How to Locate Plays & Short Stories

Plays and short stories can be difficult to locate since they may appear in collections, in periodicals, or as separate works. This guide will help you locate plays and short stories by author, title, or subject. To find information about a work or author, see the bibliography A Quick Guide to Literary Criticism and the guides How to Locate Book Reviews, and Review of Books, Plays and Films , which are available in the racks near the reference desk, or online; from the Libraries’ Web site click on the Research Help tab.


To locate plays and short stories, you can use several types of sources:


The online catalog lists books the library owns. Use Minerva to find:

  • Long or well-known plays or short stories published as entire books
  • Plays or short stories that appear within book collections or anthologies


  1. In Minerva, go to Advanced Search
  2. Under Browse an Alphabetical List
  3. Browse for either Title or Subject Heading. (Use Title only if you have exact information, otherwise use Subject Heading option. Examples of subject headings: monologues, radio plays, short stories, etc.)


  1. In Minerva, go to Advanced Search
  2. Under Keyword Search select "Notes" in the Field to Search menu, then enter a title or author in the Search for box
  3. After clicking on Search, a list of records will be displayed. Select View Full Record to view the "contents" field since irrelevant items may also be displayed.


These indexes will refer you to plays or short stories in periodicals or books. To see if the library owns a periodical or book, or to get additional or updated location information, check Minerva.

Play Index [University Library/Ready Reference: Z 5781 P53]

This multi-volume source covers separate plays and plays in collections written in or translated into English from 1949 to 1992. It includes full-length plays, one-act plays, radio and TV plays, and plays written for children. Plays can be located by title, author, subject, type (e.g., miracle play, puppet play, etc) and cast requirements (e.g., all female, 11 characters). Features include brief descriptions and numbers of acts, scenes, sets.

Ottemiller’s Index to Plays in Collections [University Library/Ready Reference: PN1655 Z99 O88X 1988]

This single volume covers plays in collections published in the "English-speaking world" from 1900-1985. Focused on standard, full-length plays, it excludes one-act plays and plays for children, radio, and TV. Plays can be located by author or title. Features include author's dates, play dates and first performance dates.

Index to Plays in Periodicals [University Library/Reference: PN 1721 Z999 K44X 1979]

Offering an international perspective, this single volume covers plays found in periodicals from 1914-1979 and includes plays in foreign languages. Plays can be located by author or title. Features include brief descriptions, numbers of acts and author's dates.

Short Story Index [University Library/Ready Reference: PN 3451 Z999 C65X]

This comprehensive source covers stories in book collections and periodicals. The first volume includes stories published before 1949. After that volumes appear in 5 year cumulations with annual supplements through 2007. Short stories in collections can be located by author, title, and subject; the detailed subject categories make this a useful source for finding stories by topic. Short stories in periodicals, first included in 1974, are not indexed by subject.


Index to Full-Length Plays 1895-1925 and 1925-1944 [University Library/Reference: PN1627 T46 V.1 and V.2] Edited by Thomson

Index to Full-Length Plays 1944-1964 [University Library/Reference: PN1627 T462] Edited by Ireland

Contemporary African American Female Playwright: An annotated bibliography [University Library/Reference: PS 338 N4 Z992 1998] Williams

Early Black American Playwrights and Dramatic Writers: A Biographical Directory and Catalog of Plays, Films and Broadcasting Scripts [University Library/Reference: PS 153 N5 P44 1990] Peterson

Gay and Lesbian American Plays: An annotated bibliography [University Library Reserves/PS 153 G38 Z991 1993] Furtado & Hellner

This is a very selective list and MANY other sources are available.

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