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The Performing Arts in Colonial American Newspapers, 1690-1783

The Performing Arts comprehensively covers performing arts in the period 1690-1783. It includes all references to music, poetry (lyrics), dance, and theater found in American newspapers, from the earliest extant copy (1690) through the end of the Revolutionary War (1783), including those in the French and German languages. It has its own search system and organisation and takes a bit of getting used to if you are already familiar with other retrieval software such as WordCruncher.

The Performing Arts offers several ‘files’, each of which offers a different type of data drawn from Colonial American Newspapers, 1690-1783. The one most frequently used is the INDEX file, which is also the most comprehensive file with 235,676 records in alphabetical order. Other files include the BIBLIO file, which offers bibliographical citations for the articles logged on the CD, both alphabetically and chronologically. Then there is the FIRST LINE FILE, which indexes the first lines of poems and lyrics, and the WOODCUTS file, which offers access to 37 graphic images. The second most frequently used file after INDEX is the CITATION file, which is the only file offering full text articles, 54,411 in total.

Simple Search
There is a searching guide summary printed in the insert in the CD, as well as help offered within the program itself. For a simple search, you first open a file, then you click on the flashlight symbol before typing your search term in the QUERY box, finally clicking SEARCH.

General Advice

  • Do not allow the citation file to get confused with the biblio file in your mind, since the former offers full text articles, the latter citations (!).
  • It is vital to understand that the different files are linked together via a color coded system of cross referencing. Thus, with search results in the index file, for instance, they will carry colors red, green and blue. Red highlights your search hit; green indicates that a full text is available in citation. Blue indicates that the citation can be accessed in Biblio.
  • A frequently asked question is how to arrange results in index in such a way that they are isolated from the main index, listed in an orderly fashion so they can be printed out. To do this, you need to operate a different search from that outlined above. Having clicked the flashlight, you must first change the current field from All Fields  to First Word. As before, write your search term in the query box. The Word Wheel already shows you how many hits there are. But then, instead of clicking search, double click the term in the Word Wheel to transfer it across to the query box with a ‘First Word’ extension. Now click search, and your hits will be collated separately from the main index in a form that can be printed out if need be.
  • Another general point: no hand appears to tell you that a term is clickable, even when you open the original file. Double clicking on this or on one of the colored highlights will, however, open it up if you allow a moment for the CD to be read.
One of the original files is the USERGUID and this will furnish more detail if it is required.

© 2000 Yale University Library
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© 2007 Yale University Library
This file last modified 07/16/01
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