Finding journal articles might seem confusing - but it doesn't have to be!
There are a few ways to find journal articles:
- Searching for a known item - someone tells you about a journal article or you find it in a bibliography, and you want to find a PDF and read that exact article.
- Searching keywords, author names, subjects, etc. - you want to explore the different articles that are out there on a topic by searching in multiple journals at one time.
- Browsing a journal by title - maybe you want to see what's in the newer issues of Music Educators Journal, Music Theory Spectrum, or another journal.
See the info below for tips on each of these strategies, and reach out to Jessica Abbazio, Music Librarian, at email@example.com if you need help!
Searching for a known journal article
This is actually the easiest of the ways to search for journal article content! Start by entering as much information as you know about the article (usually the author and title will be enough) into the search box on the Libraries homepage (lib.umn.edu):
Then, use the built-in limiters to narrow your search results to what you're looking for. Limit to "Articles" under the "Material Type" menu, and then choose from "Available Online" for digital articles/PDFs or "Available on Shelf" for articles in print journals. (TIP: You can also use the "Availability" menu options to limit to peer-reviewed content!):
Search keywords, author names, subjects, etc. find many articles through Libraries databases
The Libraries subscribes to a number of databases that will allow you to search keywords across multiple journal titles at the same time
- First, think of these databases like streaming platforms like Netflix or Hulu - these databases let you find journals that include the articles you need (but the databases themselves don't create that content).
- Then, think about the individual journals like shows that are available through those platforms that you can browse for the episode you want to watch.
- Finally, think about individual articles like episodes of those shows that you can choose from!
Some of the most useful databases for finding music-related journals and articles are:
- RILM Abstracts of Music Literature with Full TextRILM Abstracts of Music Literature with Full Text is a comprehensive bibliography of writings about music featuring citations, abstracts, and indexes. It covers over one million publications from the early 19th century to the present on traditional music, popular music, classical music, and related subjects, enhanced with the full text of more than 200 periodicals.
- Music Index OnlineFind articles from 1979 to the present about music history, forms and types of music, musical instruments from ancient to modern, acoustic, electronic, and computer-produced music. Book reviews, reviews of music recordings, tapes, and performances, first performances, and obituaries are also included.
- Music Periodicals DatabaseFind articles from 350 international music journals, plus the New York Times and the Washington Post. Covers all types of music from classical to modern includes concert and music reviews. Useful for music education, performance, ethnomusicology, musical theatre, theory, popular music forms and composition.
- International Bibliography of Theatre and DanceSearch dance and theater arts journals on topics such as performing arts, ballet, drama, opera, film, and more.
- 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.
- Retrospective index to music periodicals with full textA unique collection of primary source periodicals for the study of music and musical life from 1760 to 1966.
Each of these journal resources have different levels and dates of coverage, and some records in them have full-text PDFs available to download (look for the PDF icon) while others may require you to place an interlibrary loan request to have the item sent to you digitally (look for the red and gold M-Find It button - this is a link to our ILL service). If you need help, contact Jessica at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The list above represents some music-specific suggestions, but the Libraries subscribes to many other journal article resources that search a wider range of disciplines and subjects. See the list below for additional resources and visit the Find journal articles tab of the Music Related Databases Guide for even more journal article databases!
Browsing the contents of a specific journal
Say you want to see what's in the most recent issues of a specific journal - the first step is to go to the Libraries homepage at lib.umn.edu and enter your journal's title in the search box. TIP: If the journal's title is more than one word long, search for it in quotation marks - "Music Educators Journal" - since this will tell the catalog that you want to search this exact phrase.
Once you see your search results, use the built-in limiters to narrow things down in case you don't see the title you need right away. This is the link to the Libraries catalog record for Music Educators Journal - this is what you'll see when you click on the relevant item in your list of search results.
Sometimes, there can actually a pretty hefty number of ways we have access to this title, but they don't all include the same years of coverage (e.g. JSTOR doensn't include the most recent 4 years of issues). When you go into the catalog record, read the descriptions of the coverage in each resource to make sure you'll be seeing the issues you really want. In the Music Educators Journal example, the best option is the link labeled "SAGE Premier 2009" - once you log in, this will lead to a landing page with access to issues from 1914 through June 2020 (it's a library mystery why the catalog says that clicking that link should only show from 1999 through the present, since it actually provides much more access than that). Once you're in the SAGE interface, you can browse, download PDFs of articles, search keywords within the entire journal, and filter by date: