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Theatre and Drama Reference Sources

Our Reference Collection, on the first floor of the Library, is arranged according to the Library of Congress Classification System, which groups together items on the same subject. The Library's book stacks, on the second and third floors, and our print periodicals, on the second floor, are also arranged according to this system. Some important call numbers for works on theatre and drama in general are:

PN 1560-1590
PN 1600-1988
PN 2000-3307
the performing arts, show business
drama history, composition of plays
dramatic representation, acting, stagecraft, etc.

In addition, there are call numbers for the literature of different languages. Each of these has a section for drama and theatre. For more information about these call numbers see Finding Books on Theatre and Drama.

You are encouraged to browse in these sections of the Reference Collection. You will find specialized encyclopedias and handbooks, dictionaries of theatre and drama terms, biographical dictionaries for actors, directors, and other theatre people, indexes of plays identifying where they are published, directories for theatre companies, and bibliographies listing key works for the study of many theatre and drama topics, among other things. If you are looking for specific information, please ask for assistance at the Information desk, also on the first floor.

Subject encyclopedias are especially useful reference sources. Written on general topics such as world drama, or specialized ones, such as vaudeville, Black theatre, or Kabuki, they have summary articles, often written by scholars or other experts, that give you an overview of a topic. You can browse these to help you decide if you are interested in doing more research on the topic. If you have already decided on a topic, these sources may give you a framework or context for your specific investigation. The articles will also give you names of people and places important for the topic, key dates, and other information you can use in further research. Many articles in subject encyclopedias include a bibliography or list of recommended books and articles on the topic. Using these recommendations is a good way to begin more in-depth research.

To find subject encyclopedias, use the HSU Library Catalog, not QuickSearch:

For more help with using the Reference collection, please ask a librarian.