Research Guide: Introduction to Drama

| Reference Books | CONSULS Catalog | Online Databases | Locating Periodicals | Interlibrary Loan | Questions? |

Citing Sources to Avoid Plagiarism

Plagiarism is a form of cheating which may lower the grade you receive on your assignment. You must cite the source of any direct quotation and of any facts or ideas you obtained from another source. For more information about how to avoid plagiarism, please watch this brief video from Bainbridge College in YouTube: Plagiarism: How to Avoid It (

For tips on citation format, please see the MLA Formatting and Style Guide courtesy of the OWL: Purdue Online Writing Lab (

Reference Books for Background Information

Reference books are shelved by Library of Congress call number on the fourth and fifth floors of the Ruth Haas Library. To learn about LC call numbers, please watch the brief video Reading a Call Number in YouTube (courtesy of the Douglas College Library). Reference books may not be checked out, but free scanners are available for student use on the first floor of the Library (please use your flash drive).

General Reference Resources

Cambridge Guide to TheatreRef PN 2035.C27 1995
Cambridge Guide to American Theatre. Second edition.Ref PN 2221.C37 2007
Columbia Encyclopedia of Modern Drama. 2 volumes.Ref PN 1861.C65 2007
Comedy: A Geographical and Historical Guide. 2 volumes.Ref PN 6147.C565 2005
Drama DictionaryRef PN 1625.H64 1988
The Facts on File Companion to American Drama. Second edition.Ref PS 330.F33 2010
The Facts on File Companion to Classical DramaRef PA 3024.T48 2005
The Facts on File Dictionary of the TheatreRef PN 2035.F27 1988
Historical Dictionary of African American TheaterRef PN 2270.A35.H53 2009
Historical Dictionary of American Theater: ModernismRef PN 2266.3.F57 2008
International Dictionary of Theatre. 3 volumes.Ref PN 2035.I49 1992
International Dictionary of Theatre LanguageRef PN 2035.I5 1985
McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of World Drama. 4 volumes.Ref PN 1625.M3 1972
The Oxford Companion to American Theatre. Third edition.Ref PN 2220.B6 2004
The Oxford Companion to the Theatre. Fourth edition.Ref PN 2035.H3 1983
The Oxford Dictionary of PlaysRef PN 1625.P38 2005
The Oxford Encyclopedia of Theatre & Performance. 2 volumes.Ref PN 2035.O94 2003
Theatre World Annual (1950 to present)Ref PN 2277.N5.A17

Specific National Traditions

Encyclopedia of Asian Theatre. 2 volumes.Ref PN 2860.E53 2007
Historical Dictionary of Chinese TheaterRef PN 2871.Y46 2008
Historical Dictionary of French TheaterRef PN 2637.F67 2010
Historical Dictionary of German TheaterRef PN 2657.G73 2006
Historical Dictionary of Japanese Traditional TheatreRef PN 2921.L45 2006
Historical Dictionary of Russian TheaterRef PN 2721.S46 2007

Drama Criticism

Drama Criticism (DC)In Literature Criticism Online (see databases below)
Critical Survey of Drama. Second Revised Edition. 8 volumes.Ref PN 1625.C68 2003
Black Literature Criticism (BLC)Ref PS 153.N5.B556 1992
New York Times - Current (1980 to present)Under Databases A-Z on library homepage
New York Times - Historical (1851-2009)Under Databases A-Z on library homepage

Specific Playwrights

Arthur Miller's Life and Literature: An Annotated and Comprehensive GuideRef 3525.I5156.K67 2000
Critical Companion to Arthur MillerRef PS 3525.I5156.Z5114 2007
Critical Companion to Eugene O'Neill. 2 volumes.Ref PS 2529.N5.Z627266
Critical Companion to Tennessee WilliamsRef PS 3545.I5365.Z675 2005
Tennessee Williams: A Guide to Research and PerformanceRef PS 3545.I5365.Z8452
The Tennessee Williams EncyclopediaRef PS 3545.I5365.Z459 2004

Shakespearean Studies

Shakespearean Criticism (SC)In Literature Criticism Online (see databases below)
Essential Shakespeare: An Annotated Bibliography of Major Modern StudiesRef PR 2894.C53 1993
New Moulton's Library of Literary Criticism (Vol. 2 covers Shakespeare)Ref PR 85.N39 1985
Shakespeare Index: An Annotated Bibliography of Critical Articles: 1959-1983. 2 volumes.Ref PR 2894.S25 1992

All Things Shakespeare: An Encyclopedia of Shakespeare's World. 2 volumes.Ref PR 2892.O56 2002
A Companion to Shakespeare's Works. 4 volumes.Ref PR 2976.C572 2003
Facts on File Companion to Shakespeare. 5 volumes.Ref PR 2892.B26 2012
The Oxford Companion to ShakespeareRef PR 2892.O94 2001
The Plays of William Shakespeare: A Thematic GuideRef PR 2987.C28 2001
Shakespeare: A Study and Research GuideRef PR 2894.B44 1995
Shakespeare A-ZRef PR 2892.B69 1990
Shakespeare the PlaywrightRef PR 2976.C27 1991
Shakespeare's World and Work. 3 volumes.Ref PR 2892.S56 2001

Other Biographical Sources

Dictionary of Literary Biography (DLB)Under Databases A-Z on library homepage
American Writers. 4 volumes plus 4 supplements.Ref PS 129.A55
Oxford Encyclopedia of American Literature. 4 volumes.Ref PS 21.E537 2004
British Writers. 8 volumes.Ref PR 85.B688
Oxford Encyclopedia of British Literature. 5 volumes.Ref PR 19.O95 2006
European Writers (use index in volume 14)Ref PN 501.E9 1983
African American Dramatists: An A-to-Z GuideRef PS 338.N4.A69 2004
American Playwrights Since 1945Ref PS 350.A53 1988
Contemporary Black American Playwrights and Their PlaysRef PS 153.N5.P43 1988
Early Black American Playwrights and Dramatic WritersRef PS 153.N5.P44 1990
Women Playwrights of Diversity: A Bio-Bibliographical SourcebookRef PS 338.W6.P48 1997
Theatrical Directors: A Biographical DictionaryRef PN 2205.T54 1994

Musical Theatre

New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. 2nd edition. 29 volumes.
Also available online as Oxford Music Online.
Ref ML100.N48 2001
American Musical Theatre: A Chronicle. Fourth edition.Ref ML 1711.B67 2010
The American Musical Theatre Song EncyclopediaRef ML 102.M88.H59 1995
American Song: The Complete Musical Theatre Companion. 2 volumes.Ref ML 128.M78.B6 1996
Broadway: An Encyclopedia of Theater and American Culture. 2 volumes.Ref PN 2277.N5.B62 2010
Broadway Musicals: Show by Show. 6th edition.Ref ML 1711.G735 2008
A Chronology of American Musical Theater. 3 volumes.Ref ML 1711.8.N3.N67 2002
Encyclopedia of the Musical Theatre. 2 volumes.Ref ML 102.M88.G3 1994
Historical Dictionary of the Broadway MusicalRef ML 102.M88.E94 2008
The Oxford Companion to the American MusicalRef ML 102.M88.H593 2008
The Rodgers and Hammerstein EncyclopediaRef ML 102.M88.H595 2007

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CONSULS Online Catalog for Books and Media

CONSULS catalog workstations are concentrated on the first floor of the Haas Library, but there are some workstations on each of the other floors. You may logon to CONSULS via the WCSU Libraries Homepage at or directly at For more detailed instructions on searching, please see the yellow CONSULS flyer on the display rack on the first floor.

Please Note: CONSULS ignores upper and lower case, and you may omit punctuation, except the hyphen which must be replaced by a space.


Select Author at the CONSULS Main Menu, then type the writer's name last-name-first. Correct spelling is important.

Example: sondheim stephen (press ENTER or RETURN)
Or just: sondheim st (ENTER)

To limit search results to items owned by WCSU, click on Limit/Sort and then select WCSU under "WHERE Item is Located."


Select Subject at the CONSULS Main Menu, then type the writer's name last-name-first. Correct spelling is important. To limit results to items owned by WCSU, use the Limit/Sort option.

Example: wilson august (press ENTER)
Or just: wilson aug (ENTER)

CONSULS will retrieve a list of Library of Congress subject headings that begin with the words you typed:

Wilson August (main heading is subdivided)
Wilson August--Aesthetics
Wilson August--Criticism and interpretation
Wilson August--Interviews
Wilson August--Technique

PLEASE NOTE: Personal name headings may also be subdivided by the titles of individual works, for example:

Wilson August--Fences


Select Title at the CONSULS Main Menu, then type as much of the title as you remember in correct word order. In CONSULS, you may omit "a," "an," or "the" at the beginning of a title.

Example: sweeney todd the demon barber (press ENTER)
Example: death of a salesman (ENTER)
Example: ma raineys black bottom (ENTER)

PLEASE NOTE: If your TITLE search does not retrieve an entry for a separately published edition of the work, select Words in the toolbar to re-execute the search as a keywords search, then scan the CONTENTS field of each entry for the title of the work you need.


Select Subject at the CONSULS Main Menu, then type the Library of Congress subject heading which best describes your topic. Correct spelling and word order are important. The complete list of Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) is published in a set of big red books available in the Reference Area on the first floor of the Haas Library.

Example: Musical theater--United States--History--20th century (press ENTER)
Or just: musical theater united states (ENTER)


Select Keyword(s) at the CONSULS Main Menu, then type the words which best describe your topic, in any order.

Example: sondheim and musical and theat* (press ENTER)
Narrower: sondheim and musical* and lyrics (ENTER)
Even narrower: sondheim and lyrics and sweeney todd (ENTER)

Example: ma raineys black bottom and (race or racism or prejudic*) (press ENTER)
Narrower: ma raineys and music* and (race or racism or prejudic*) (ENTER)
Broader: august wilson and (race or racism or prejudic*) (ENTER)

Example: death of a salesman and american dream (press ENTER)
Narrower: willy loman and american dream (ENTER)
Broader: arthur miller and american dream (ENTER)

Use the * (asterisk) as a truncation symbol to retrieve variant forms of a word root. Use the Boolean OR to expand your search by including synonyms and related terms. When using two different Boolean commands in the same search statement ("and" and "or" in the preceding examples) you must include parentheses to indicate which command is to be performed first.


If the item you need is owned by one of the other CSU Libraries (CCSU, SCSU, or ECSU) but not by WCSU, or if the copy at WCSU is checked out, you may request the item via Inter-Campus Loan by clicking the Request option at the full record display in CONSULS. Then select "WCSU" and type your University network username and password. Be sure to specify a pickup location (Haas or Young Library) before completing your request.

There is a limit of ten (10) Inter-Campus Loan requests per person. Videos are available via Inter-Campus Loan. Please allow 3-4 working days for delivery to the Haas Circulation Desk. Items borrowed via Inter-Campus Loan may be renewed for an additional borrowing period if no one has placed a HOLD on the item.

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Online Databases for Finding Periodical Articles

To learn how to distinguish scholarly (peer-reviewed) journals from magazines, please see the brief YouTube tutorial Popular Magazines vs Scholarly Journals, courtesy of the library at the University of Detroit-Mercy.

Academic Search Premier in EBSCOhost
Coverage: 1990 - present (earlier for many publications)
Location: Under Articles & Databases: Most Popular at the WCSU Libraries Homepage.
Scope: Indexes approximately 8,000 newspapers, magazines, and scholarly journals in most fields, including language and literature, with over 4,500 available in full-text.
Coverage: Issue number one to within 5-6 years of present
Location: Under Articles & Databases: Most Popular on the WCSU Libraries Homepage.
Scope: Full-text of over 500 core scholarly journals in more than 25 disciplines, including language and literature (complete backfiles). Also includes some books.
Literature Criticism Online from Gale Research
Coverage: Includes the series Drama Criticism (DC) and Shakespearean Criticism (SC)
Location: Under Articles & Databases: A-Z on the WCSU Libraries Homepage.
Scope: Excerpts and in some cases full-text of articles published in English-language scholarly journals in literature and language.
MLA International Bibliography
Coverage: 1963 - present
Location: Under Articles & Databases A-Z at the WCSU Libraries Homepage.
Scope: Indexes books, book articles, journal articles, and Ph.D. dissertations in literature, language, linguistics, and folklore. Some linked full-text. No abstracts.
Naxos Music Library (NML)
Coverage: Audiofiles of CDs issued by 600+ recording labels
Location: Under Articles & Databases A-Z at the WCSU Libraries Homepage.
Scope: Classical music audiofiles, including musical theatre recordings. Keywords searchable. CD-quality sound; files are not downloadable.

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Locating Periodicals in the Haas Library

To find out if WCSU subscribes to a specific periodical in print or online:

1. Select Journal Title under "Other Searches" at the CONSULS main menu, then type the name of the periodical (example: modern drama) and press RETURN. If a title list appears on the screen, select the desired title, then look inside the box to find WCSU holdings. Be sure to scroll to the bottom of the page to see if WCSU owns backfiles on microfilm or microfiche.

2. To find out if a given periodical is available in full-text in one or more of WCSU's online databases, use the Journal Finder available under Articles & Databases on the WCSU Libraries Homepage (

How to Use Interlibrary Loan

If the CSU Libraries do not own the book or periodical you need, you may request delivery of the item via Interlibrary Loan using the online ILLiad system available at:

There is a limit of 5 Interlibrary Loan requests per person per day. Videos are not available via Interlibrary Loan. Under most circumstances, Interlibrary Loan is a free service, but please allow at least ten working days for delivery. You will be notified as soon as the material arrives. Faster document delivery service is available for a reasonable fee. Please call the Interlibrary Loan Desk at (203) 837-9114 for more information.

Do You Have a Question?

Reference service is available on request at the Circulation Desk on the first floor of the Haas Library, or you may contact Joan Reitz, Instruction Librarian, at 837-8308 or My office is located in Room 402 on the fourth floor of the Haas Library (near the glass elevator).

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Please send your comments to Joan Reitz, Haas Instruction Librarian, Western Connecticut State University
Last updated on September 2, 2015