An alliane of major dance collections, formed to document and preserve America's dance.
Dance Heritage Coalition

Choreographing Your Search

Online catalogs

  • What are online catalogs?
    • Libraries and archives have always used tools--catalogs, indexes, finding aids, registers, or similar guides--to help users and staff locate research materials.

    • The tools used by libraries and archives are now often available in computerized versions, called online catalogs, or bibliographic databases, and many are accessible via the Internet.
  • What do online catalogs contain?
    • Online catalogs contain information about resources in all formats: books, film, video, oral histories, photographs, prints, design drawings, and manuscripts, music, three-dimensional objects, and more. More and more indexes to periodical literature are available online (Pro-Quest, Uncover, and International Index to the Performing Arts are examples).

    • The Dance Collection Catalog of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts is not typical of library catalogs, in that it also includes citations to periodical articles on dance and dance-related subjects.

    • Increasingly, online catalogs and indexes have been expanded to include digital images and other electronic facsimiles of actual research sources. Examples can be seen in the Library of Congress' American Memory Project, which includes An American Ballroom Companion: Dance Instruction Manuals, ca. 1600-1920, the New York Public Library's Images of the Dance, and the Joseph Rous Paget-Fredericks Dance Collection, ca. 1913-1945 , part of the California Heritage Collection, located at the University of California, Berkeley.

    • Sample online catalog description for a manuscript collection:
      • Call No. (S) *MGZMD 24
      • Author: Limón, José.
      • Title: Papers
      • Imprint: ca. 1927-1972.
      • Description: 662 folders and 21 boxes.
      • Notes: Series include personal and professional correspondence; Limón autobiography, as well as other writings by him; choreographic and production notes; dance chronologies; professional material; legal documents and memorabilia; and financial records. Correspondents include Erik Bruhn, Agnes De Mille, Martha Graham, Doris Humphrey, Eleanor King, Pauline Koner, Portia Mansfield, Daniel Nagrin, May O'Donnell, Ruth Page, Lynn Riggs, Helen Mary Robinson, Ruth St. Denis, Ted Shawn, Glen Tetley, Charles Weidman, and Mary Wigman.
      • Gift of Charles Tomlinson.
      • Restrictions: Special handling. Inquire at reference desk for register and folder list.