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THEA 100 (Matthew Reeder)

Provides help for two assignments requiring some research: the Broadway musical review assignment, and the Design assignment.

OneSearch: A library discovery tool

Because you're searching a large number of databases at the same time when you do a search in OneSearch, you will get a wide variety of results.  Some will be books (in our physical library), many will be articles (found through our article databases).

If I'm searching on the actor and director Kenneth Branagh, I could type my search into the OneSearch box like this:

OneSearch search box with "kenneth branagh"

(The quotation marks keep the first and last name together in the search.  And capitalization doesn't matter.)

I find many, many results.  First let's focus on finding books.  Then we'll look at finding full-text articles.

To limit your results to books:

From the results page, look on the left for the CONTENT TYPE limiter.  Choose "Book/eBook" as seen here:


In our results, we'll see both physical books, located in our libraries, as well as ebooks, as seen here:

First two OneSearch results, showing a title of physical book and then an eBook.

To find out how to get scanned portions of a physical book (like #2, above), see the box below called "Requesting a chapter of a book through Interlibrary Loan."

To limit your results to full-text sources:

Look on the left-hand side, under REFINE YOUR SEARCH, and click the "Full Text Online" link.  This will limit your results to those articles, books or book chapters which can be read in their entirety online.

To limit your results by content type:

In considering which sorts of information sources you want to use, consider:

  • Journal articles: are written by experts/scholars, use specialized vocabulary from that field, include lists of sources authors used in writing them, are often quite lengthy, and take a while to get published (so they can't cover current topics very well)
  • Magazine articles: are written by staff reporters, are often conversational in tone, tend to be shorter, often include illustrations and photography, and don't take too long to get published
  • Newspaper articles: are written by staff reporters, have the general public as their audience, and take little time to publish (so they're ideal for very current topics)

Book reviews will not be useful for me, and I'm choosing not to use newspaper articles, so I've clicked on "Magazine Article" and "Journal Article" under CONTENT TYPE, as shown here:

To limit by discipline:

Since the person I'm researching has had his foot in more than one realm, I may want to get more specific and look under DISCIPLINE and choose "drama" to reduce discussion of his work in film.

Discipline limiter showing "drama" checked

To learn more about your results:

I can click on the "Preview" link to get more information about a particular title.  Often it will provide me with the abstract, which helps me get an idea of what the article is about.

To get to the full article:

Either click on the article title or the "Full Text Online" link.

  • Sometimes it will take you directly to the article.
  • Sometimes you maybe be brought to another OneSearch page (like this one), where you need to click on a link under "View Online."

Record in OneSearch, highlighting that you click on the link under "View Online" to get to the full article.

(Unless you're on campus, you'll need to then log in with your Ball State username and password to pull the full article up.)

Bear in mind that in order to find two sources that work best for your project, you'll likely have to read through a bunch of articles.  Be patient!  And ask questions, if you have them.

Introduction to the International Bibliography of Theatre and Dance

You can get to the International Bibliography of Theatre and Dance (IBTD) from the Ball State Libraries' Databases page.

If I'm interested in finding out how COVID-19 has affected actors, I can use the CHOP, DROP, and OR technique, like this:

  • CHOP my topic up into the two aspects of COVID-19 and actors,
  • DROP each of those terms into a separate search box, and then
  • If there are synonyms or related terms for my search words, I can include them with OR in between.

So my search would end up looking like this:

IBTD search screen with this in one box: covid-19 or coronavirus or pandemic     and this in another box: actors or actresses or performers

As I type my terms in, the database makes some suggestions.  This can really help you in coming up with synonyms.  But choose carefully!

Then I can look the results over, reading titles, and looking at the "Subjects" field for clues as to what the article is about.  If I'm interested in this title...

Record with the title "The ZOOM Where It Happens."

... I can click on the title to get to the full record, and read the abstract (summary) of the article, which we see here:

Full record of the article titled "The Zoom Where It Happens."

To read the full article, I can click on the HTML or PDF icon to view the full-text of it.

two icons: HTML full text and PDF full text

If I like a title that does not have HTML or PDF links to the full text, I can click on the MultiLink BSU button.  That automatically searches in our other databases to see if we have access to the article somewhere else.  See below for more information on using MultiLink.