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English Subject Guide: Eng 12: Theatrical Literature

Database PASSWORDS

LOGINS & PASSWORDS

Click Here for the Passwords List.  You'll need to log in as a Catlin Gabel student or employee.  Having trouble? Contact your division librarian.

What are databases?

English 12: Theatrical Literature

English 12: Theatrical Literature


(Production of A Raisin in the Sun, 2013, at the Huntington Theater. Photo by T. Charles Erickson.)

Learning Outcomes

At the end of this session, you should be able to:

  • find and use your LibGuide course page, database and other useful links
  • know where to find the books on reserve for your class, and how to use them
  • use your new list of keywords and phrases as ingredients in your search
  • identify which databases/search engines are a good fit for your research topic
  • broaden or narrow a search
  • find and read an abstract (if there is one)
  • print or email relevant academic articles and newspaper materials.

Books on Reserve

These books are on reserve for your class on the Course Reserves rolling bookcart near the grandfather clock in the US Library.  Please follow the rules so everyone has access:

• always check out books using the reserve slip, & LEAVE THE SLIP on the bookshelf

• borrow only by the block, or at the end of the school day for overnight loans

• return promptly by 8:30am the next school day

EShelf at Multnomah County Library

Click the image to get started!  With a Multnomah County Library card, you can quickly access a bunch of useful ebooks for your research from your laptop.  Don't have a card? CLICK HERE to get one. To use these ebooks, you'll need the barcode from your library card, and your PIN/Password for your library card.  Not sure? Ask Sue or Derek to help you connect with MultCoLib.

 

Brainstorm a list of keywords and phrases relevant to your topic, and include synonyms.  This is an essential step you should never skip.  Think about synonyms for your keywords and phrases.

Use quotation marks for exact phrases:

  • ex:  "troy maxson"
  • ex:   "american dream"

Wild cards find all versions of a word when added after the word's root:

  • ex:  child* finds child, children, childlike, etc.
  • ex:  marri* finds marriage, marriages, married, etc. It doesn't find marry, or marrying.

Start with a general search, and narrow it down as you look through your results.

JSTOR search terms # of results
fences 65,000+

fences + "august wilson"

193
fences + "august wilson" + troy 70+
fences + "august wilson" + troy + "american dream" 22

Read abstracts when they are available.  These brief summaries of articles will save you time.  Note:  JSTOR does not provide abstracts for most of its articles.  Here is an example of a rare abstract from JSTOR (albeit on a different literary topic):

Databases
These are good sources for academic journal articles, newspaper articles, and sometimes, book chapters. 

Anatomy of a JSTOR Search
Be sure to choose "Advanced Search," and consider narrowing your results to articles in English, and content you can access. 

Specialized Search Engines


Credentialing Your Sources
When reading JSTOR articles, this is an easier process. There are specific places to look for information on an author's academic affiliation with a college or university.  Sometimes it's at the top of the page, underneath the author's name.

At other times, it's after the body of the article, before the Notes or Works Cited sections. 

 

Web Sources

These are sometimes the hardest to find, as quality is all over the map. 

What's Reliable?
Credentialing your author to find out what they know is critical. Have you found an essay written by a high school student? Is it a master's degree thesis? Or, is this an article written by a highly experienced college professor who is an expert on the topic?  Is the newspaper journalist knowledgeable about Broadway theater productions?  Do they have a track record of theater reviews with a well-known publication, like the New York Times, or another major urban newspaper?
Click author links to learn more about them, their education, and their publication history.
Here's an example of a high quality web-based source:

The Kennedy Center's page on August Wilson's play, Fences.  Why:  It's a well-regarded theatrical venue, with knowledgeable staff who have assembled materials aimed at educators who are teaching the play. 

Start with an Advanced Google Search
Don't waste your time with casual, sloppy searches. Be surgically precise. Instead of 4 million results, you might be lucky and get a few hundred!  Nonetheless, using what you've learned about search skills will save you time.

Your US Librarian

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Sue Phillips
Contact:
Upper School Library
503.297.1894 x4550 (circulation desk); (503)297-1894 x4100 (voicemail)