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Michigan State University

French Opera: Using the Online Catalog

Basic resources for researching French opera from a literary and historical perspective. Last updated 06-07-2023

Using the Online Catalog

It is possible to do a quick and dirty, one box keyword search, starting at the left side of the Libraries' home page.  The results will be sorted into several categories to follow up on:  articles from journals, books/media from our online catalog, databases, library research guides like this one, other. To do a more traditional search, read on.

Below the general search box, click on Books and Media to search for physical, paper/cloth bound books and paper/cloth bound journals, physical media, such as DVDs, or individually cataloged electronic books.

In Books and Mediaclick on the arrow on the right side of the form where it says "Catalog."  Choose the type of search you want to do.  In the box to the right put in your search terms.  Enter author's name either last name, first name or first name last name.  Omit initial articles in book titles; include them as they occur within the book title itself.  To search by L.C. subject heading it may be better to use the Browse Alphabetically by Subject lower down in the list than Catalog: Subject because those results will show the surrounding subject headings, and number of hits retrieved.  After you receive your results, notice that you can filter them in various ways, by using the facets along the left side of the page.

Advanced search allows for combination of more than one search aspect, such as author/title, or several keywords on different lines.  You can also confine the results of these searches to particular parts of our Libraries' collections, using the Location area on lower right.

Below the general search box on the Home Page, click on E Books and Journals to search for journal titles in electronic form or for individual electronic books that will have been received by the Library in a package.  You may need to check both Books and Media and E Books and Journals to find your electronic book.


Keyword searches (in Books and Media, Catalog or Advanced search)  are composed of words or phrases or Boolean logic strings you think up, out of your own head.  If you find some good books via a keyword search, notice, within the catalog record, what subject headings are used; try clicking on those subject headings to obtain more good books on your topic.  Examples:  French opera.  (France or French) and baroque.  

Subject headings are the controlled vocabulary language words and phrases assigned by catalogers when cataloging resources for the Libraries.  They come from the Library of Congress' List of Subject Headings, a set of fat red books in Reference at Z 696....Subject heading searches usually produce better quality, more on target search results, than keyword searches.  In Books and Media, for books by an author, use the author search.  For books about an author, use a Browse Alphabetically by Subject search.  Here are some examples of potentially useful L.C. subject headings for subject searches:

Baroque literature

Charpentier, Marc-Antoine, 1643-1704 [works about him and his works]

Costume [country name]

Costume history [time period]

Costume design

France history [time period]

France monarchy history [time period]

France politics and government [time period]

French literature [time period]

French literature bibliography

French literature translations into English

Louis XIV, King of France, 1638-1715 [or name of other monarch]

Luly, Jean Baptiste, 1632-1687[works about him and his works]

Massenet, Jules, 1842-1912 [works about him and his works]

Monarchy France history [time period]

Motion pictures and opera

Music halls

Musical theater [country name]

Musical theater producers and directors

Opera [general works about this form]

Opera [country name]

Opera [time period]

Opera dictionaries

Opera dramaturgy [works on technique of writing opera]

Opera encyclopedias

Opera France [time period]

Opera production and direction

Opera comique

Opera in motion pictures

Operas [time period] [this is the heading for the musical compositions, the scores or recordings]

Operas bibliography

Operas discography

Operas film adaptations

Operas librettos

Operas literary themes, motives

Operas stage guides

Operas stories, plots, etc.

Rameau, Jean Phillipe, 1683-1778 [works about him and his works]

Rousseau, Jean Jacques, 1712-1778 [works about him and his works]

[Subject heading] sources [indicates the item will contain one or more primary sources]

Theaters [country name]

Women in opera