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Music Library Resources at Case

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Resources for SAGES Scholars


First year students may find themselves in a First Seminar or University Seminar with a topic which relates to music. If you do not have a background in music, or even if you do, you may feel nervous trying to find information on various aspects of music or musicians. The materials listed below are a good start.

Background material:

Oxford Music Online. Use the advanced search. Grove Music Online gives long detailed articles and the Oxford Dictionary of Music gives very short summary articles. Includes biographies of composers and performers. Definitions/explanations of terms (such as sonata). In addition, articles on specific instruments, operas, musical ensembles and the musical life in specific cities and countries. Types of music include classical, jazz, world music, and popular musics.


Online Articles:

The easiest way to find online articles on music is via the KSL Discovery Search engine. A basic procedure for this:

Go to and locate the Discovery search box on the right hand side.

Overall strategy: execute searches which generate a large number of citations and then use various filters to reduce the results to a manageable set.

Step 1: Format your search after giving careful thought to the terms which most accurately represent your topic on a broad level. The best searches are small strings of nouns. Terms are connected by logical operators: AND, OR, NOT, but the AND operator is understood and doesn’t need to be explicitly included. Generally avoid terms such as: relationship, effect, or impact which relate search terms to each other. You may use a single asterisk to stand in for multiple characters: wom*n = woman or women, music* = music or musician or musical. Phrases should be put in quotes: “united states”.

Step 2: Apply as many mechanical limits as possible. For online journal articles, apply the following limits from the left hand sidebar: under Refine Results section, under Limit To click on Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals; and under Limit By Source Type click on Academic Journals (this will eliminate some of the journal articles which are book reviews). Explore other limiters as needed.

Step 3: Browse the results to find relevant articles. There are a number of ways to browse quickly and effectively:

a. Note the article title.

b. Note the name of the journal. This may help you understand the author’s perspective on a subject.

c. In the article summary, note the Subjects at the bottom of the summary. These are also clues to content.

d. Access the full text and download to your computer. Use the Find command to see if certain terms related to your topic are present and where they appear in the article.

Step 6: If an article looks promising, click the "Add to Folder" icon to the right of the article’s title. This will place the article in a save folder for as long as you stay in Discovery. If you leave Discovery you will lose your saved articles.

Step 7: The key to this search strategy is step 7, which is a reiteration of steps 3-6: Once you have browsed articles under one subject heading, go back, uncheck your choice under Limit by Subject (and sometimes even Discipline) and choose another to work with. Repeat the process of browsing and saving. Do this as long as you like, choosing different subject terms, different disciplines, even modifying your original search. Browse and save from these sets of articles.

Step 8: When you feel you have enough articles, click on your saved articles folder in the upper right-hand corner. Note that you can reformat the list in various citation formats such as MLA or Chicago/Turabian. Be sure to email the list (in its original or Discovery format) to yourself. By doing so you will receive a list which retains links to the full text.

Online Audio:

The Kelvin Smith Library subscribes to four streaming audio databases from which you can listen to audio through your computer.


The book collections at Kulas have many items on music history, composers, performers, musical forms, musical instruments, and various types of music (classical, jazz, world music, and popular genres). Use the library's online catalog to find these materials. A good place to start is a subject search on music, a type of music form, the name of an instrument; or the name (last name, first name) of composers, performers; or the name of ensembles.

The local book collections are greatly expanded by the collections at OhioLINK libraries. Execute your search in the local catalog, explore what we have, and then click on the Search OhioLINK button to see what is in the OhioLINK collections.

CWRU Libraries Discovery