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Theater & Performing Arts Research Guide

Getting ready to search

What are library databases?

  • Library databases are searchable online repositories of information sources.
  • Database content varies based on subject, discipline, and information type.
  • Library databases are freely accessible to currently enrolled ELAC students only.
  • You will be asked to login with your ACE account before a database loads. Review ACE login directions here.

Before you begin searching:

  • Review your assignment.
    • Are you required to use magazine articles, news articles, scholarly journal articles? Books? eBooks? Websites?
    • Are you required to use a specific database, like EBSCO, ProQuest, or JSTOR?
  • Jot down a few keywords.
    • Keywords are the main ideas, themes, topics, or subjects of your research topic.
    • You'll need to use keywords (and not sentences) in the databases.

More on keywords:


Databases: Find Articles and E-Books in Library Databases

Which database(s) should I use?

  • This depends on your specific topic (are you researching a historical topic, educational, social issues, current events?) and your information need (do you need scholarly articles, literary criticisms, news articles?).
  • Watch the video below to learn how to limit our list of databases by subject and resource type.

Best databases for performing arts:

Contains over one million images in the arts, architecture, humanities, and social sciences from more than 150 museum and university collections of paintings and photographs. Note: Access to ARTstor requires on-campus registration.​​​​​​​

Source of high-quality video and multimedia for academic, vocational and life-skills content.

Includes core journals in economics, history, political science, and sociology, as well as in other key fields in the humanities and social sciences. This collection also includes over 50 titles in the mathematical and statistical sciences.

MLA International Bibliography covers literature, language and linguistics, folklore, film, literary theory and criticism, dramatic arts, as well as the historical aspects of printing and publishing, rhetoric and composition and the history, theory and practice of teaching language and literature.

Contains over 5,000 art images, maps, and line drawings from major collections and also contains links to over 40,000 images at museum websites.

Contains over 50,000 subject articles and biographies written by more than 6000 contributors. Grove Music Online also includes the full text of the The Oxford Companion to Music, The Oxford Dictionary of Music, and The Encyclopedia of Popular Music.

Search the full text of current scholarly journals published by university presses, mainly in the arts, humanities and social sciences. Browsable by academic discipline.

OneSearch: Search library databases and print books at once


  • OneSearch is a mega-search that you can use to search our library's print materials (like books, magazines, and DVDs) and online databases at the same time.
  • This can be a good place to start if you want to search multiple databases.
  • If you are having trouble finding relevant results in OneSearch, you may want to search an individual database instead.

OneSearch Tutorial:

Try it out!

Step-by-step handouts: