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Introduction to Drama 2003: Book Searching Tips

Drama Collections

When searching the Library Catalog for one-act plays, choose the subject search option and enter one act plays or one act plays American or use the keyword search.

Collections of plays or one-act plays can be located using the Library Discovery system (see the link below). Use the "advanced" search platform in the "Books & Media" tab, select Publisher in the drop down menu, and enter dramatists play service (see the example search below) to pull records for one act plays.

  • Anton Chekhov's Plays (PG3456.A19 B7)
  • The Best One-Act Plays (PN6111.B47) 
  • The Collected Works of John Ford (PR2521.M66)
  • Drama on Stage (PN6112.G64) 
  • Female Playwrights of the Restoration: Five Comedies (PR1266.F39)
  • The Meridian Anthology of Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Plays by Women (PR1266.M47) 
  • Ottemiller's Index to Plays in Collections: An Author and Title Index to Plays Appearing in Collections Published Since 1900 (Ref. PN1655.O8)
  • The Play Index (Ref. PN2000.P53) an index to plays in anthologies
  • Restoration Plays (PR1266.R47)

Title Search

If you know the title to a book, use the "Title" search option. This search option will pull all records with that title listed in the NSU Libraries collections. For example, if there are several editions of the title in the collection under the same title, these records will be retrieved using the title search.

Example Title: Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association

There are multiple library records for this title for the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th edition. Review the records to determine which one you need. If you only have a few words in the title, the system will search for any titles with those words.

JVL Books

Author Search

The "Author" search locates all items written or co-authored by that author in the library's collections. From the Library home page (see the link below), click on the "Books & Media" tab at the top of the main library page and select "Author" from the drop down menu.

Tip: Enter the author's last name/family name in the search box followed by the author's first name/given name. Examples:

  • Peter Cozzens or Cozzens Peter
  • James Harner or Harner James
  • Betty Ridge or Ridge Betty

Tip: If the author's name is similar to another author's name, provide the middle name initial.

  • Ex: Smith, James D or Smith, James F

Tip: Some author's names and middle initials are the same. If the middle name is given use it, if not generally a quick review of the book titles will determine which author is correct. 

  • Ex: Smith, James Perrin or Smith, James P

Tip: When searching for Latin names using the Library Catalog at NSU Libraries, they can differ in the way they are searched. However, when searching through the database WorldCat (OCLC), it will search for words and will return results. Examples:

  • Garcilaso de la Vega would be entered as: Vega, Garcilaso de la
  • Mario Vargas Llosa would be entered as: Vargas Llosa, Mario
  • Juana Ines de la Cruz would be entered as written, without changing the wording.
  • Federico Garcia Lorca would be entered as Garcia Lorca, Federico
  • Pedro Calderon de la Barca would be entered as Calderon de la Barca, Pedro

Keyword Search

Many systems, like databases, library catalogs online, and Google, default to the Keyword search, which uses natural language or words. This term or set of terms can appear anywhere or any field in a record, such as title, author, subject, note, etc. The meaning of the words are not considered. For example, the terms could pull results related to music or related to soil content. Here are some basic tips on how to use the Keyword search.

Tip: Combine or group terms by enclosing them within quotation marks.
"drama criticism"
"performing arts"

Tip: Use the Keyword search to combine an author and keywords in a title of his or her work. For example, for information about the book, Writing for Theatre: Creative and Critical Approaches by Kim Wiltshire, or the fiction novel, House of the Spirits, by Isabel Allende, combine the author's last name and a keyword of the title of the work. Note: The names are not case sensitive. Additionally, the search may pull other non-related titles if the terms entered appear in the item record.
Ex: wiltshire and writing
Ex: allende and spirits
Ex: Shakespeare and Hamlet
Ex: O'neill and hairy ape

Grouping: Keyword search results are usually grouped by relevance to bring the most likely titles to the top of the list. Each group represents a similar level of relevance and results are sorted within the group by date or title. To get an ungrouped result set, use boolean operators to form a complex query.

Example: American drama and history and criticism

Example: theater AND United States

Subject Search

The Subject search uses a controlled vocabulary and focuses on subject terms or subject headings to define or to describe the information within the system. This type of search is targeted using specific terms or phrases that are highly relevant to the topic. It will locate all records on this subject and does not consider other fields, like the title or note fields as part of the search. This ensures the results are related and focused on the subject search of the desired topic, which saves the user time.

  • clothing and dress united states history 20th century
  • costume united states history 20th century
  • drama explication
  • drama technique
  • playwriting
  • ​dramaturgy
  • dramatists, American
  • dramatists, English
  • American drama - 20th century
  • Drama 19th Century
  • Drama 18th Century History and Criticism
  • Theater History
  • Theater History and Criticism
  • Theater audiences
  • Theater production and direction

For additional information and to locate the Library of Congress subject authority headings and more, see the Library of Congress Authorities link below.


The following items are in eBook form and linked through the NSU Libraries Discovery system. Click on the View eBook icon in record to access it. If you are off campus, you will be prompted to enter your NSU id and Password.