Getting started

Welcome to a guide to research customized for MUS 3241 / 5241: Vocal Literature (German Lieder) and Pedagogy! This guide includes suggestions of strategies and resources to help you get started with research on analysis, for writing program notes, for exploring reception history, and more. 

This guide is broken up by the types of research tasks that you might be interested in (e.g., finding streaming recordings, locating background information, accessing journal articles, etc.). Use the tabs (located on the left side of the screen in a desktop browser, or at the very top or bottom of the page on a mobile device) to explore these different research tasks.

New for Fall 2020: For general information about University Libraries services and resources like hours, information on returning books and scores, and more, please visit our Using the Libraries during COVID-19 page.
 

Questions? Need help? 

This guide is made up of lists of suggestions and general resources. Need help finding something more specific? Contact Music Librarian Jessica Abbazio (jabbazio@umn.edu) or the Music Library staff (musiclib@umn.edu).

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Willing to give a little feedback? 

We'd be so grateful for your feedback on this guide and the accompanying instruction session for MUS 3241/5241! A two-question survey is available at https://z.umn.edu/music-library-instruction-survey, and your thoughts and opinions will help improve future sessions like this. Thanks for considering!

First thing's first: Why are library research skills important?

Because finding relevant and trustworthy sources will help you to understand your topic – and it will make it easier to talk/write about it.
 

Finding relevant and trustworthy sources on whatever you're researching – as opposed to Wikipedia or the first few results for a Google search – will make it easier to get started with exploring and writing about your topic. Wikipedia is an easy place to start, but it may not give you all the information you need. Diving into scholarly and peer-reviewed sources like the ones you’ll find through the Libraries is a great way to locate detailed information you can trust.

Gathering sources that are on-target for your topic will help you gain a thorough understanding of what you’d like to write about. This will make it easier to get started!

Starting your search for sources, part 1: Creating a list of search terms/keywords

Now that you’ve chosen a few specific Lieder and composers to focus on, the next thing you’ll need to get started is a few keywords to help you search for background information on your topic(s) to help you find relevant sources. Try to describe the topic you'd like to explore in 1-2 sentences - what keywords come to mind? 

Aim for making a list of about 6-8 keywords associated with your topic. These can include key composers, performers, genres, names of instruments, or any other words that you think of. These keywords will give you something to start searching for in the resources we discussed in class. 

And don’t be afraid to revise your list of keywords as you go along! The more you learn about your topic, the more refined your keywords will become – which will help you to find additional useful sources as you continue to search.

Starting your search for sources, part 2: Creating an effective search strategy

After completing this tutorial, you will be able to:
  • Use meaningful keywords to find the best sources
  • Apply search strategies like AND and OR to connect keywords

Starting your search for sources, part 3: Where should you start looking?

The Libraries catalog and databases are the best place to get started to find books, scholarly journal articles, scores, recordings with metadata (like who's performing and when the performance took place) and liner notes you can trust, and more! These materials are all free to you as a University of Minnesota student and by using them, you'll find more relevant and trustworthy content than you'd find by using google.

Tutorial: What is a library database and why should I use one?

After completing this tutorial, you will be able to:
  • Identify what a library database is
  • Recognize the two main types of library databases
  • Know why you should use them
  • Understand why searching a library database is different than searching the general internet

Tutorial: Database search tips

Improve your searches! This guide will help you be able to:
  • Apply search modifiers AND, OR, and NOT to your database searches
  • Recognize phrase searching and other advanced search techniques

Some music-specific examples to help you find what you really want: Tricks for searching in the Libraries catalog and databases

Last Updated: Sep 16, 2020 3:25 PM