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The following is a selected list of resources for starting research in Music. For further assistance, contact Ann Shaffer, Music and Dance Librarian, at  Most of the resources listed in this guide are located near the Music Collection, 3rd floor of the Knight Library.

Starting Your Research


These sources can help you identify a topic for your research. Some provide an overview of a specific issue and suggest other materials which might be useful for your research. Others help you to notice a topic that might be of interest to you.

  • Subject Encyclopedias
    Look at encyclopedias and subject dictionaries. The latest ones for music are located in MUSIC REFERENCE in the ML100 section. They provide essay type articles and a list of citations. A few titles include:


    • The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. [MUS. REF. ML100 .N48 2001] The second edition of the 29-volume set is a comprehensive resource on music and musicians. An online version is available by searching the UO Library's catalog under the title Grove Music Online.
    • Harvard Dictionary of Music. 4th ed. [MUS. REF. ML100 .H37 2003]
    • For a list of other music dictionaries and encyclopedias at the UO, see Dictionaries and Encyclopedias for Musicians
  • Journals; Current Periodicals
    Browse through the table of contents for current music journals. These are kept on the third floor on the Current Periodicals shelves, across from the Music Reference Desk. Many music journals will be in the ML 1, ML 5, and ML 27 call number ranges.

Finding Articles


To look for articles in journals, newspapers, or magazines, you will need to start with an index. An index will allow you to look by subject or a few keywords which describe your topic or by author.

  • Music Index [MUS. REF. ML118 .M84]
    The oldest index to music articles, going back to 1949. The years 1976 to the present are available on the web.
  • RILM Music Abstracts [MUS. REF. ML118 .R4]
    A scholarly, multi-lingual index to articles in journals, books, and dissertations related to music and dance.
  • For a comprehensive list of indexes at the UO to music and music-related topics, see Music Indexes and Abstracts.

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Finding Books

  • UO Library Catalog
    Identify books by topic, title or author; identify journals and magazines owned by the UO Library. To find journal articles on your topic, use the databases listed in the section above. Once you have a citation, you can check the library catalog by doing a title search on the name of the journal to see if we have it here.
  • Summit (Orbis Cascade) Catalog
    Orbis/Cascade Alliance is a consortium of libraries that doubles our collection. You can borrow books not owned by the UO Library by selecting the Request Item option. Orbis Cascade works only for books. If you want to request a journal articles, you'll need to fill out an interlibrary loan form.
  • WorldCat
    WorldCat provides access to library catalogs from around the world. The database contains bibliographic records describing books, journals, maps, musical scores, manuscripts, etc.

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  • Begin your search for recordings in the UO Local Catalog by choosing to limit your search to Audio Recordings, then:
  • Search the Author section of the UO Local Catalog for composers, performers, lyricists, or musical groups.
  • Search the Keyword section of the UO Local Catalog for individual songs on albums.
  • Search the Subject section of the UO Local Catalog for kinds of music (e.g. Popular Music; Rock Music; Folk Music; Musicals, etc.)
  • To see what online audio resources we have, go to the Library's main site and click on the Videos & Music page. Scroll to the bottom of the page, where we have the connections to Audio Resources Online and choose DRAM [the Database of Recorded American Music] (for recordings on the New World and the CRI labels); American Song (an audio collection celebrating the history of American vocal music and African American song); Contemporary World Music (for the pop and folk music of the world); Classical Music Library (for recordings in the EMI Classical label, as well as many other classical recordings); and the Smithsonian Global Sound (for recordings of the Folkways and the Smithsonian archives).
    If you can't decide what music to listen to online, go to our Music Online search page, which allows you to search many of the databases listed above.
  • Search our Subject Discographies for recordings, such as Blues, Country, Jazz, and World Music.
  • See the Compact Disc Search  section on hints for searching the Library's catalog.
  • To see what is currently in print, see Verifying Recordings in Print

People & Organizations

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Web Resources

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Created by ashaffer on Jun 18, 2012 Last updated Aug 24, 2015
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