Search Help

Researchers can use the Browse function to scan, e.g., textual studies of King Lear, translations of the sonnets, films of Henry V, works on the teaching of Shakespeare, or editions of Hamlet. Cross-references are linked to their respective main entry; essays from an edited collection are linked to the entry for the collection.

Entries are searchable by creator, title, subject, keyword, phrase, date, language, publisher, and/or periodical title. Also, users can click on cross-references to access related records (hypertext links identify related works such as responses and continuations).

Navigating the Site

  • Browse: The Browse feature will allow you to view all of the records in a specific category.
  • Basic Search: Results from the simple search are obtained by searching against the author, title, publisher, notes, reviews, and people fields; it is a good way to find information quickly, although result sets can be quite large.
  • Advanced Search: The advanced search will look only in the fields that have keywords specified and is a good way to get more specific results (e.g., if you are seeking only titles containing a specific word by a specific author).

Searches can include search individual terms, phrases (indicated by enclosing the terms in double quotes (“ ”), and Boolean operators. For example, using the Simple Search interface a search for CD-ROM publications by James Harner might be entered like this: cd-rom and “harner, james”


All search features provide the following sort options:

  • Author: Sorts alphabetically based on the author’s last name (for multiple authors only the first one listed is used as a sorting reference).
  • Date: Sorts based on year starting with the most recent. Documents with unknown publication or production dates are listed last.
  • Title: Sorts alphabetically based on title.

Boolean Searching

Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT) can be inserted along with search words or phrases in the search fields of both the basic and advanced searches.


  • romeo OR “juliet capulet” (brings up all entries with either "romeo" or "juliet capulet")
  • juliet NOT romeo (brings up all entries with "juliet" that do not include the word "romeo")
  • juliet AND romeo (brings up all entries with both "juliet" and "romeo"

In addition to allowing Boolean operators directly in the search fields, the advanced search offers the option to join the search fields with either an AND or an OR operator by selecting the appropriate value from the radio buttons at the top of the menu. If the OR operator is selected, results will be obtained based on finding either value returned from each of the search fields. This will produce more results, but the search will be less focused than with the AND operator, which only displays results based on the records which appear in the results of ALL fields being searched. By default, all words in a search field are joined with the AND operator.

The NOT operator (in capitals) will limit your search by excluding any entries with the value following NOT.

The Language and Document Type fields in the advanced search will not be affected by the Boolean operator and will always be used to limit your search results to the selections specified.


The asterisk symbol (*) can be used to represent one or more variable characters. For instance, if you wanted to find entries that contain the words DREAM, DREAMS, and DREAMING, you could input dream* to find all three.  

The question mark (?) can be used to represent a single variable character.  For instance, searching wom?n brings up results for women, woman, and womyn. 

Phrase searching

To find a complete phrase, search it in quotation marks. "To be or not to be" in quotation marks brings up only those entries that have the full phrase.

Tag searching

In advanced search, you can search for particular tags applied to WSB entries. These are taken from a set taxonomy; you can see the full list of tags by looking at Browse.  You can start typing in tags and select them to add to your search.  You can combine these with all other advanced search operators. For instance, a tag search of All's Well that Ends Well and "translations and adaptations" brings up all translations and adaptations of the play.

You can choose as many as you would like: but please note that this search functions as "AND": so when you choose Hamlet AND Macbeth AND "music," you will only get results that have all three tags.  Instead, you might want to search twice: Hamlet and "music"; then Macbeth and "music."

Note: all other categories in advanced search suppose an "OR" relation: so choosing both "journal article" and "book monograph" brings up both journal articles and books (because entries cannot be both a journal article and a book).

Saving entries

You can click "save" on the left-hand side of each entry (either from the results list or from the full entry).  On the top right-hand menu, you can see your list of saved entries.  You can then choose to export, email, print, or download them.  (You can also export, email, print, or download individual entries).  Choosing "export" generates an .ris file, which is compatible with most citation managers, including RefWorks, EndNote, Zotero, Mendeley, and others.  We recommend using the "export" function for Zotero rather than the in-browser button, because then you will get the annotation as well as the bibliographic data.