Theatre & Dance Resources: Databases


Flight of the Heart, Ithaca College Production 2015, photo by Sheryl D. Sinkow

Journals by Title

Note: The databases below allow you to search by topic for articles in thousands of newspapers, magazines, and journals.  If you wish to see full-text availability for a particular publication, use the "Journals" search on the Library home page (just to the right of the default "Catalog" search).  You can also use the following links to browse full-text journals in Drama or DanceEnglish literature or American literature, as well as Decorative ArtsArchitecture, and Arts & Crafts.

IC Library Databases (Articles)

Performing Arts Periodicals Database

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     This is our dedicated database for Theatre and Dance. If you open up the drop-down menu for either of the top two search slots, you can switch the default "anywhere except full text" to more targeted search fields. In particular, note that you can search for a specific "person" or performing arts "company" or, best of all, a "creative work." This allows you to run a Subject search on the title of any play or dance piece.  Whereas a keyword search on the title of a creative work will retrieve any mention of that title--no matter how fleeting--a Subject search on the title will only return articles that are substantially about that work.
     Also note the Subject search slots under "More Search Options." The "look up" links to broad and narrow subjects to the right of these are especially useful in finding the appropriate Subject Heading for your topic. The  "look up broad subjects" can be very temperamental, but "look up narrow subjects" works well. Just type in Theater or Dance or Design for extensive lists of the available Subject searches in those areas--or try more specific terms relevant to your topic.
     Finally, notice that under "Document Type" you can target artcles, interviews, or a wide variety of reviews: performance, theatre, film, television, or recording. Under "Document Feature" you can likewise target articles with illustrations or photographs.

MLA International Bibliography

MLA International Bibliography :
    MLAIB provides the most complete and fully indexed coverage of articles and books on modern literatures, linguistics, folklore, rhetoric, and composition from 1925 to the present. There is ample full text provided by ProQuest, as well as links to full-text articles in JSTOR and Project Muse. Full text from other IC databases is also readily available via the "GetIt" links below article citations.

     Because books, book chapters/essays, and dissertations will usually not be available full text, you may wish to limit your search to "Journal article" under "Source type."
     "Author's Work" and "Author as Subject" will be especially helpful search fields at finding literary criticism. Author's Work field allows you to run a Subject search on any play, guaranteeing topical focus, not just mention of the play. And for additional search field options either click on "Show more fields," or, for the complete list, open the drop-down menus to the right of the "Anywhere" default for the top three rows of search slots. This list includes both "Literary Influence"--who influenced a particular author you have entered--and "Literary Source"--who was influenced by that particular author.

JSTOR

 JSTOR :
     This database has good full-text coverage of theater studies and drama criticism. There is no Subject searching, so remember to put titles and authors' names in quotation marks to search them as Keyword phrases--and leave authors' names in the normal first-name last-name order. Set "Limit" to "Article."
     JSTOR access to journal articles begins 2-4 years prior to the present--so don't look for any criticism from the last couple of years--but coverage always extends back to the first issue of each journal--in some cases into the 19th century and beyond. This allows you, for instance, to retrieve articles responding to the early works of Eugene O'Neill in the 1920s and 30s. Set the date range "Limit" below the search slots to target an era.

ProQuest & Academic Search Premier

 ProQuest Research LibraryAcademic Search Premier :
     Both of these comprehensive databases cover the performing arts, including drama criticism and preformance reviews--much of it full text. In running searches on playwrights directors, or actors, don't settle for a Keyword search on the individual's name, as this will retrieve too many articles in which the he or she is only mentioned. Instead use the specialized Subject search each provides. In ProQest enter the name, last name first, in the "Person" search field (open drop-down menu under default "All fields"). In Academic Search Premier open the "Select a Field" drop-down menu and search the name, last name first, in the "People" field.
     In both databases the titles of shows should be searched as Keyword phrases, so be sure to put them in quotation marks. (Note: in ProQuest you can run a Subject search on a play title, but it will retrieve only newspaper reviews of particular productions--not scholarly criticism.)
In Academic Search Premier you can set a "Document Type" limit and choose "Entertainment review"--if you want a performance review--or "Literary Criticism"--if you want scholarly analysis of a play. If your subject is a contemporary writer/director/performer, you might try "Interview." In ProQuest you can set "Document type" to "Review"or "Interview."

General OneFile

 General OneFile :
     Another comprehensive database with considerable literary criticism, but with a default Subject search. Whatever Subject Heading you search, you will be offered links to "Subdivisions" and "Related Subjects." Take a look at the dozens of "Related Subjects" offered for an initial search on "Theater" or "Dance."
     Once you've discovered the Subject that best matches your interest, look at the "Subdivisions" for it. The standard "subdivisions" for General OneFile Include "Economic Aspects," "Employment," "Forecasts and Trends," "History," "International Aspects," "Management," "Political Aspects," "Social Aspects," and "Statistics." If the retrievals for these categories are still too broad, use the the "Search within these Results" slot at the upper left to enter some Keywords.
     If you want to focus on a particular play or show, use the "Advanced search," enter the title, and select "Named Work" from the drop-down menu of search fields.
Note that below the "Search within these Results" slot on the upper left of your retrievals there is a "Narrow results by" slot and one of the options is "Document type." These document types include "Theater Review" and "Dance Review."

Note: Whenever you open your first page of retrievals in General OneFile, you are viewing ONLY the articles from magazines. If you wish to see your retrievals from more scholarly sources you must click on the "Academic Journals" tab at the top.

LexisNexis

      LexisNexis Academic  News:  Click on the "Search by Content Type" and choose "All News."
    Offering a keyword search of 100% full text from a vast number of national and international newspapers, this database can overwhelm you with large retrievals, so 
use commands to target articles in which your topic words are mentioned early or mentioned often.
     Use the hlead command (headline and lead paragraphs) to target articles in which your topic words occur in the prime news-story position of headline or first paragraphs. For example: hlead(theat! and fund!) will retrieve just the articles in which the search terms are used in the headline or first paragraphs. Note: the term or terms to which you want this command to apply must be put in parentheses after hlead, with no space between. Also note: the ! is a truncation symbol: theat! will retrieve theater or theatre, theaters or theatres, and fund! will retrieve fund, funds, funding, funded, and fundraising.
     Use the altleast command to target articles in which your topic words occur a set number of times. For example: atleast5(“community theater”) will retrieve only the articles where this phrase is used at least 5 times—indicating that it must be a main topic. You can plug in any number after atleast—atleast3 or atleast7. Note: the term or terms to which you want this command to apply must be put in parentheses with no space between the number you choose and the first parenthesis.
     Use the date range offered under Advanced Options. Because this is a large database of 100% full text, one of the most effective ways to retrieve fewer than 1000 hits is to set up a time frame. Note: if you use the calendar icons to set beginning and end dates, you need to choose a year, a month, and a day for each. Without the day, the date won’t register.
Less finicky is the drop-down that let's you choose a week, month, year, or a two-year time frame

     LexisNexis Academic  Law Reviews: Click on the "Search by Content Type" tab and choose "Law Reviews." In order not to be overwhelmed by articles in which your search terms are mentioned in passing but are not the prime focus, use the atleast command to target articles in which your topic words are required to appear at least a certain number of times. For example, atleast5(actors and union!) will retrieve only the articles in which those terms are used repeatedly. Note: the term or terms to which you want this command to apply must be put in parentheses with no space between the number you choose and the first parenthesis. Also note: The ! is a truncation symbol: union! will retrieve union, unions, unionize, or unionization.
     Use the date range offered under Advanced Options. Because this is a large database of 100% full text, one of the most effective ways to retrieve fewer than 1000 hits is to set up a time frame. Note: if you use the calendar icons to set beginning and end dates, you need to choose a year, a month, and a day for each. Without the day, the date won’t register. Less finicky is the drop-down that let's you choose a week, month, year, or a two-year time frame.

New York Times Historical

 New York Times (1851-2013) :
     This database can retrieve articles about theater, dance, and performers back to the 19th century.  It provides the full text of the New York Times 1851-2006 and allows you to retrieve, for example, an article on "Ibsen's Method" from 1889 or a review of an Isadora Duncan performance from 1898. Begin by switching the search field from the default "Citation and document text" to "Citation and Abstract," since this helps ensure your search terms will be the main topic of the articles. And take advantage of the date range limits below the search slots if you want to focus on a particular event or time period.

Literary Reference Center

     Literary Reference Center : The emphasis here is on articles from a wide range of reference resources, including Magill's Survey of American LiteratureCyclopedia of World LiteratureContinuum Encyclopedia of British LiteratureMasterplots, etc.  There is also access to the Critical Insights book series published by Salem Press, each volume dedicated to a single author or a single work. Both the reference works and the Critical Insights series provide very basic biography and interpretation, but these are supplemented by selected scholarly articles.
     The simplest approach may be to enter a single author or a particular work in the "Most Studied Authors" or "Most Studied Works" sections of the "Browse" box. An Author or Work record will offer you "Related Information" categories such as "Literary Criticism," "Reference Books," "Biography," and "Plot Summaries." 
     In addition to literary criticism and reference, there is a wide range of full-text literary works supplied (mostly) by Project Gutenberg.

ARTbibliographies Modern

ARTbibliographies Modern (ABM) :
     Check the Thesaurus for suitable Subject Headings. Among those availabe are here are Theater, Stage sets, Theatrical costume, and Theater and art.

Music Periodicals Database

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     There are many articles accessible by a Subject search on Musical Theater or Film & stage music. Check the "Look up narrow Subjects" link for other options.

Where's the Full Text for this Article??

     Few databases offer 100% full text.  Most retrieve a mix of full text articles and article "citations"--article title, author(s), publication info, and usually an "abstract" or one-prargraph summary of the content.  When a citation makes you want the full text, look below it for this icon: 
                                                                  
     Clicking "GETIT" checks (almost all) the IC Library's other databases to see if any offers the full text of the article--or if the Library has a print subscription to the journal in which the article appeared. 
 
  • "GETIT" will usually find the full text in another database and open it in a new window.  
  • If none of our databases can access the full text but we have a print subsciption to the journal, "GETIT" will retrieve the Library catalog record for the journal so that you can see if the date of the article falls within the date range we have on hand.
  • If full text is not available from any database or from a print subsciption, "GETIT" will provide a link to the IC Library's Interlibrary Loan.  Log in (same as your IC e-mail)--and set up your account if you've never used it before.  "GETIT" will have populated the article request form with all the necessary information and you simply submit the request elecrtonically.  Most articles are supplied as digital files and will be sent to you via e-mail when they arrive.

Contact Us

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Jennifer Richards

Fine Arts Librarian
(607) 274-1199

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Citation Help

MLA Citation

MLA is the citation style used by most disciplines in the Humanities. Here is my guide to the latest (2016) update of the MLA style.