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TH 418/419 History of the Theatre: Search Tips

Search tips

The tips below can be used in book catalogs,databases and, to a certain extent, with search engines such as Google.

Keyword or Subject Search


Keyword Search

You can use these tips in a keyword search-

  •  Uses natural language. Type a word or phrase.  Use only simple words and phrases--no sentences. Don't use vague terms such as "pros and cons,"  "the best of...,"   " the emotional effects of...."

  • With keyword you can search for simply theatre

  • Expand your results by using OR -- (theater  OR theatre OR drama)      OR= more results

  • Focus your results by using AND--  musical AND broadway                                       AND=fewer result
  • Put quotes or parentheses around phrases when you want to retrieve all of the words, in the exact order given.  Example: "proscenium arch"
  • You can use an * to retrieve multiple variants of a word with one efficient search. Example: fantast* retrieves results with fantasy, fantistic, fantastical, fantastik

  • It can be useful to start with a keyword search and use the results to identify the appropriate 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. 

Examples of relevant Library of Congress Subject Headings  

Acting -- History

American Drama--20th Century --History and criticism

Drama -- History and criticism [literary criticism]

Drama -- Technique

Dramatic criticism [theatre criticism]

Dramatists, American --20th Century --Interviews

Latin drama -- History and criticism

Musicals--New York (State)--New York--Dictionaries

Theater -- History 


Call numbers

Books with call numbers starting with the letter P are shelved 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

Latin Drama (Roman)


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.



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