Gale in Context: Literature | Reference Database Review

SLJ reviews the latest online resource from Gale Databases, which offers a vast collection of literary critical analysis, elements, and multimedia content for high-interest literary works.



Grade level 9 Up

Cost Gale in Context: Literature is subscription-based and calculated using full-time enrollment. Special pricing is available for Gale Literature Resource Center and Gale in Context: For Educators customers. A free trial can be requested.

Content This comprehensive online resource offers a vast collection of literary critical analysis, elements, and multimedia content for high-interest literary works that range from the classics to contemporary and diverse publications. Users can explore and analyze novels, poems, short stories, and plays, leading to a deeper understanding of the literary works. Gale in Context: Literature provides access to contextual information, including primary sources from the author’s era combined with present-day tie-ins. This multimedia content includes videos, images, infographics, and podcasts that aim to engage students and increase depth of learning. Educators can choose from over 750 essential question prompts that initiate curiosity and offer launch points for student research.

When launching , users will see the familiar layout of Gale products with a few modifications. The search field is prominently displayed and serves as a versatile starting point, where a keyword search retrieves resources from across Gale’s databases. However, the Gale in Context: Literature product proceeds to reveal its exclusive features with a Topics of Interest focal point in the center of the homepage. This slideshow highlights popular selected works. Scrolling down, users will notice Quotes and Questions , another slideshow section that offers essential questions and insightful quotes that are meant to pique students’ interests or serve as starting points for teachers to hook their audience. As users scroll down, they will come across Browse Topics, a show-stealing section that puts forward a unique browsing experience, different from other Gale databases. Browsing is made easy and enjoyable by presenting convenient categories, such as Genres, Eras, and Themes. Selecting any of these categories will draw users into a well-curated library. Educators may use these browsing categories to discover works that pair well with their lessons.

Each View Topic Page prominently features a Netflix-like banner, which includes the title, a link for the full overview of the literary work, a link to the full text, and related videos. When navigating to the Full Overview, users can access a detailed article that includes plot summaries, essential questions, character analysis, themes, and more. There is always a coherent flow of information. A sidebar menu on the right presents additional resources related to the overview’s literary work. The overview can be cited by clicking the parenthesis icon at the top right of the page. Citation formats include APA, MLA, and Chicago Manual. For a more personalized approach to learning, students may make notations and highlights. The title’s Topic Page includes high-interest videos, sourced by Gale, for students to glean additional information. They are accompanied by a transcript and closed captioning for accessibility and can be cited. Below Essential Questions, Gale has organized a trove of content from literary criticism and plot summaries to audio to news. Plot diagrams and character mapping serve as useful graphics for students who are visual learners. Many of these are also interactive. The Topic Page also offers Related Topics that can include other related texts or relevant subject matter from the same era or genre. These Related Topics possess their own Full Overviews and resources. Lastly, Topic Pages spotlight authors of these selected literary works with biographies, videos, quotes, quick facts, and more. This product does, indeed, put the literature in context within the time periods, ­literary elements, and other existing works.

Students and Teachers Gale in Context: Literature is compatible with many commonly used learning management systems like Canvas, Schoology, and Google Classroom. Gale has also curated its information to be high-school focused, accessible, and scaffolded so that students don’t get lost in the terminology or subject matter. The content supports students in their endeavors to learn about literature by providing a multitude of resources presented in a way that is digestible. Resources come in a variety of media that can be used for cross-curricular purposes.

Verdict Gale in Context: Literature is an engaging and immersive platform that students and educators will appreciate for its robust collection of materials that provide relevant context to literary works in an English Language Arts classroom. This database could be a great launching point for project-based learning. Browsing and navigation is made easy through its clever categorization of ­literary works. A useful addition to Gale’s collection of databases.

Alexandra Cornejo, Harlingen School of Health Professions, TX.

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