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Theatre and Dance: Navigating the Internet

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

Evaluating Websites

Criteria for evaluating websites include:

  • Accuracy
  • Authority
  • Coverage
  • Currency
  • Objectivity

Remember to examine websites carefully before using them for research purposes.  If you still aren't sure, ask a librarian or your professor for assistance.

Using Virtual Libraries

Virtual libraries . . .

♦  Provide directories of carefully selected Web resources.

♦  Include annotations (summaries) of the selected websites.

♦  Are usually maintained by librarians or other information specialists.

♦  Furnish the quality control that is lacking in web search engines.

Users can usually browse by subject or search.  For example, see:

Finding Dulcinea: Librarian of the Internet. (If the search feature does not work, try this link.)

See also the Library of Congress's Virtual Reference Shelf, which includes "selected online resources for research," and Alcove Nine: An Annotated List of Reference Websites.

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.

Directories and Guides

A directory of resources compiled by librarians at the Internet Public Library.
 
A directory of resources compiled by librarians at the Internet Public Library.
 
An annotated bibliography of websites maintained by librarians at the Internet Public Library.
 
Part of a Literary Resources Collection maintained by an English professor at Rutgers University.
 
An annotated research guide maintained by Ken McCoy at Stetson University.
 
A list of online resources covering dance history maintained by the Society of Dance History Scholars.
 
Maintained by Jack Wolcott, Professor Emeritus of Theatre at University of Washington, this site includes included annotated links to online research sources in all areas of theatre history.

Dance

A collection of from the Library of Congress focusing on social dance in the United States.
Covers a variety of Renaissance and Baroque dances.
 
An online journal dedicated to dance. The online companion to the journal, DanceView.

Costume Design, History, Dress, and Fashion

America from the Great Depression to World War II: 1935-1945
A collection of 170,000 images from the collections of the Library of Congress. Search by keyword or use the subject index to see a list of alphabetized subject links to photographs.

André Studios, 1930-1941:Fashion Drawings & Sketches in the Collections of FIT and the New York Public Library
"The result of a partnership between The New York Public Library and the Fashion Institute of Technology, this site aims to inspire today’s designers while also documenting the significant role of New York’s fashion industry in the history of 20th-century fashion."
 
A collection of images from the collection of the Library of Congress, including portraits. Search by keyword or use the subject index to see a list of alphabetized subject links to photographs.
 
The Chicago History Museum includes more than 50,000 artifcats from the mid-18th century to the present.
 
A searchable archive of historic clothing in the collection of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, including images and text.
 
An annotated listing of high-quality web site, maintained by librarians at the Internet Public Library.
 
This site hosts 800 web pages and 2,500 historical images of fashion. The site also provides full-text fashion articles from magazines and handbooks, portfolios of costume and fashion designs, costume and fashion websites, and resources arranged by topic and time period. Note that a subscription fee is required to access these features.
 
Covers various aspects of dress from the mid-18th century to the mid-19th century..  Maintained by the Western Michigan University Libraries.
 
A comprehensive site of sites related to various aspects of theatrical costume.  Of particular use is the "Costume History" link on the left side of the page. Maintained by a theatre professor at the University of Alaska.
 
A collection of resources on the Colonial Era, Post-Revolution Era, Civil War Era, Broadway, the Modern Stage, and Costume History.
 
Covers period costume from the Middle Ages to the early twentieth century. Includes pictures, articles and "authentic period patterns."
 
More than 725 primary source photographs of American people (including portraits) and places from the collections of the Library of Congress.
 
Reprints the 1931 book English Costumes of the Eighteenth Century (text by James Laver; illustrations by Iris Brooke).
 
Includes an A-Z listing as well as entries arranged in these categories:  The Ancient World, Early Cultures, European Culture, and Modern World.
 
A dictionary of terms "drawn from a number of sources."
 
Contains "images of royal and aristocratic women" from roughly the Renaissance (1500) to the Belle Epoque (1914).
 
An online version of the classic costume history text covering clothing in Europe and the East,1861-1880. Includes pictures.

The Journal of Dress History
"The academic publication of The Association of Dress Historians, through which scholars can articulate original research in a constructive, interdisciplinary, and peer–reviewed environment."
 
A guide produced by the National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, and Minute Man National Historical Park in Concord, Massachusetts.

London College of Fashion: Victor Stiebel Archive
"The London College of Fashion Victor Stiebel Archive includes three sketch books: Sketch Book of 1960-1961, Sketch Book of 1962 and 1963, and Victor Stiebel Ground Floor Collections, 1961-1963."
 
Selections of costume drawings designed for various Paris Music Halls from 1920-1938, including the works of designer Freddy Wittop as well as costume design sketches for Josephine Baker. From the Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript collection at the University of Georgia.
 
A collection of images from the collections of the Library of Congress. Search by keyword or use the subject index to see a list of alphabetized subject links to photographs.
 
Articles from the online Smithsonian cover both current and historical aspects of fashion.
 
Provides a "quick reference for the identification of the basic uniforms, accoutrements and small arms used by the American soldier from the period of the American Revolution to the operations in Iraq and Afghanistan."
 
An online exhibition that featurs the works of two "masters of the haute couture," Charles Frederick Worth and Main Rousseau Bocher.  The exhibition explores the "garments' histories, details, and construction from the outside-in."

Scenic Design and History

A collection of 170,000 images from the collection of the Library of Congress. Search by keyword or use the subject index to see a list of alphabetized subject links to photographs.
 
"A virtual reality tour of Greek and Roman theatre architecture."
This is a collection of 29,000+ images of architecture, décor and related subjects from the Library of Congress's Gottscho-Schleinser Collection.
This site, maintained by a Theatre professor, is devoted to the development of scenic spectacle in Europe from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries.
A collection of historic American buildings--such as those designed by Frank Lloyd Wright--and engineering structures from the collection of the Library of Congress. Covers 1933 to the present.
A table showing the development of furniture styles from 1560-1950.
 
An annotated bibliography of websites maintained by librarians at the Internet Public Library.
A collection of images from the collection of the Library of Congress. Search by keyword or use the subject index to see a list of alphabetized subject links to photographs.

Theatre History

A photographic archive of the archaeological sites in Athens, which includes brief essays on each of the sites and monuments.
 
"A virtual reality tour of Greek and Roman theatre architecture."
 
An online encyclopedia dedicated to Canadian Theatre.
 
An electronic on-line journal dedicated to Greek and Roman drama in performance from the University of London.
 
This site, maintained by a Theatre professor, is devoted to the development of scenic spectacle in Europe from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries.
 
database that organizes information on "the performance of Early Modern English drama" in London from 1576-1642, authored by Tom Dale Keever, graduate fellow at Columbia University.

English Actors at the Turn of the Twentieth Century
Primary source photographs originally published in Players of the Day, circa 1902.
 
A collection from the Library of Congress highlighting over 13,000 images of items from the Federal Theatre Project in America from 1935-1939. Includes scripts, designs, production photographs, posters, and records of the project administrator Hallie Flanagan.
 
The author of this site notes that the information provided on the life and works of Cohan are taken from works in the public domain, but there are no citations for those sources.
 
This extensive archive of all things Gilbert and Sullivan includes full-text copies of their plays as well as some scholarship. Also included are other light operas and musicals of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
 
An archive of theatre postcards of actors from 1880-1920, with biographical and performance information on all the performers. Some of the biographical information is documented.
 
Includes essays on the origin of theater, ancient theater, and medieval theater. Also covers Italian, British, Spanish, French, Asian, American, and modern theater.
 
This site, devoted to the study of Classics, includes English copies of Greek and Roman plays, as well as first folio editions of Shakespeare and the complete works of Christopher Marlowe. It also has extensive sections on the history of the classical world.
 
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."
 
Facsimile copies of seventeenth-century Shakespeare prompt books from the University of Virginia, with preface and general information provided by the editor G. Blakemore Evans.
 
Talkin' Broadway--Broadway 101
Part of the Talkin' Broadway site, this is an illustrated history of Broadway (1900-1950) subdivided by decades and written by Robert Rusie.
 
Maintained by Jack Wolcott, Professor Emeritus of Theatre at University of Washington, this site includes included annotated links to online research sources in all areas of theatre history.
 
The official website of the American Theater Wing, which presents the Tony awards, includes history of the award, lists of winners, and other articles and photos related to the award.

University of Bristol: Theatre Collection
The Theatre Collection at the University of Bristol is one of the "world's largest archives of British theatre history and live art."  The collection is organized into three sections, including Theatre, Live Art, and Library.

Criticism and Reviews

An e-zine of theatre reviews, feature articles, and annotated theatre listings from productions in major American cities and London.
 
Hunter College theatre department's online journal of critical writing about the theatre, including New York City theatre reviews and essays on various contemporary theatre subjects. Includes a searchable archive.
 
A collection of over 25,000 digitized books freely available from a site at the University of Pennsylvania, including some dramatic criticism. Most of the titles are out of copyright. The most effective way to search is to click on "Subjects," then "Fine Arts," and then search by Library of Congress Prefix for the subject you want. For example, search by "PN" for dramatic criticism.
 
A non-profit site that seeks to provide reviews, commentary, criticism and interactive discussion on contemporary theatre productions and issues, covering both Broadway and off-Broadway as well as U.S. regional theatre. There is a searchable archive.
 
A site primarily to sell theatre tickets, it also includes theatre reviews, theatre news, and staff columnists writing on various contemporary theatre issues.

Online Theatre Publications

Hosted by Iowa State University, EServer is an open [free] archive of articles and essays covering several subjects in the Humanities, broken into subject collections, including: "Drama," "Art & Architecture," and "Music." There is also a link to The Mamet Review for critical research into works of David Mamet. Not all articles list an author.

Play Scripts

Online English versions of classical Greek and Roman works as well as some Eastern authors, such as Confucius. Use the "Browse Here" link.
 
Online editions of Shakespeare's plays and poems from the University of Victoria, British Columbia. The site also includes critical and textual analysis of some works.
 
A searchable catalogue of the play titles licensed by Music Theatre International. Search by author, title, cast size or music style.
 
This site, devoted to the study of Classics, includes English copies of Greek and Roman plays, as well as first folio editions of Shakespeare and the complete works of Christopher Marlowe. It also has extensive sections on the history of the classical world.
 
A searchable catalogue of the play titles licensed by Dramatists Play Service. Search by author, title, cast size or genre (play, one act, musical).
 
A searchable catalogue of the play titles licensed by Samuel French. Search by author, title, cast size or genre (play, one-act, musical).
 
A searchable catalogue of the play titles licensed by Dramatic Publishing Company. Search by author, title, cast size or genre (play, one-act, musical).
 
An alphabetical listing of the musicals available from Tams-Whitmark. No searchable database is available.

Performance

A site with downloadable clips of English dialects from non-native speakers. The site is in English “and you will find both English language dialects and English spoken in the accents of other languages.” Useable with both PC and Macintosh formats.

Theatre Genres

A multimedia collection from the Library of Congress. Search by keyword or use the subject index to see a list of alphabetized subject links.
 
This extensive archive of all things Gilbert and Sullivan includes full-text copies of their plays as well as some scholarship. Also included are other light operas and musicals of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
 
This site is a "cyber encyclopedia of Musical Theatre, TV and Film." It includes biographies of performers, authors, and composers, as well as information on productions.
 
A reprint of the 1855 book Negro Minstrelsy: Ancient and Modern by J. J. Trux.
 
From Stanford University, this site provides libretti, performance histories, synopses, and discographies of several operas.
 
A site with links to information regarding traditions of puppetry around the world.

Knowledge Commons

Artists are invited to "provide feedback, learning, expertise, frustration, and vision—in an effort to enliven the fields of theatre and performance to the aspiring and established artist alike."

Google Tricks

  • Use quotation marks for exact words or phrases.
    • For example, “global warming” (to search global warming as a phrase rather than two separate words).
  • Use an asterisk as a wildcard or a placeholder. 
    • For example, universit* (for university or universities); “a * saved is a * earned”
  • Use OR to search for one word or the other.  Useful for synonyms. 
    • For example, attorneys OR lawyers
  • Use site: to search within a site or domain (no space after colon).
    • For example, “global warming” site:nytimes.com; climatology site:.gov
  • Use a dash to exclude a word or phrase from a search. 
    •  For example, cougar speed –car; “global warming” –site:wikipedia.org
  • Use allintitle: to show results with word(s) in the title (no space after colon).
    • For example, allintitle:“global warming”
      • You can also use allinurl to find websites with words in the URL.
  • Use related: to search for sites similar to ones you know (no space after colon).
    • For example, related:nbc.com
  • Use link: to find sites linked to a particular web page (no space after colon).
    • For example, link:freelancestar.com; link:pbs.org
  •  Use filetype: to restrict results to certain file type (no space after colon).
    • For example, climatology filetype:pdf
  • Use two periods without spaces to search for a number range, such as dates, prices, and measurements.
    • For example, “test scores” 2013..2014; microwaves $100..$300