What kind of recordings does the Music Library have?

The Music Library is home to over 30,000 CDs, DVDs, LPs, cassette tapes, and VHS tapes - many of which UMN-affliated users can borrow and take out of the library for up to seven days. Our physical audio/visual materials are held behind the Music Library circulation desk so there isn't a way to browse them, but you can easily search for them in the University Libraries catalog.

How to search for physical recordings (CDs, DVDs, etc.)

Digital or streaming recordings are covered on other pages of this guide - check out the Find streaming audio and Find streaming video pages! - but you can use the University Libraries catalog to search our collections of CDs, DVDs, LPs, and more.

The easiest way to find physical recordings in the Libraries catalog is to start by using "Advanced Search" - just click the down arrow next to the search box on the Libraries homepage, and choose "Advanced Search" from the list:


Once you're in Advanced Search, you have two options:

  • Libraries Search: This option will search for physical materials on the Libraries shelves, but it will also search many of our digital resources. The number of results for your search will be higher and items like CDs and DVDs may get buried, so it's not the best option for searching for physical recordings.
  • Catalog Only: If you're looking for physical materials like CDs and DVDs, Catalog Only is the option you want. Catalog Only doesn't search our digital resources, and the interface for this option will also allow you to limit your search results to "audio" or "video" materials only.


Using the Material Type menu: This is where you'll find the options to limit your search results to audio recordings or video recordings (in addition to scores and other types of materials):


By limiting to only certain types of materials before starting your search, you'll get fewer results back and they'll all be more relevant to what you're actually looking for. Compare these images of the results of searching for "Margaret Bonds" as a keyword with any search limits set using the Catalog Only options and searching for Margaret Bonds materials with the Search Scope set to "Music Library" and the Material Type set to "audio":

WITHOUT search limiters: 82 results, including books, scores, A/V materials, conference proceedings, and more:

Image of the UMN Libraries catalog, Advanced Search interface using the Catalog Only option. Search results for "Margaret Bonds" as a keyword without any search limiters set from the Search Scope and Material Type menus. Results number at 82, and include books, scores, articles, A/V materials, and more.

WITH search limiters (Search Scope: "Music Library" and Material Type: "Audio"): 12 results, audio recordings only:

Image of the UMN Libraries catalog, Advanced Search interface using the Catalog Only option. Search results for "Margaret Bonds" as a keyword with the search limiters Search Scope: "Music Library" and Material Type: "audio." Results number at 12, and include only audio recordings.


Once you've found materials in the catalog that you want to access, 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 CD or DVD, it will have a call number that includes "CD-" or "DVD-" and a series of numbers. LPs and other materials have various types of call numbers. 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"). All A/V materials are held behind the Music Library circulation desk, so please bring your call number to a member of the Music Library staff and we'll bring your materials to you!

An image from the UMN Libraries catalog highlighting where to find the call number and how to know if the item is available on the shelf (the catalog will say "Item in place") or unavailable because another user has it checked out (the catalog will say "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.


Questions? Need help? 

Please contact Music Librarian Jessica Abbazio (jabbazio@umn.edu) or the Music Library staff (musiclib@umn.edu) for help!

Last Updated: Sep 7, 2021 9:59 AM