poetry--Old English, ca. 450-1100
     Epic poetry, English (Old)  

Other useful subheadings:

    Apocalyptic literature
    Heroes in literature
    Manuscripts, English (Old)
    Monsters in literature
    Mythology, Anglo-Saxon
    Mythology, Germanic
    Mythology, Norse
    Violence in literature

Once you have found call numbers for a few promising books, go to the stacks, where you will find other related titles.

Beowulf's Subject Headings

Search Beowulf as a subject to find resources in the library catalogue. 

Beowulf--Criticism and interpretation
Beowulf--Criticism textual
Beowulf--Handbooks, manuals, etc.
Beowulf--History and criticism

More Subject Headings

Selected subject headings for an overview of the historical period include:

Anglo-Saxons--Intellectual life
Anglo Saxons--Kings and rulers
Anglo-Saxons--Politics and government
Anglo-Saxons--Social life and customs
Tenth century
Eleventh century
Great Britain--History--Anglo-Saxon
      period, 449-1066
Great Britain--History--To 1066
Great Britain--Social life and customs--To
Great Britain--Social life and customs--
     17th century
Social history--Medieval, 500-

Browsing the Library Shelves

Browsing the library shelves is another strategy for locating information on a topic.

Most books related to Beowulf are located in the call number range PR1580-1585 on the 4th floor of Stauffer Library.

Front cover of J.R.R. Tolkien's Beowulf