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 and you want to find a PDF and read that exact article.
  • 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.
  • Searching keywords, author names, subjects, etc. to explore the different articles that are out there on a topic.


Scroll down on this page for detailed instructions on how to search in each of these ways, and for links to both music-specific and general databases where you can search for journal articles.


Need help finding journal articles? Reach out to Music Librarian Jessica at!

Your first stop for finding journal articles for your MUS 1013 project: JSTOR!

JSTOR is a fantastic place to start your search for journal articles:

  • It includes the contents of a number of music-specific journals, as well as more general journals that also include music content (it will also be a helpful resource for your non-music classes in the future!)
  • Everything you find in JSTOR is available as a full-text PDF that you can download directly from the database!
  • It's easy to locate - the University Libraries homepage ( includes a link to the JSTOR database right under the catalog search box:

    A screenshot of the University of Minnesota Libraries homepage ( with the link for JSTOR circled and an arrow pointing to it. An accompanying note reads "Use this link to log into JSTOR with your University ID and password!"


There is one drawback to JSTOR, however: it does NOT include the most recent several years of many journals' contents, so you won't find the newest scholarship in this database. If you need to find newer articles, use the resources linked further down on this page!



Once you log into JSTOR, you have several options for finding content:

  • Search by keyword: Know what you're looking for and want to search by keyword? Start here!
  • Advanced Search: Getting too many results for your searches and want to narrow things down? Use "Advanced Search"!
  • Browse by subject: Want to explore JSTOR's music-related journals? Try "Browse" and select the "By Subject" option

An image of the JSTOR search interface with arrows pointing to several options and the following notes about them: Search by keyword: Know what you're looking for and want to search by keyword? Start here! Advanced Search: Getting too many results for your searches and want to narrow things down? Use "Advanced Search"! Browse by subject: Want to explore JSTOR's music-related journals? Try "Browse" and select the "By Subject" option


Searching for a known journal article

This is actually the easiest of the ways to search for journal article content! Just enter 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 ( and use the built-in limiters to narrow your search results to what you're looking for. If you want to enter more detailed information to ensure you get fewer search results to sift through, click the down arrow next to the search box and choose "Advanced Search":

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 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:


An image of the landing page for the Libraries SAGE Journals access to Music Educators Journal. The places to click for searching this title by keyword and browsing by issue are highlighted.

Search keywords, author names, subjects, etc. to explore the types of articles that are out there on a topic

The Libraries subscribes to a number of resources that will allow you to search keywords across multiple journal titles at the same time - think of these like Google Chrome or Firefox: these browsers let you find other content, but they're not the publishers of that content.

Some of the most useful journal databases for music-related research are:


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



Several of these resources - RILM, Music Index, and International Bibliography of Theatre and Dance - are all made available by the same vendor, EBSCO. Because of this, you can actually search all three of these resource at ONE TIME! Once you're logged into any of these resources, click "Choose Databases" at the top of the screen and select the checkboxes for the other resources you'd like to include in your search. This will save you time!

A screenshot of the interface that provides access to a number of databases like RILM, Music Index, International Bibliography of Theatre and Dance, and more. The link that provides the option to choose multiple databases to search simultaneously is circled.


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 Music Related Databases Guide for even more:

Last Updated: Oct 4, 2021 2:03 PM