Your first stop: The University Libraries catalog
Using the University Libraries online catalog, you can both browse our physical and digital holdings and you can search for known items. Visit lib.umn.edu to get started with searching. The first think you'll see is the Libraries Search box:
The Libraries Search box is a great place to start searching for music materials because you can use it to find both digital materials like PDFs of journal articles and streaming audio and video AND physical materials like CDs, LPs, DVDs, scores, and books. If you know what you're looking for (a journal article title and author or a composer name and the title of a piece), enter it into the Libraries Search box to get started.
Locating digital materials in the Libraries catalog
You can search for digital materials and narrow down your search results using the limiters built into the catalog! Start by entering keywords (author/composer and title will be enough to get you started); once you receive your search results, use the options for "Availability" to limit to "Available Online":
After limiting your search results to "Available Online so you see only digital materials, you can narrow things down further by selecting the type of item you're looking for. Choose the "Material Type" you want from the list:
Once you've narrowed your search results down to the digital item you want, you can click the green "Online access" to go to it:
If you're not already logged in, you'll be asked to sign in with your UMN internet ID and password. Once you're in the interface of the Libraries database that includes this digital item, look around - there may be helpful accompanying material like liner notes that can be useful for your research.
Locating physical materials in the Libraries catalog
The easiest way to find physical music materials like scores and recordings in the Libraries catalog is to start by searching for your keywords and then using the built-in search limiters to narrow your results to what you're looking for.
Some helpful ways to limit your results:
- Material Type: This is this most helpful way to limit results to scores, audio recordings, video recordings, and other types of materials. If you're not seeing the type of resource you need, check to see if there's an option for Remember to check the option for scores when you don't want to see books, journals, or other search results!
- Availability: Use this feature to limit to "Available Online" (streaming recordings, digital scores, PDFs of articles and dissertations, ebooks, and more) or "Available on Shelf" (print books, scores, and journals, as well as physical CDs, DVDs, and other recordings).
Once you've found materials in the catalog, the next step is use the information in the record to help you locate the items you want. Click on the record for the resource you want, scroll down, and you'll find information about where it's located in the form of a call number. If the item is a book or a score, the call number will have a letter (M for scores, ML for books about music literature and history, and MT for books about music technique, pedagogy, and all practical aspects of performing music), and a series of numbers. It may also have a word like Quarto or Folio before the letter(s) and numbers - this is very important for figuring out where in the Music Library the item is shelved. Lastly, the catalog can tell you whether an item is available ("Item in place") or unavailable because someone else has it checked out ("On loan").
For more information about navigating the Music Library and finding physical materials on the shelves, see the Access physical items (scores, recordings, books, journals) in the Music Library page of this guide.