Frequently Asked Reference Questions

Cliffs Notes

Example Questions That Can Be Answered Using this FAQ

  • Does the IPL have Cliffs Notes for "A Tale of Two Cities" on its site?
  • Where can I find plot summaries and/or other materials to help me understand a particular book?

The IPL does not make Cliffs Notes available on its site because these publications are protected by copyright law. The only way to legally access online versions of Cliffs Notes for a particular literary work is to purchase them through the Official CliffsNotes web site.

Alternatively, check with your local public and/or college library to see if they have Cliffs Notes in their collections. There are several other similar publications that your library might have, such as Barron’s BookNotes(which you can also legally access, for free, online at PinkMonkey.com — a site also offers free access to their own MonkeyNotes), Monarch Notes, and Masterplots.

Finally, there are also a growing number of sites coming from outside the traditional publishing industry where you can find study materials for literary works. Here are a couple of note. ( Be aware, though, that some of these sites don’t tell you much about who wrote or reviewed these study guides, so they may not be as authoritative as the more well-known ones we mentioned above):

  • SparkNotes — these online study guides were written by students at Harvard University. Registration (free) required to access the texts of the guides.
  • NovelGuide — literary analysis materials for a number of novels, from a company called IGD Solutions.

For links to more sites like these, try the About.com Guide to Homework/Study Tips: Book Summaries and Study Guides.