Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Spanish: A Guide to Research

Find research sources with a library search

This page offers ideas for how and where to search for research sources in the Milne Library. Scroll down to find reference booksdatabases full of articles, and search tips that are tailored to Spanish students.

Need help with your research on a specific subject?Woman faces path of confusion

Contact the library's Reference Desk to help find a source, or set up a consultation with a Reference & Instruction Librarian for an hour-long research session. For more information, visit the Get Library Help page. 

Image by Wannapik

Library Search Tips

Search Tips for Databases

Databases are searchable online catalogs of research materials like scholarly journals and articles, books, primary source materials (such as letters, maps, datasets, or photographs), and video and audio materials. Milne Library's databases are all listed at A-Z Databases

Use "advanced" search functions in databases

For best results, use Advanced Search options. Try combining the name of the region, country, author, or other main topic you are focusing on with additional Spanish-related subject terms to find scholarly articles. Some example subject terms to try:

  • Spanish language
  • Spanish linguistics
  • Spanish literature
  • Dialects

Filter your search results

Look for "filter" options in your search results that let you choose the language of the resource (if you are looking for Spanish language articles, for example) or the dates of publication. If you are looking for a certain kind of research material -- like a full-text article, a book, or an audio file -- you can often filter for type, too. 

Use Spanish & English search terms

Leverage your knowledge of foreign languages to expand the number of search terms you can use:

  1. Naming conventions are different in different cultures and databases may or may not take that into account. For example when looking up Gabriel García Márquez, try spelling it with and without accent marks, try looking up his last name in the Spanish style (García Márquez) and also in the English style (Márquez).
  2. Articles written in a foreign language may have set their keywords in a foreign language too. So consider searching in English (e.g. for ‘the Enlightenment’) and in your target language (e.g. ‘la Ilustración’ or ‘Le Siècle des Lumières’).

Best Bets: Databases for Spanish Resources

Specialized Databases for Spanish Scholars 

Research databases are searchable online catalogs of research materials like scholarly journals and articles, books, primary source materials (such as letters, maps, datasets, or photographs), and video and audio materials.

Some databases are freely accessible online. Spanish-language open access databases include:

Some databases require paid subscriptions by your library. Milne Library's databases are all listed at A-Z Databases. Here are some best bets in our collection for Spanish:

General Interest Databases

General Interest Databases: Best Bets

These databases cover general interest and academic topics, but targeted search terms (like those suggested in "Library search tips" above) can yield great results for Spanish course assignments and projects. Most offer language-specific searches.

Spanish Reference Books

Searching for Library Books

To look for books in the Milne Library catalog, navigate to the library homepage and click on 'Advanced Search.' Then enter your search terms.

  • If you want print volumes, change the search scope to 'Library Catalog', limit to 'Books', enter your search terms and click 'Search'. Once in the results list, click 'Held by Library' to limit to print volumes only.
  • If you wish to find online books, limit the search scope to 'Online Access' and change the 'Material Type' to 'Books'.


Reference Books in the Library

Reference sources--like encyclopedias and dictionaries--provide an overview or summary of your topic and are ideal to be used when starting research. Some useful Spanish reference titles are listed here. Print reference resources are currently located on the sub-basement and the 2nd floor in the Milne Library.


Cover ArtOxford Spanish Dictionary by Beatriz Galimberti Jarman; Roy Russell; Carol Styles Carvajal; Nicholas Rollin
Call Number: REF PC4640 .O94 2008
ISBN: 9780199208975
Publication Date: 2008-06-09

Compiled by expert teams of Spanish and English lexicographers and boasting a two-color layout, the Oxford Spanish Dictionary provides the richest, most contemporary coverage of Spanish from around the world. The result of thorough research using sophisticated computer programs to search for new terminology and ensure that all the latest vocabulary from Latin American Spanish and American English is covered, this superb resource covers over 24 varieties of Spanish as it is written and spoken throughout the Spanish-speaking world--from Spain to Mexico, from Peru to the River Plate. The Oxford Spanish Dictionary is the ultimate resource and the first place to turn for answers to all Spanish-English language questions.


book coverMulticultural Spanish Dictionary: How Everyday Spanish Differs From Country to Country (2nd Ed.) edited by Morry Sofer and Agustin Martinez
Available online at Proquest Ebook Central
Ebook ISBN 9781589797154
Publication date: 2011-12-01

Spanish is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world. What has been overlooked for a long time is the fact that there are thousands of everyday Spanish words that differ from one Spanish-speaking country to the next. A grapefruit in Guatemala is una toronja. In Argentina it is un pomelo. A waiter in Mexico is un mesero; in Uruguay, un mozo. In Spain, eyeglasses are gafas; in Cuba, espejuelos. This list goes on and on. With this multicultural dictionary, you will be able to see and learn the correct words and terms by country.


book coverThe feminist encyclopedia of Spanish literature by Janet Pérez and Maureen Ihrie
Call number: REF PQ6055 .F46 2002
ISBN: 978-0313324451
Publication date: 2002

Spanish literature includes some of the world's greatest works and authors. It is also one of the most widely studied. This reference looks at the literature of Spain from the perspective of women's studies. Though the volume focuses on the literature of Spain written in Castilian, it also includes survey entries on the present state of women's literature in Catalan, Galician, and Basque. Included are hundreds of alphabetically arranged entries for numerous topics related to Spanish literature, including literary periods and genres, significant characters and character types, major authors and works, and various specialized topics. Each entry discusses how the topic relates to women's studies. Entries for male authors discuss their attitudes toward women. Female writers are considered for the restrictive cultural contexts in which they wrote. Specific works are examined for their representations of female characters and their handling of women's issues. Each entry is written by an expert contributor and closes with a brief bibliography. The volume concludes with a list of works for further reading.


book coverTwentieth-century Spanish fiction writers by Cristina Martínez-Carazo and Martha Eulalia Altisent; in Dictionary of Literary Biography (volume 322)
Call number: REF PQ6144 .T94 2006 or searchable as a database online
ISBN: 9780787681401
Publication date: 2006

Essays on a variety of Spanish authors who shaped the development of Spanish fiction in the twentieth century. Entries focus on the interconnections between life and writing and trace the writers' personal response to the cultural, intellectual and political concerns of the day, as well as to the traditions and literary styles that shaped their imagination. Provides a condensed assessment of the authors' aesthetic and personal preferences as shown through their writings.

Non-Library Data and Research Sources


Statistical Yearbook for Latin America and The Caribbean 

From the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). Provides basic statistics from the previous year on the economic, sociodemographic and environmental situation in the region. Available in Spanish or English.

Center for Migration and Development Data Archives/Reports

From Princeton University. A list of studies undertaken by the Center for Migration and Development or its members with detailed study descriptions and associated data files, codebooks, questionnaires, and publication lists.

Online Research Sources

Latin American, Caribbean, U.S. Latinx, and Iberian Online Free E-Resources (LACLI) 

A Latin America Northeast Libraries Consortium (LANE) project. This is a warehouse of online free e-resources with Latin American, Caribbean, U.S. Latinx, and Iberian full content such as audiovisual, text, and digital exhibits, and more. A direct link to the Google doc is here