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Archer Library



Theatre Resources: Books

Use this guide as a starting point for researching topics in theatre.

Call number ranges

The "P" call numbers are on the 5th floor. 



Drama (i.e., literature)

American drama
     PS330-353 (general works about)
     PS623-635 (drama anthologies)

British drama
     PR621-739 (general works about)
     PR1241-1273 (drama anthologies)

Ancient Greek literature

Individual plays are shelved in the collection based on the author's nationality. For example:

     PL = Japanese literature
     PQ = Italian literature
     PR = British literature
     PS = American literature
     PT = German literature

If you know the author's name, then conduct an AUTHOR search in the library catalog to determine the call number for each individual play. Or, instead, conduct a TITLE search using the title of the play.

Library Catalogs

Ashland University Library Catalog

AU Library Catalog:  

OhioLINK Catalog

OhioLINK Catalog:  
About OhioLINK:
  • OhioLINK is a consortium of more than 100 Ohio academic libraries.  
  • You may request that books be sent to the AU Library or to any OhioLINK pickup location.
  • Your library record, including OhioLINK loans, is maintained by the AU Library. You will find a quick link to My Library Account on the library main page. Check the status of your requests or renew items there.
  • It normally takes 3-5 business days for items requested from OhioLINK to arrive at the designated pick-up location. You may return items to any OhioLINK library.
  • You will be emailed when OhioLINK requests are ready for you to pick up at the library you designated.
  • To request articles use the interlibrary loan article request form.

 List and Map of OhioLINK libraries

 Go to the WorldCat Catalog

Includes books and other media in libraries worldwide. Enter your zipcode to find availability in a library near you.  To request books not available through OhioLINK use the interlibrary loan book request form.

Search Tips for Library Catalogs

 Search Tips

Keyword Search

  •  Uses natural language. Type a word or phrase.  Use only simple words and phrases--no sentences.

  • With keyword you can search for simply “germany”

  • Expand your results by using OR -- (germany OR german OR berlin)

  • Focus your results by using AND-- german AND identity

  • Put quotes or parentheses around phrases when you want to retrieve all of the words, in the exact order given.  Example: " berlin wall”

  • You can use an * to retrieve multiple variants of a word with one efficient search. Example: fantast* retrieves results with fantasy, fantistic, fantastical, fantastik

  • You can also use combined searches such as  (german* OR berlin) AND "motion pictures" AND wenders

  • It can be useful to start with a keyword search and use the results to identify the subject headings to use in a Subject search.

Subject Search

·     Requires specific Library of Congress (LC) Subject Headings. The words have to be typed in the exact order used by Library of Congress. You cannot use AND or OR.  Note: In the subject headings, the word theatre is spelled with an -erending, not -re.

Examples of relevant Library of Congress Subject Headings  

Acting -- History -- To 1500
Afro-American dramatists
Blocking (Theater)
Costume design
Deaf, Theater for the


Reference Books-Theatre

Reference books are a great place to start your search.  Reference books provide an overview of a topic, typically just a few pages. If you take a few moments to skim a reference book, you'll get some great ideas on the key points on your topic that you can use for deeper research.  

Reference books are shelved on the main floor of the library.  The books must be used in the library, but because the entries are so brief, it is usually takes just a few minutes to jot down a few notes or make a list of relevant keywords.

Tip #1 -- Language

The term "drama" usually refers to the actual written text of plays. The term "theatre" refers to performance and production of plays. Some people will use the terms interchangeably (ex. a book titled A History of American Drama might emphasize the history of theatrical performance).

Published editions of plays often include introductions, prefaces, or similar sorts of critical essays written by the playwright, a critic, or other observer. So it can be useful to do a TITLE search in the library catalog using the play's title in order to locate additional copies of the play.

You should also conduct a KEYWORD search in the library catalog using the play's title. This type of search will locate the title if it appears in the abstract or contents information.

Usually the most efficient way to conduct a catalog search for drama criticism is to conduct a SUBJECT search using the playwright's name (last name first, first name last).

Subject headings for drama criticism usually include a) the playwright's name and the phrase "criticism and interpretation." For example:

  • Williams, Tennessee, 1911-1983 -- Criticism and interpretation.
  • Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616 -- Criticism and interpretation.

In subject headings the playwright's name may also be followed by the word "bibliography." For example:

  • Miller, Arthur, 1915-2005 -- Bibliography.

Biographies of playwrights usually receive the playwright's name itself as a subject heading.



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