by Brian Gray
Last Updated Jan 28, 2022
273 views this year
This is a guide to the basic concepts involved in finding a music work. It was designed for the non-musician, but those with a musical background will find the concepts easier to grasp. It was also designed for circulation staff, but students can empower themselves by reading and learning the concepts presented here.
When internalizing these processes, one should also internalize two principles:
1. A music research librarian can find it faster than you can. So let them, if they're available.
2. You may never tell a patron that we don't have something, only that you can't find it.
Have them confirm with the music research librarian.
This will not cover author/title/subject searches for books; it's assumed that you understand this. Nor does it cover searches in periodicals, which are generally part of a whole research package and left to permanent staff. This covers answers to "I need Beethoven's 5th". Your first reply to such a question should be, "Do you have a call number?" If they do, they have either spoken to somebody already, or probably know what they're doing. If not, and you're the only one around, you will need the skills explained here.
Credit is due to Jeffrey Quick, Music Library Assistant for creating this guide prior to his retirement in July 2020. Revised and updated 5/12/21.