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Research Guides

Eastern Washington University Libraries

Theatre 303: Theatre History

Databases for Theatre History

Each database has its strengths and weaknesses.


  • It gives you records for articles from virtually all of our databases.
  • The default is to show only articles that (in theory) we have full text access to. If you have time (a few days) to interlibrary loan articles, you can see records for articles we don't have full text by clicking on "Include results with no full text" under the heading Refine My Results on the left.
  • Use the limiters on the left.
    • Peer Reviewed Journals (under Availability) -- this will eliminate most of the magazine and newspaper articles, and any books we might have. (I have not found this limiter to be 100% accurate -- double check by evaluating each article.)
    • Articles (under Format) -- this will give you all the articles, scholarly and ones from magazines and newspapers
    • Subject Terms -- If you have thousands of results, then definitely use this limiter by clicking on the down arrow to view the subjects. (If you have a few hundred or less, then the relevance ranking built in should work fine to bring more relevant articles to the top, vs articles that just mention your topic in passing.) Click on the boxes for any that sound relevant, and it will narrow to all of those you choose.
  • See a title you like? Click on the title of the article to bring up the full record, and links to the full text. (If it isn't available full text, then click on the link "Request this article via Interlibrary Loan.")


  • Most comprehensive database we have for literary works. Works best if you want articles about a specific artist or work. 
  • Many times there is no abstract or summary of the article. In the full record, read over the Subjects to get a sense of what the article discusses.
  • Use the Check for Full Text button to see if we have it online, or if you have to interlibrary loan it.


  • Includes 24 Performing Arts journals and over 400 Language/Literature journals.
  • You are keyword searching the entire article in JSTOR, so you can be quite specific with your keywords. Put phrases "in quotes."
  • Under Narrow By and Item Type, click Articles. This will eliminate book reviews.
  • You can also try out the hyperlinked Topic tags, though you'll probably get more results since it doesn't narrow your results. You're doing a new search. They are useful for determining the issues discussed in the particular article.


  • Full text articles from 42 performing arts journals, and most are ones that are in JSTOR, but more recent issues. Keyword search as if it were JSTOR. You can be very specific, since you are searching the entire text, not a summary.
  • We don't subscribe to everything in Project MUSE. If the article is not available full text, we may have it in a different database, or you can always interlibrary loan it.

Find Books

Hints for Finding Books

  • The Catalog more often uses the term drama instead of plays, and theater rather than theatre.
  • Have a specific artist?

Try lastname criticism as your keywords. The Library of Congress Subject Heading is lastname, firstname -- criticism and interpretation

Help with Searching EWU Library Catalog

What’s in the catalog?

  • All of EWU’s physical holdings, including books, videos, CDs, journals, and more.
  • All the physical holdings of all the Summit Libraries—over 9 million titles!
  • Citations for millions of articles.

How do I search the catalog? | How do I locate an item? | I can't find the specific book or video I want. 

How do I search the catalog?

Know the title or author?

If you know the exact title of the item, type in the title "in quotes" and the last name of the author (if known).

screenshot of search for Pride and Prejudice by AustenOr

Click Browse in the top bar and type in the title and/or author. (Note: The Browse function only works for EWU holdings of books or videos, not for titles held by other libraries.)

Find Books on an Author, Work, Theory, or Motif

Type in your keywords. For one or more terms, type the keywords as you would in Google, no AND necessary, e.g. poe gothic.

  • Put exact phrases in quotes, e.g. "new historicism".
  • To find variations on a word, type the stem of the word followed by *, e.g. femin* to find feminism, feminist, etc.
  • If you want to look for either word/phrase, the Boolean operator OR must be in ALLCAPS and in parentheses, e.g. (american OR "united states").

I would suggest using the Advanced Search if you have a fairly complex search. See below.

screen shot of advanced search in EWU Library Catalog

Refining Your Search

example of limiting to both eBooks and Print Books formatsBecause the EWU Library Catalog has records for all types of resources, you will very likely need to limit your search results. Note all the limiters on the left side, as well as some quick limiters at the top.

  • Click on the limiter to narrow by the one limiter.
  • You can narrow to more than one in the category by clicking the corresponding boxes on the left of the limiter (such as limiting by Format to both Print Books and eBooks). Just hover over the limiter to see the box.
  • You can exclude particular limiters by clicking the icon on the right of the limiter. Just hover over the limiter to see this icon.   icon of a checkmark crossed out

Useful limiters:

  • Availability -- Available in the Library -- this will quickly show you the books and videos we have on the shelves in the library
  • Availability -- Full Text Online -- this will limit to the articles and eBooks available
  • Format -- limit to books, audio visual (for DVDs, CDs, etc.)
  • Date -- click on the From/To dates to update, and click Refine
  • Physical Location -- easiest way to limit to a particular collection, such as the Curriculum Center or Reference
  • Subject Terms -- because the subject terms given to articles and books are can be different, it is best to narrow by Format first, then Subject Term.

Mark Your Records

See the push pin icon on the far right (labeled "Keep this item" if you hover over it)? 

screenshot of a brief record in the EWU Library Catalog

Click it and it will change the push pin icon and highlight the brief record yellow. You have marked a record temporarily. Click the push pin icon in the top right corner to view your marked records.

  • Note: To permanently mark a record, you need to be logged in. Click the Sign In tab in the top right corner.

How do I locate an item?

The last line of the brief record describes where the item is located.example of results list for the search poe gothic in the EWU Library Catalog

If the wording is green, that means it is readily available, either online or physically on our shelves at the JFK Library in Cheney or Spokane Academic Library.

  • For physical items, note the location: library (Cheney or Spokane), floor, and call number.
  • For online items: click the green wording (Full text available, Online access, etc.) to link out to the item. 

If the wording is yellow, that means you'll have to request it. Click Check request options - held by Summit libraries. You must be logged in to request the item -- you'll be prompted to if you aren't already.

Once you are logged in, click the link Place Summit request (4-8 days). The form will ask you:

  • Volume number (optional) -- only matters if it is a multi-volume set and you only want one volume
  • Pick up/delivery location (required) -- which library do you want the item delivered to -- the default is Cheney
  • Comment (optional)

​Click REQUEST. You will be notified via your EWU email address when the item is ready to be picked up. 

If the wording is gray, that means either:

  • The EWU copy of the item is checked out. You will have to request it from a Summit library, or via Interlibrary Loan if there is no other copy in Summit.
  • The article is not available online. It may be in a physical copy of the source (and it will display the date range held and call number), or you will have to request it via Interlibrary Loan.

I can't find the specific book or video I want.

While the EWU Library Catalog has millions of records, it only will search through the holdings of the 39 Summit libraries. If you can't find a specific book, video, CD, etc., then go to the EWU WorldCat Catalog and re-do your search. WorldCat has records from thousands of libraries worldwide. You may request the item via Interlibrary Loan.