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Linguistics Library Resources Cheat Sheet: Home

What's in this guide

This guide suggests some basic sources for finding linguistics literature and data. Your research project is unique. Please get in touch if you'd like to tackle your literature review or brainstorm your project together!

Before you start

Interlibrary Loan & Carolina BLU

Interlibrary loan and document delivery system: request anything you can't access, there is no limit to number of requests and no cost to you.

Unpaywall or Open Access Button

Browser extensions that search for open access versions of articles you may find behind pay walls.


Oxford Bibliographies: Linguistics

Identifying foundational readings can be challenging. Oxford bibliographies offers annotated reading lists on over 280 topics in linguistics, from acceptability judgements to Zellig Harris.

Finding research articles

Not all sources below will lead to full text content. You can request any articles via Library document delivery -- it's free to you and typically has a 48-hour turn-around.

1. Library databases (Library pays for these)

Linguistics and Language Behavior Abstracts (LLBA)

Indexes over 3,500 linguistics and languages studies journals. ProQuest product.


Not specific to linguistics, but indexes many relevant journals. EBSCO product.

Communication and Mass Media Complete

Not specific to linguistics, but indexes many relevant journals. EBSCO product.


Not specific to linguistics, but indexes many relevant journals. Elsevier product.


Repository of academic journal content.


Repository of academic journal content, primarily in the humanities.


Attempts to search across a large number of library databases. ProQuest product ("Summon").

2. Aggregators (Library pays for some of this content)


Self explanatory, but link it to the Library when off campus for full-text access.


Aggregator of open access research papers from institutional repositories around the world.

Semantic Scholar

Open and free aggregator. Allen Institute for AI product.


Non-profit aggregator of scholarly literature and scientometric data.


Linked data-based aggregator. Digital Science product.


Search and mining service for researcher social networks. Tsinghua University product.

3. The "Big 5" (Library pays for most of this content)

Five publishers have bought up a large portion of academic journals. One benefit is that you can search across journals on their websites.


Taylor & Francis




4. Article/preprint and data community repositories




Wow, that's a lot of places to check! Do I really have to search each of these? Not necessarily! It depends on your project. There is considerable overlap between some of these resources. If your task is to find a couple scholarly articles, LLBA and one of the aggregators will do the trick. If you are doing a comprehensive literature review, you may want to search several or all of these as due diligence.

Finding books

In contrast to the madness of finding research articles above, there are two main tools for finding books:

Library catalog

Shows what's held at UNC and in the Triangle (you can request books from Duke, NC State and NC Central). Also pulls books from Open Research Library, Directory of Open Access Books, OAPEN and other open access content.

WorldCat and/or its paid version FirstSearch

Shows everything held in North American libraries (and beyond): you can request books via Interlibrary Loan.

Books will also show up in some of the databases and aggregators above.

Finding dissertations and theses

Dissertations and theses can be extremely useful for their research content, as bibliographies, or as models for structuring your own project.

Carolina Digital Repository

  • Masters theses and dissertations from UNC.


  • add documentType:"thesis" to search or select "Thesis" under "Type".

Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations

Open Access Theses and Dissertations

ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global

  • Library pays for this database

Reference resources on the World's Languages


Glottolog provides a comprehensive catalogue of the world's languages, language families and dialects. The References section provides a comprehensive collection of bibliographical data for the world's lesser known languages.

This is where I look to see if a grammar or any kind of description of a particular language exists.

OLAC Language Resource Catalog

Catalog of world's languages with details about text collections, audio recordings, dictionaries, and software, sourced from dozens of digital and traditional archives. Overlaps with, but also complements Glottolog.

WALS (World Atlas of Language Structures Online)

WALS is a large database of structural (phonological, grammatical, lexical) properties of languages gathered from descriptive materials (such as reference grammars) by a team of 55 authors and edited by Matthew S. Dryer and Martin Haspelmath. The Library also has 2005 print version.

The Atlas of Pidgin and Creole Language Structures (APiCS)

APiCS provides expert-based information on 130 grammatical and lexical features of 76 pidgin and creole languages from around the world. It was edited by Susanne Maria Michaelis, Philippe Maurer, Martin Haspelmath, and Magnus Huber. The Library has the 2013 print version and the accompanying Survey of Pidgin and Creole Languages.

Linguistic Corpora Available through University Libraries

University Libraries has purchased data files for the following corpora, compiled by Mark Davies (formerly known as BYU Corpora). Each corpus also comes with a limited-functionality public interface appropriate for small-scale projects, class demos, and casual browsing. The files come in three formats: database, word/lemma/Pos, and linear text. Onyen authentication is required for download.

Corpus del Español

Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA)

Corpus of Historical American English (COHA)

The Movie Corpus

News on the Web Corpus (NOW)

Corpus of American Soap Operas (SOAP Corpus)

TV Corpus

Wikipedia Corpus

Corpus of Global Web-Based English (GloWbE)

iWeb Corpus

A note on the Linguistics Data Consortium

In 2017-2018, University Libraries attempted to get campus-wide access to the Linguistics Data Consortium catalog. However, the year-long license negotiations have failed, so unfortunately, we will not be able to provide you access to this data. If you need LDC datasets, please contact your department. Departments may be able to procure specific datasets for limited use, since they do not need to provide access for the entire campus the way the Library does.


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