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Simpson | Stafford | Special Collections

Music: Locating Articles

A research guide to finding books, articles, and other resources in Music

Using Databases

Databases provide access to published material in:

  • magazines
  • newspapers
  • scholarly journals
  • books
  • and other valuable information sources.

Magazines vs. Journals

Magazines are periodicals that are generally popular in nature, unlike journals, which are usually more scholarly and specialized.  Here are some differences between the two:

  Appearance

Magazine: Glossy; pictures often in color.
Journal: More serious look; few pictures, if any.

♦  Content

Magazine: Current events; general interest. 
Journal: More specialized; research topics.

♦  Audience

Magazine: General public.
Journal: Scholars and researchers in a particular field.

♦  Style

Magazine: Written for the average reader.
Journal: Written for others in the field; shows research.

♦  Foot / Endnotes and Bibliographies

Magazine: Few notes, if any.  No bibliographies.
Journal: Includes notes and sometimes bibliographies.

♦  Advertisements

Magazine: Many ads, often in color. 
Journal: Few or no ads.  If any, they are usually for books.

Citing Your Sources

While writing research papers, you may need to:

  List your sources in bibliographies or works cited, and

♦  Provide either footnotes or endnotes.

Here is a link to the UMW Libraries' Guide to Citing Resources.

Music Databases

Grove Music Online. (For description see Oxford Music Online.)
 
Provides an online classical music library through streaming access to CDs.  Includes classical, jazz, and world music labels as well as pop and rock music and Chinese orchestral music.

Oxford Music Online
Includes the full text of The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (2001), The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, (1992) The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz (2002), and The Grove Dictionary of American Music (2013).   Also provides access to The Oxford Companion to Music (2002) and The Oxford Dictionary of Music (2006).

RILM Abstracts of Music Literature
(1967 to date) An international index to writings on music, including works of criticism, musicology, ethnomusicology, instruments, pop and jazz, theory, performance, and related disciplines.  The database covers books, journals, conference proceedings, catalogues, dissertations, recordings, and reviews. 

Other Useful Databases

Academic Search Complete (approximately 1880s to date)
Provides abstracts and full-text articles from more than 10,000 books, scholarly journals, magazines, newspapers, and reference works on a wide variety of topics.
 
Provides digital access to more than 6,500 American magazines and journals published between 1691 and 1877.  (Because all issues of bound volumes were digitized, some periodicals beyond 1877 are included.)
 
Provides digitized images of more than 1,000 American magazines, journals, and newspapers.
 
An index to millions of biographical sketches in hundreds of reference books and other sources. To use the index, 1) Look up your name. 2) Note the various titles that contain information on the person. 3) Use the Libraries' online catalog to locate the reference works. An excellent place to begin biographical research on living and deceased persons from around the world.
 
"Offers full text for most of the dissertations added since 1997 and strong retrospective full text coverage for older graduate works."
 
Indexes nearly 1,200 periodicals.
 
Humanities Full Text (indexing: 1984 to date; select full text: 1995 to date)
Indexes some 600 journals in the humanities.
 
Humanities International Complete (coverage varies; approximately 1985 to date)
Provides the full text of hundreds of magazines, journals, books, and other works.
 
JSTOR (archived publications from the 1800s to the last 1-5 years)
A full-text collection of scholarly journals in a wide variety of disciplines in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences. To focus your search, use the Advanced Search and the "narrow by discipline" and "language" limiters.
 
A multidisciplinary database that provides the full text from a variety of the company's full-text databases, including Education, General Science, Humanities, Readers' Guide, Social Sciences, and Business. When available, the full text is included from these databases: Applied Science & Technology, Art, Biological & Agricultural Index, Index to Legal Periodicals & Books, and Library Literature & Information Science. Coverage dates: Indexing, 1982+; Abstracting, 1984+; select full text, 1994+ (start dates for full-text coverage vary from journal to journal within a database).
 
Project Muse (coverage varies; mostly 1995 to date)
Provides online access to more than 400 scholarly journals in the humanities, arts, and social sciences.
 
Proquest Databases (coverage varies)
By clicking on "view by subject" and then de-selecting all of the selected databases, users can pick and choose resources or search by broad categories.
 
Provides full-text and full-image articles for the New York Times (1851 to within the last several years) the Washington Post (1877 to 1991), and the Chicago Tribune (1849-1987). Users can search the newspapers separately or together.

Having trouble accessing a database?

Please view our troubleshooting guide for quick fixes and more information.