This is a guide to Shakespeare-related materials available through the Greenfield Library at The University of the Arts. If you have questions about this topic please contact Jim Cowen at jcowen@uarts.edu.

If you're interested in Shakespeare you may also want to look at our guides on Theater Research and Character Research.


The first place to look when beginning research on a topic is in reference material: specialized dictionaries, encyclopedias or handbooks. These allow you to check names, dates and places, find additional information, look up unknown terms, and check for the proper spelling of words. They are particularly helpful for finding basic background information on a topic, and are often the only place many students may need to look to find answers to their questions. They may include bibliographies (lists of additional materials on a topic, usually considered by the author to be the best materials on that topic) that you can use to find other materials.

Call numbers are for the Greenfield Library unless otherwise indicated. REF in front of a call number indicates the reference section of the library, which in Greenfield is opposite the circulation desk.

Oxford Companion to Shakespeare. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015.
Greenfield REF PR2892 .O94 2015
Also available online.
"A truly fun, accessible, and contextually rich companion to the vast world and work of Shakespeare. Spanning the historical and contemporary, and the literary and dramatic, this authoritative and illustrative 3,000-entry compendium is well-constructed, solidly cross-referenced, and above all, delightful and interesting reading."--"Outstanding Reference Sources," American Libraries, May 2002.

The Oxford Dictionary of the Renaissance.

  • 4,000 full-text entries nearly half biographical
  • coverage on all aspects of the Renaissance in 14th- to 17th-century Europe
  • includes comprehensive coverage of the art, literature, science, culture, philosophy, religion, economics, history, and conflicts of the period
  • most entries contain bibliographies
  • information on how-to-cite at the end of each entry
  • be sure to search in the "Search within work" box

Performance Design Archive Online

Covers all aspects of theater production design, from the 17th century to the present. Once you've got search results, use the filters on the left to narrow your results - or not!

Champion, Larry S. The Essential Shakespeare: An Annotated Bibliography of Major Modern Studies. New York : G.K. Hall ; Toronto : Maxwell Macmillan Canada ; New York : Maxwell Macmillan International, c1993.
Greenfield REF Z8811 .C53 1993
"This collection of more than 1,800 (including more than 600 new ones) of the most significant articles, books, and monographs of twentieth-century Shakespearean scholarship includes not only the classical studies but also ranges through structuralist, poststructuralist, deconstructionist, feminist, and cultural-materialist criticism since 1984. ... The Essential Shakespeare remains an indispensable tool for efficient research for undergraduate students, graduate students, and busy teachers, and will prove valuable even to veteran Shakespearean scholars."--quoted from American Reference Books Annual, 1994, entry #1256.

Boyce, Charles. Shakespeare A to Z: The Essential Reference to His Plays, His Poems, His Life and Times, and More. New York: Facts on File, 1990.
Greenfield REF PR2892 .B69 1990
Includes sections on each play: stage history, plot synopsis, critical overview.

Colaianni, Louis. Shakespeare's Names: A New Pronouncing Dictionary. New York: Drama Publishers, 1999.
Greenfield REF PR3081 .C83 1999

Olsen, Kirstin. All Things Shakespeare: An Encyclopedia of Shakespeare's World. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2002.
Greenfield REF PR2892 .O56 2002 v. 1-2
Daily life in Shakespeare's world. Includes a chronology of historical events.

Onions, C. T. A Shakespeare Glossary. Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1911.
Greenfield REF PR2892 .O6
Everybody loves Onions. A standard reference work on Shakespeare, it provides definitions of the more obscure words.

Reader's Encyclopedia of Shakespeare. Edited by Oscar James Campbell. New York: Crowell [1966].
Greenfield REF PR2892 .C3
Essential information on aspects of Shakespeare's life and works. Includes the plays, stage histories, characters, actors, other playwrights and people thought to have known Shakespeare, genealogical table of the Houses of York and Lancaster, a chronology, Elizabethan life in the plays, playhouse structure, and more. Numerous illustrations plus a selected bibliography.

The Riverside Shakespeare. Textual editor: G. Blakemore Evans. General introd.: Harry Levin. [Introduction and explanatory notes to the plays and poems by] Herschel Baker [and others] With an essay on stage history by Charles H. Shattuck. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin [1974].
Greenfield REF PR2754 .E9 1974b
A standard textbook of Shakespeare's works. Each play has an introduction and includes annotated text.

Rothwell, Kenneth S. and Annabelle Henkin Melzer. Shakespeare on Screen: An International Filmography and Videography. New York: Neal-Schuman, 1990.
Greenfield REF PR3093 .R68 1990
"Includes 747 entries covering silent and sound films, television productions, Shakespeare offshoots, parodies and travesties, documentaries, operatic versions, and educational films. The entries provide critical commentary both through editorial analysis and through excerpts from a variety of reviews."--quoted from The Essential Shakespeare, entry 26.

The Shakespeare Handbook. Edited by Levi Fox. Boston, MA: G. K. Hall, 1987.
Greenfield REF PR2976 .S3374 1987

Spevack, Marvin. Harvard Concordance to Shakespeare. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1973.
Greenfield REF PR2892 .S62
A concordance is an index to every word in a text or body of texts, showing every occurrence of a word. Where else, for example, does Shakespeare use the word "spot" besides Lady MacBeth's "out, out, damned spot" speech? How many times does Shakespeare use the word "breach"? Find out here.

Trussler, Simon. Shakespearean Concepts: A Dictionary of Terms and Conventions, Influences and Institutions, Themes, Ideas and Genres in the Elizabethan and Jacobean Drama. London: Methuen ; Portsmouth, N.H: Distributed by HEB Inc., 1989.
Greenfield REF PR2976

Be sure to also see some nice illustrations of Shakespeare's work in the UArts Libraries' Visual Resources and Special Collections:
Eight Illustrations to Shakespeare's Tempest designed by Walter Crane
Eight Illustrations to Shakespeare's Two Gentlemen of Verona designed by Walter Crane
Shakespeare's Comedy of The Tempest with illustrations by Edmund Dulac.


Use the University Libraries catalog to find books, videos, CDs, scores, journal titles, etc. To locate all of the materials the library has ABOUT Shakespeare, it is most efficient to search by Subject. Use the following subject headings in the online catalog. Be careful to follow the exact spelling and form. These subject headings are standard and are used in most libraries.

TIP: After you click one of the links below, select Electronic Resources instead of View Entire Collection in the drop box to the right of the search.

From this: View entire collection
to this:
Limit to electronic resources


If you want to find materials BY Shakespeare, including adaptations of his works, search for Shakespeare by AUTHOR - last name first! You can also search for specific play titles such SHAKESPEARE, WILLIAM, 1564-1616--HAMLET

Shakespeare on Video

Looking for Shakespeare streaming video and DVD resources held by the UArts Libraries? There are a number of ways to search the library catalog.

  • In the search by box, you can select

      AUTHOR and enter Shakespeare (remember to always put the last name first, as in: shakespeare, william) or search for the name of an actor, director, and so on;
      TITLE for the title of the play, video or DVD;
      KEYWORD to combine search terms such as in: shakespeare ian mckellen.

    then select "Video" in the search in box. DVDs will be searched as well as a selection of our streaming video resources.

  • Limit library catalog by video
  • You can also BROWSE DVD titles by going to the catalog and selecting Call Number Search, then search for other call numbers, and reading the instructions for "Other Call Number" searches in the catalog.

You might also be interested in visiting some of our streaming video resources directly. Always remember to go through the library's website to access these materials. The easiest way, is to visit our Audio/Video online page:

red Alexander Street logo'

Notably, Shakespeare's Globe on Screen features full length streaming video performances from the reconstructed Jacobean theater captured between 2008-2018.

Shakespeare's Globe on Screen logo'

Alexander Street Video is our largest provider of streaming video, featuring over 1,000 videos relating to Shakespeare. In addition to performances from such collections as "BBC Literary Adaptation in Video" and and the "Royal Shakespeare Collection", Alexander Street Video includes such documentary collections as "Shakespeare in Perspective" and "Shakespeare Uncovered."

red Alexander Street logo'

From London's West End and beyond, Digital Theatre+ offers a wide array of materials relating to Shakespeare including performances, teaching aides, interviews with practitioners, and more.

black Digital Theatre+ logo



You will want to use a periodical index to find articles about your author or the play. A complete list of our electronic periodical indexes and databases is available on our Article Databases and Indexes page.


When you find information on a topic, no matter what format it takes (book, journal, Web page), there are style manuals to show you the correct way to give cite those sources in a paper.


Searching the Web can be overwhelming. If you are using the Internet for research you want to choose sites that meet the standards of accuracy, currency and authority.

Try out the Librarians' Index to the Internet. Search for Shakespeare, then follow the links and explore.

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare

The Folger Shakespeare Library
"Home to the world's largest and finest collection of Shakespeare materials and to major collections of other rare Renaissance books, manuscripts, and works of art, the Folger serves a wide audience of researchers, visitors, teachers, students, families, and theater- and concert-goers." Be sure to check out Discover Shakespeare and the Shakespeare Links.

Horace Howard Furness Shakespeare Library
One of the finest collections of Shakespeare and Shakespeare-related materials in the United States, the Furness (brother of Frank!) Shakespeare Library is housed nearby at the University of Pennsylvania. See also the Furness Theatrical Images Collection on Artstor.

The JSTOR Understanding Series: Shakespeare
Created in collaboration with the Folger Shakespeare Library, this tool allows you to select a play, then an act and scene, and find literary criticism that quotes it.

McCoy's Guide to Theatre and Performance Studies: Shakespeare

Open Source Shakespeare
"Open Source Shakespeare [OSS] attempts to be the best free Web site containing Shakespeare's complete works. It is intended for scholars, thespians, and Shakespeare lovers of every kind. OSS includes the 1864 Globe Edition of the complete works, which was the definitive single-volume Shakespeare edition for over a half-century."

Project Gutenberg: Books by Shakespeare, William
Project Gutenberg, one of the oldest efforts to digitize public domain books, brings you all of Shakespeare's works. Free downloads. Download the complete works or sonnets, or just the play you want.

Shakespeare: A Short Guide to Online Resources: Websites
Do you really want to dig in? Brought to you by the Bodleian Library at Oxford University in England, this nicely organized site lets you range far and wide.

Shakespeare Birthplace Trust
Includes a lecture series (audio only) on "What Was Shakespeare Really Like?"

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