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Michigan State University

Theatre Research Guide: MSU Libraries

This is a general guide to research in the scholarship of the History of Theatre. For a guide to Period Resources (for images and scholarship in material culture) please see: .

MSU Libraries

The MSU Libraries home page is your gateway to the extensive resources and services of the Main Library and its branches. Search the online catalog (MAGIC) or explore our electronic resources pages and discover thousands of online indexes, full-text journal articles, e-books and much more.

Finding Books in the MSU Libraries

How do I search for books on my topic?

To search for books in the MSU Libraries on a topic, you will need to use the Online Catalog (MAGIC). The Online Catalog is a searchable listing of materials owned and located in the MSU Libraries, including: books, journals, government documents, microforms, videos/DVDs/CDs, etc.

When should I use the Online Catalog (MAGIC)?

  • To find whether we own a specific book, including its location and call number
  • To browse for books on a topic
  • To find whether we subscribe to a specific magazine, journal, or newspaper

To search for books placed on Reserve for your class, search by course or instructor.

NOTE: You cannot use the Online Catalog to find individual articles within a magazine--you must use a periodical index for that.

Articles of Crticism in Magazines, Journals, and Newspapers

How do I search for articles on my research topic?

To search for articles on a particular topic, you must search a periodical index. A periodical index allows you to search the contents of magazines, journals, and newspapers. For more details and step-by-step instructions, see Finding Periodical Articles in the MSU Libraries.

Need help choosing keywords and searching indexes? Try: Database/Index FAQs and Searching Tips

  • LION (Literature Online)

    Contemporary criticism is available through the MLA International Bibliography (MLAIB) and the full text of 120 current literature journals that can be accessed through the literary index, Annual Bibliography of English Language and Literature (ABELL), which contains over 880,000 records of literary criticism from 1920 to current. LION (Literature Online) contains a full library of up-to-date, fully searchable criticism and reference sources in addition to the full text of poetry, drama, and prose fiction from the seventh century to the present day.

  • Gale Literature Resource Center

    Excellent source for full-text literary criticism from the history of literature, though in no way as complete an index as MLAIB. Especially good for biographical material, author bibliographies, and contains some full-text of contemporary criticism.Within the Gale Literature Resource Center is contained most (but not all) of Gale's series on the history of criticism, including: SHAKESPEAREAN CRITICISM, CLASSICAL & MEDIEVAL LITERATURE CRITICISM, CONTEMPORARY LITERARY CRITICISM, DRAMA CRITICISM, POETRY CRITICISM, LITERARY CRITICISM FROM 1400 TO 1800, as well as the volumes for the 18th, 19th, and 20th Centuries (also in Reference). You must use the Advanced Search to get best results.

  • Humanities Abstracts

    Index to articles in over 400 humanities periodicals in archaeology, art, classics, film, folklore, journalism, linguistics, music, the performing arts, philosophy, religion, world history, and world literature.

  • America History and Life

    America History and Life provides access to the citations of contemporary articles (and in some cases, the full text of articles), book reviews, and dissertations in American and Canadian history.

  • Periodicals Index Online

    Periodicals Contents Index (PCI) contains more than 1 million citations to articles in more than 3,000 journals from 1770-1995. These journals represent popular and scholarly titles in the humanities and social sciences. 1,000,000 citations are added annually. Although it is not yet complete, PCI Full Text is a growing repository of full-text articles enabling one to go directly from the bibliographic citation to the full text article.

  • Internation Bibliography of Theatre and Dance

              International Bibliography of Theatre & Dance with Full Text was initiated by the American Society for Theatre Research, and since 1984, the                  Theatre Research Data Center (TRDC) at Brooklyn College has published 14 volumes of the IBTD. These volumes comprise a fully indexed,                 cross-referenced and annotated databank of over 60,000 journal articles, books, book chapters and dissertation abstracts on all aspects of               theatre and performance in 126 countries.

Finding Assistance in the MSU Libraries

If we can provide any further assistance to you in your research, please do not hesitate to contact us:

  • Call MSU: (517) 355-1855
  • Visit:
  • MSU is an affirmative-action, equal-opportunity employer.
Michigan State University