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UMW Libraries
Simpson Library | Special Collections

Music: Books

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

Search the Catalog

To find books, use the library catalog. The catalog includes both print books and e-books.

The catalog is a subset of Quest, which also searches the library databases. The search box below is for the catalog only (not the databases).

UMW Libraries

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Locating books on the shelves

When you find a physical book in Quest, write down its call number, and then go to the shelves.

To use call numbers, read them from the top down.

A label on the spine of a book, displaying the call number PR 8875 .P46 1999

For example, here's how you'd find this book:

  • First, follow the alphabet to the PR section of the library.
  • Next, within the PR section, look in numerical order for 8875.
  • Next, within the books numbered 8875, look in alphabetical and numerical order for .P46.
  • (1999 is the year the book was published.)

Library of Congress Classification

Books are shelved according to Library of Congress Classification. In this system, the library is divided into twenty-one broad subject areas, each of which is assigned one letter of the alphabet.

Books about music are assigned the letter M. Within this classification are three subclasses:

  • M -- Sheet music
  • ML -- Literature on music
  • MT -- Instruction and study


For details on how books are arranged within these subclasses, see this PDF guide:

Interlibrary Loan

If Simpson Library doesn't have the item that you're looking for, you can have it sent from another library. This is called interlibrary loan, and it's a free service.

Click here to create an interlibrary loan account and to request items from other libraries.

Cooperative Borrowing Program