VCU Libraries

Research Guides

SPAN 311: Spanish Through the Media

Humanities Research Librarian

John Glover's picture
John Glover
(804) 828-6555
Cabell Library, Room 121F

Want to meet to talk about your research, teaching, or projects? Please get in touch.

Spanish Language Films

Ask Us


Welcome to the course guide for Spanish 311: Spanish Through the Media, where you'll find a variety of resources to support your research. Some of the tools listed here are paid for by VCU Libraries and some are free online.

Foreign Language Searching

There are fundamentally two different approaches to locating material in languages other than English within most databases you will use in U.S. academic libraries.

  • Native language searching. This method involves searching using keywords from the language in which you would like to find material ("internacionales," "gesellschaft," "designo," etc.). This method will return results regardless of what widgets are available to limit your search results: drop-down menus, radio buttons, and the like. It may occasionally, however, return items with foreign language abstracts or item record information in other languages... but for which the full text is in English.

  • Search widgets. Many databases, but not all, have tools built in to the interface that will let you limit your results to those in a particular language ("English," "German," "Spanish," etc.). These languages are sometimes listed by their English names, sometimes  their own. This method may appear easier than native language searching, especially for beginning searchers... but it may return results that are translated from another language than English, partially in a language other than English, or are mistakenly identified as being in a particular language.

Spanish Language Dictionaries

The quality of your searching will improve dramatically if you use the rights words, spelled properly. For this reason, a Spanish-English/English Spanish dictionary may be useful. Here are links to a few online dictionaries. Spanish-English/English-Spanish dictionaries can be found in print on the first floor of Cabell library in the reference section or on the 4th floor of Cabell Library in the stacks around call number PC4640.

News Databases

These sources are good places to find news in Spanish. Some of them allow you to select Spanish-language sources via widgets (drop down menus, etc.), but all of them can be searched using keywords in Spanish.


Podcasts are audio or film files, usually syndicated online via RSS, normally focused on a particular subject. Anyone can start a podcast about any subject, much as with a blog, tumblr, etc. so consider the quality of the source, and realize that (e.g.) there may be a substantial difference between some person ranting about the DREAM Act from their basement in the middle of nowhere and a slick, well-edited news podcast on the DREAM Act distributed by a major network. Just like you evaluate books or articles you need to do the same with podcasts.

Free Online News

In addition to VCU Libraries databases, you can also access Spanish-language news online from many major publications news providers. Below is a very small sample of the many Spanish-language news sources available from around the world.