The basic principle underlying the organization of any library is to describe the documents it contains so that they may be located.  All libraries create sets of records which describe the documents in their collections.  Catalogs are sets of records to documents that share a location.  Indexes are sets of records to documents that share some other attribute (generally subject matter). Below are the most comprehensive and significant broad article indexing databases for international (but English-language-centric) theatre, dance, and performance scholarship.  Also listed are corpora containing collections of contemporary drama and performance.

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The Modern Language Association International Bibliography (MLAIB) covers international scholarly materials on all languages, literatures, linguistics, and folklore from around the world. It includes citations to items from journals, series, books, essay collections, working papers, proceedings, dissertations, and bibliographies. MLAIB does not index book reviews.

Coverage: 1926-present
Tags: Language, Literature

This database is the combined archive  of two bibliographic indexes, Pascal and Francis. They provide multidisciplinary and multilingual coverage of humanities and social sciences. Source documents include journal articles, books, conference proceedings, dissertations, and reports.  It was produced and is now hosted as an open access resource by the Institut de l’Information Scientifique et Technique of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique.

Coverage: 1972-2015

BASE is one of the world’s most voluminous search engines especially for academic open access web resources. BASE is operated by Bielefeld University Library.

IIPA Full Text draws content from more than 210 scholarly and popular performing arts periodicals, and also indexes a variety of documents such as biographical profiles, conference papers, obituaries, interviews, discographies, reviews and events. The database covers a broad spectrum of the arts and entertainment industry-including dance, film, television, drama, theater, stagecraft, musical theater, broadcast arts, circus performance, comedy, storytelling, opera, pantomime, puppetry, magic and more. Full text contents are selective.

Coverage: 1864-present
Tags: Music

The Music & Performing Arts Online portal brings the International Index to Music Periodicals (IIMP) and the International Index to the Performing Arts (IIPA) together in one site, enabling users to search both resources simultaneously. Together, these databases offer coverage of music, theatre, dance, television, film, and other performing arts.

Tags: Music

North American Theater Online is a comprehensive reference work covering all aspects of the Canadian and American Theater. It includes some 40,000 pages of major reference materials, together with records to approximately 30,000 plays, 57,000 people, 5,400 theatres, 22,000 productions, and 2,500 production companies. Each year we’ll add more than 20,000 new records. The collection also includes approximately 10,500 images, playbills, postcards, scrapbooks and other resources.

An archival research resource containing the essential primary sources for studying the history of the film and entertainment industries, from the era of vaudeville and silent movies through to 2000. The core US and UK trade magazines covering film, music, broadcasting and theater are all included, together with film fan magazines and music press titles. Magazines have been scanned cover-to-cover in high-resolution color, with granular indexing of all articles, covers, ads and reviews.

Coverage: 1880-2000
Tags: Business, History

North American Women’s Drama includes full text of over 1000 plays, together with detailed information on related productions, theaters, production companies, and more. Approximately 20% of the titles have never been previously published. The collection begins with the works of Mercy Otis Warren and Susanna Haswell Rowson in the colonial period and spans the 19th and 20th centuries to the present.

Inter-Play is an on-line index to plays in collections, anthologies, and periodicals. Separately-published plays are not included, but this is the fastest way to find play titles buried in anthologies and other compilations.

Coverage: approximately 1800-present
Tags: Literature

Offers the searchable full text of more than 1,500 plays from the colonial period to the beginning of the twentieth century. This database is also available through Literature Online (LION).

Coverage: 1714-1915
Tags: Drama, United States Of America

More than 250 plays, some previously unpublished, along with related biographical, production, and theatrical information.

Coverage: late 19th century-present
Tags: Asian Americans, Drama

Black Drama contains the full text of hundreds of plays by playwrights from North America, English-speaking Africa, the Caribbean, and other African diaspora countries. Also contains theatrical production information.

Coverage: 1850-present
Tags: African Americans, Drama

Drawn from several different archives, this online collection includes playbills, scripts and scores, as well as correspondence, meeting minutes and financial records all pertaining to “the inner workings of the arts world and life in Victorian Britain.”

Contains eleven major editions from the First Folio of 1623 to the Cambridge edition of 1863–66, twenty-eight separate contemporary printings of individual plays and poems, selected apocrypha and related works. In addition it contains more than one hundred adaptations, sequels and burlesques from the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, including the whole of Bell’s Acting Edition of Shakespeare’s Plays (1774).

Play Index searches publication details of over 30,000 plays published after 1949 and written from Antiquity to the present. Search for plays by title, author, subject, style, genre, cast type, and more. This database searches for copies of plays published both separately and in collections/anthologies.

Related: The print version of Play Index is available for the years 1949-2002 in H/SS Reference, 2nd floor Shields Library, Z5781.P53

Tags: Drama

TIV Contains more than 250 definitive performances of the world’s leading plays, together with more than 100 film documentaries, online in streaming video – more than 500 hours in all, representing hundreds of leading playwrights, actors and directors.

When complete, Twentieth-Century Drama will contain 2,500 plays from throughout the English-speaking world, covering the history of modern drama. The current release includes over 300 plays from Britain, Ireland and Australia.

Coverage: 1890-present
Tags: Drama

DAAI indexes more than 500 design and craft journals and newspapers. It also includes two directories–one is a directory of academic design and craft programs in colleges and universities, the other is a directory of design and craft journals.

Coverage: 1973-present
Tags: Art, Design

Full-text biographies, bibliographies, and critical analyses of authors from every age and literary discipline. Combines core literary resources such as Contemporary Authors, Contemporary Literary Criticism Select, and the Dictionary of Literary Biography.

A guide to the performing arts collections (both print and digital) and exhibitions at the Library of Congress. Includes digitized items from the collections, with some works by composers Amy Beach, George W. Chadwick, Charles Ives, Edward MacDowell, Gerry Mulligan and several others. Also topical material, such as Civil War Sheet music and American Choral Music.

Tags: Music

The basic principle underlying the organization of any library is to describe the documents it contains so that they may be located.  All libraries create sets of records which describe…

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