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THEA 4220/6220: Theatre & Society (Carlson): Library Research

Choosing Sources

For this project, you need to find scholarly books and scholarly articles. 

Books are often better for historical or cultural context: How to locate books
Articles may offer more focused information if ones have been written about your topic or related topics: How to locate articles

Locating Books

GIL-Find (Books & More) is the UGA Libraries' catalog for locating books, ebooks, films, and music in the Main Library, Science Library, and Special Collections. You can also search Multi-Search (the default on the library homepage), then filter the format to both Books and Ebooks.

Search tips:

To find historical or critical books about a play, search for the play in GIL Find and change "anywhere in the record" to "in subject." Getting few or even zero matches? Try these techniques: (1) Change it back to "anywhere in the record" to also search titles and contents. (2) Search for untranslated titles and name variations, e.g., "The Imaginary Invalid" as "Le malade imaginaire" or Sor Juana as Sister Juana Ines de la Cruz.

For topics beyond a specific play, use the Library of Congress subject headings in a combined search with your playwright, city/country, or time period:

Theater history subject headings Social and historical context subject headings
Audiences Social conditions
Stage history Social life and customs
Dramatic production Political and social views
Political plays Manners and customs
Theater - religious aspects Clothing and dress

The ways time periods are cataloged may be hard to predict. Your best bet is to find one good book and look at those subject headings. Examples:

History during Aristophanes' time: Greece - History - to 1500
History during Moliere's time: Paris - History - 17th century

Requesting and checking out books:

  • Request print books from other libraries in the University System of Georgia (see GIL Express instructions). Interlibrary Loan can borrow books from libraries outside of the USG.
  • Request books from UGA's collections and pick them up at any campus library see Book Retrieval instructions).
  • Not sure if the book has what you need? See if Google Books shows a preview.
  • Check books out for 28 days (undergraduates) or 125 days (graduate students), and they will be renewed automatically twice if nobody else has placed a hold on them. See what you have checked out in your account.

Locating Articles

Where to search for articles:

Multi-Search is a combined search of around 130 GALILEO databases with strong interdisciplinary coverage of articles and books. It also includes non-scholarly publications like newspapers, so use the filters to limit to academic journals and books.

If you are getting too many irrelevant results from Multi-Search, try searching a subject-specific database such as the MLA International Bibliography (theatre and literature), International Bibliography of Theatre & Dance, L'Annee Philologique (Classical studies), or Medieval and Early Modern Bibliographies.

JSTOR and Project Muse are collections of full-text scholarly journals that let you search through the articles themselves. 

ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global has doctoral dissertations and some master's theses. 

Google Scholar searches scholarly articles and conference papers plus some books. Unlike the databases above, it doesn't automatically link you to UGA library subscriptions. How to set up Google Scholar to access UGA full text.

Database Search Tips

  • Use the asterisk as truncation/wildcard at the end of a term: utopia* or imperialis*. Some databases like Multi-Search account for British/American spelling differences like theater or theatre; others may not.
  • Use OR in between synonyms or related terms: utopia OR dystopia
  • Search for untranslated titles and name variations, e.g., "The Imaginary Invalid" as "Le malade imaginaire" or Sor Juana as Sister Juana Ines de la Cruz.
  • To search through the full text of articles and ebooks in Multi-Search, go to Advanced Search and choose "Also search within the full text,"

Interlibrary Loan (ILL): ILL can get PDFs of articles or chapters for free, normally within a few days. Look for the link within many databases or use their form. More details are on the Interlibrary Loan FAQ.

Your Librarian

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Kristin Nielsen
Main Library Research & Instruction Department