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Simpson | Stafford | Special Collections

Theatre and Dance: Locating Articles

A research guide to finding books, articles, and other resources in Theatre and Dance

Using Databases

Databases provide access to published material in:

  • magazines
  • newspapers
  • scholarly journals
  • books
  • and other valuable information sources.

Magazines vs. Journals

Magazines are periodicals that are generally popular in nature, unlike journals, which are usually more scholarly and specialized.  Here are some differences between the two:


Magazine: Glossy; pictures often in color.
Journal: More serious look; few pictures, if any.

♦  Content

Magazine: Current events; general interest. 
Journal: More specialized; research topics.

♦  Audience

Magazine: General public.
Journal: Scholars and researchers in a particular field.

♦  Style

Magazine: Written for the average reader.
Journal: Written for others in the field; shows research.

♦  Foot / Endnotes and Bibliographies

Magazine: Few notes, if any.  No bibliographies.
Journal: Includes notes and sometimes bibliographies.

♦  Advertisements

Magazine: Many ads, often in color. 
Journal: Few or no ads.  If any, they are usually for books.

Citing Your Sources

While writing research papers, you may need to:

  List your sources in bibliographies or works cited, and

♦  Provide either footnotes or endnotes.

Here is a link to the UMW Libraries' Guide to Citing Resources.

Theatre and Dance Databases

Academic Search Complete (approximately 1880s to date)
Provides abstracts and full-text articles from more than 10,000 books, scholarly journals, magazines, newspapers, and reference works on a wide variety of topics.
Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals (1934 to date).
Indexes more than 700 American and international periodicals in architecture and design.
Gale Literary Sources  (Previously known as Literature Resources from Gale)
Provides access to critical and biographical information on living and deceased authors from around the world.
An extensive compilation of literary commentary, covering "centuries of critiques on authors and their works that span all time periods, types of literature, and regions." Includes criticism on drama, poetry, short stories, children's literature, Shakespeare, the classical and medieval eras, and works published from 1400-1800 and 1800 to 1900.

MLA International Bibliography (1926 to date)
A comprehensive index to articles and books on language, literature, and the dramatic arts.
Provides citations to pre-1642 documents relating to London-area theatres, showing "how information produced at the time of the early London theatres was transmitted in later years."

Other Useful Databases

American Antiquarian Society Historical Collections (1691-1877)
Provides digital access to more than 6,500 American magazines and journals published between 1691 and 1877.  (Because all issues of bound volumes were digitized, some periodicals beyond 1877 are included.)
Provides digitized images of more than 1,000 American magazines, journals, and newspapers.
Art Full Text (1984 to date; full-text coverage begins in 1995)
Indexes a broad range of some 600 magazines and journals in the arts. See also Art Index Retrospective.
Predecessor to Art Full Text.

A collection of images "from some of the world's leading museums, photo archives, scholars, and artists in one easily-navigated repository.
Biography and Genealogy Master Index
An index to millions of biographical sketches in hundreds of reference books and other sources. To use the index, 1) Look up your name. 2) Note the various titles that contain information on the person. 3) Use the Libraries' online catalog to locate the reference works. An excellent place to begin biographical research on living and deceased persons from around the world.
Dissertations and Theses Full Text
"Offers full text for most of the dissertations added since 1997 and strong retrospective full text coverage for older graduate works."
Indexes nearly 1,200 periodicals.
Humanities Full Text (indexing: 1984 to date; select full text: 1995 to date)
Indexes some 600 journals in the humanities.
Humanities International Complete (coverage varies; approximately 1985 to date)
Provides the full text of hundreds of magazines, journals, books, and other works.
JSTOR (archived publications from the 1800s to the last 1-5 years)
A full-text collection of scholarly journals in a wide variety of disciplines in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences. To focus your search, use the Advanced Search and the "narrow by discipline" and "language" limiters.
MasterFile Premier (coverage varies by publication)
Furnishes full-text coverage of thousands of reference books, biographies, and primary source documents.
A multidisciplinary database that provides the full text from a variety of the company's full-text databases, including Education, General Science, Humanities, Readers' Guide, Social Sciences, and Business. When available, the full text is included from these databases: Applied Science & Technology, Art, Biological & Agricultural Index, Index to Legal Periodicals & Books, and Library Literature & Information Science. Coverage dates: Indexing, 1982+; Abstracting, 1984+; select full text, 1994+ (start dates for full-text coverage vary from journal to journal within a database).
Project Muse (coverage varies; mostly 1995 to date)
Provides online access to more than 400 scholarly journals in the humanities, arts, and social sciences.
Proquest Databases (coverage varies)
By clicking on "view by subject" and then de-selecting all of the selected databases, users can pick and choose resources or search by broad categories.
Provides full-text and full-image articles for the New York Times (1851 to within the last several years) the Washington Post (1877 to 1991), and the Chicago Tribune (1849-1987). Users can search the newspapers separately or together.

Having trouble accessing a database?

Please view our troubleshooting guide for quick fixes and more information.