Learn new skills for effective and efficient library research
Our tutorials will help you save time! Learn how to:
General Research Tools
- Library CatalogSearch with the Library Catalog to find books, journals, etc. owned by the library. Search by keyword, subject, title, or author for materials on your topic.
- UMN Libraries Streaming Video Collections GuideThis is a guide of university licensed and freely available quality digital (mostly streaming) video online resources.
- JSTORFind full text articles in academic journals or books on the arts, humanities, social sciences, and sciences. JSTOR provides articles from the journal's first issue. In some cases the most recent 2-5 years may not be available. View this tutorial to learn how to go from a general idea to a very precise set of results of journal articles and scholarly materials.
- WorldCatFind books, journals, articles, maps, music scores, sound recordings, films, theses/dissertations, machine-readable data files, and any other materials available in libraries worldwide. All subject areas are covered. Request items through Interlibrary Loan using the ILLiad link on each item's record. A mobile version of this database is available. Limited to 65 simultaneous users.
- Using the Libraries During COVID-19The Libraries look different right now, but we are still able to help you get materials and research assistance! This page has up-to-date information about building openings and hours, and other Covid-19-related library questions.
Find Dance and Theatre Digital, Print, and Media Resources
- Dance Online: Dance Studies CollectionHistorical context of 20th and 21st century dance through 150,000 pages of exclusive periodicals, reference materials, books, dance notation, and photographs, including the complete run of Dance Magazine (1927–present).
- International Bibliography of Theatre and DanceSearch dance and theater arts journals on topics such as performing arts, ballet, drama, opera, film, and more.
- Performing Arts Periodicals DatabaseSearch journals on a broad spectrum of the arts and entertainment industry - including dance, drama, theater, stagecraft, musical theater, circus performance, opera, pantomime, puppetry, magic, performance art, film, television and more. Formerly the International Index to Performing Arts.
- Performance Design Archive OnlineComprehensive, international collection that covers all aspects of theater production design, from the 17th century through to the present day, including, scenic and set design, lighting design, sound design, costume design, makeup, and more.
- Dance in VideoDance in Video contains dance productions and documentaries by the most influential performers and companies of the 20th century. Selections cover ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary, experimental, and improvisational dance, as well as forerunners of the forms and the pioneers of modern concert dance.
- Theatre in Video: Volume IWatch hundreds of online videos, including documentaries and definitive performances of the worlds most important plays. From Shakespeare to rare, in-depth footage of the work of Samuel Beckett including a range of 20th century theatre history. Interviews with directors, designers, writers, and actors, along with excerpts of live performances deliver an authentic, behind-the-scenes look at hundreds of productions.
- Oxford Handbooks OnlineOxford Handbooks contain peer-reviewed articles in arts and humanities and social sciences disciplines. Dance volumes include the Oxford Handbook of Dance and the Popular Screen, the Oxford Handbook of Dance Competition, and the Oxford Handbook of Music and the Body, among many others.
- Oxford Reference OnlineContains 100 language and subject dictionaries and other reference works, and searches across these resources. Limited to 5 simultaneous users.
Get some background: Music-specific resources with information about musicians, genres, styles, and more
Know what dancer/musician combo you'd like to research and want to learn more about musician biographies and the history of musical styles? Some suggestions for getting started:
- Check out music-specific encyclopedias like Oxford Music Online and Bloomsbury Popular Music for background information (these are the scholarly, trustworthy versions of Wikipedia)
- Find for primary sources like concert and recording reviews in RIPM Jazz Periodicals and ProQuest Historical Newspapers
- Use the links below to find music-related sources, or contact Music Librarian Jessica Abbazio (firstname.lastname@example.org) for help!
- African American Music ReferenceFind articles on the blues, jazz, spirituals, civil rights songs, slave songs, minstrelsy, rhythm and blues, gospel, and other forms of black American musical expression from encyclopedias, biographies, chronologies, sheet music, images, lyrics, liner notes, and discographies.
- Bloomsbury Music and SoundBloomsbury Music and Sound provides an in-depth analysis of popular music in a global context. It includes the entirety of the Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World and the 33 1/3 series of books exploring key albums.
- Music Magazine Archive (Rock, Folk, and Hip-Hop & Rap)Search historic magazines focused on Rock, Folk, and Hip-Hop & Rap of a diverse and influential group of magazines. These publications uniquely capture the social and historical context including race, class, gender, American studies, youth culture, and more.
- Oxford Music OnlineSearch this authoritative collection for music research resources charting the diverse histories and cultures of music around the globe. Access is limited for 8 simultaneous users.
- Proquest Historical NewspapersSearch old editions major U.S. newspapers and the Times of India. Papers include the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, and the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Other titles include the Atlanta Daily World, Chicago Defender, Christian Science Monitor, Los Angeles Sentinel, the New York Amsterdam News, Pittsburgh Courier, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post.
- RIPM Jazz PeriodicalsHigh-quality scans of historical American jazz periodicals. RIPM (LeRépertoire international de la presse musicale) was founded in 1980 under the auspices of the International Musicological Society (IMS) and the International Association of Music Libraries, Archives, and Documentation Centres (IAML), with a mission to preserve and to provide access to eighteenth-, nineteenth- and twentieth-century periodical literature dealing with music, and to facilitate and encourage research based on the press. RIPM Jazz Periodicals currently contains 125 jazz journals, covering the period from 1914 to 2010.
Evaluating your sources (find the right source for your research!)
Now that you've done some biographical research on both the dancer you've chosen and their musician collaborators, and you've explored some of the history of the style of music that that musician plays, you might want to find some more specialized sources to read and recordings to listen to!
If you've only found general information about these dancers and musicians but want to find additional resources that include more specific info, this might take some looking around. At this point in the process, evaluating the sources you find is key since not all sources are created equal! Here are some ideas for questions to ask yourself as you're evaluating the sources you find and deciding whether or not to use them for your research:
How did you find it - The Libraries catalog? A Libraries database? Google? YouTube? Remember: Just because you found something through Google, that doesn’t mean it’s automatically credible or not credible - you just need to evaluate it!
Is the info you found in this source trustworthy? Is the video what it says it is? What do you know about the author/publisher? Do you trust their authority on this topic?
What kind of useful keywords or ideas can you draw from this source to inform additional searches for resources?
Remember: Evaluating sources early in the process can help to ensure that you're working with the best and most trustworthy information!
Find music media: Streaming audio and video
In addition to the content you find through YouTube, you can also find lots of streaming recordings through the Libraries! We have subscriptions to streaming audio and video databases with trustworthy metadata (meaning the content is what it says it is!), and that may also include digital versions of liner notes (which are really helpful resources for research about musicians and performances!). Check out the selected resources below, and visit the Find streaming audio and Find streaming video tabs of the Finding Music Materials Guide for more streaming databases.
- Database of Recorded American MusicSubscription has been cancelled effective 12/31/2022. The Database of Recorded American Music (DRAM) is a collaboration between New World Records, Composers Recordings Inc., and New York University. DRAM offers on-demand access to audio-streaming files of complete works by American composers. More than 4,000 albums from over 40 independent record labels and archives, documenting over 7,500 compositions from the catalogs of the New World, CRI, Albany, innova, Cedille, XI, Pogus, Deep Listening, Mutable, and other record labels. Ranging from folk to opera, native American to jazz, 19th-century "classical" to early rock, and musical theater to contemporary, electronic, and more, DRAM's goal is to make available for educational use and scholarly research the widest possible spectrum of recorded American music. Alongside the high-quality music streams, complete liner notes, scholarly essays, bibliographies, and discographies are available for viewing on the Database. Playlists can be created by faculty to address specific curriculum needs.
- Jazz at Lincoln CenterExplore streaming and digital content for education, interviews with performers, and archival footage of concerts from the Jazz at Lincoln Center program.
- Music Online: Jazz Music LibraryJazz Music Library streams over a half-million audio tracks from about 45,000 albums issued by such major labels as Verve, Impulse, Jazzology, Black Swan, Circle Records, Paramount, Concord, Fantasy, Milestone, Monterey Jazz Festival Records, Original Jazz Classics, Pablo, Peak, Prestige, Riverside, Stretch Records, and Original Jazz Classics. The list of artists ranges from Buddy Guy, Charlie Parker, Chuck Mangione, Dinah Washington, Diana Krall, Ella Fitzgerald, Etta James, Grover Washington, Jr., Les Paul, Louis Armstrong, Nina Simone, and Peggy Lee, to Quincy Jones, Ramsey Lewis, Sarah Vaughan, Stan Getz, Bill Evans, Billie Holliday, Thelonius Monk, Tony Bennett, and many others.
- Jazz: A Film by Ken Burns10 episodes tracing the history of Jazz from its roots in the African-American community of New Orleans to its heights and continuing presence.
Episode 1. Gumbo (ca. 90 min.) -- episode 2. The gift (ca. 120 min.) -- episode 3. Our language (ca. 120 min.) -- episode 4. The true welcome (ca. 120 min.) -- episode 5. Swing : pure pleasure (ca. 90 min.) -- episode 6. Swing : the velocity of celebration (ca. 105 min.) -- episode 7. Dedicated to chaos (ca. 120 min.) -- episode 8. Risk (ca. 120 min.) -- episode 9. The adventure (ca. 120 min.) -- episode 10. A masterpiece by midnight (ca. 120 min.).