8 Music Library essentials

8 Music Library essentials

stanford users only = Stanford users only
Set up home computer ~ iphone

1. Searchworks, the library catalog

  • Search for books, CDs, DVDs, printed scores, streaming audio files, and digitized books and images.
  • Enter keywords such as composer name, song title, or opus number.
  • Use the Advanced Search to specify search word combinations (name + title + subject words)
  • Refine by Format to narrow results to Music – Recording or Music – Score.
  • Refine by Location to limit results to the Music Library.
  • Refine by Topic to discover narrower subject areas.
  • Use rss alerts to keep up-to-date on new arrivals in your areas of interest.

Learn to use Uniform Titles to search for musical works with generic titles.


2. Grove Music Online stanford users only

Grove Music Online is the gold standard for scholarly music information. It includes the complete print version of the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, New Grove Dictionary of Opera, and New Grove Dictionary of Jazz; and has begun adding articles from the New Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments.


  • Always begin your research by reading the relevant Grove article(s). Yes, it’s better than Wikipedia.
  • Search Grove Music Online only, or all four Oxford University Press databases (includes the Encyclopedia of Popular Music, the Oxford Dictionary of Music, and the Oxford Companion to Music).
  • Search for words within articles. 
  • Composer biographies include authoritative lists of works, often with useful identifying information (key, catalog number, dates of composition and publication) 
  • Articles conclude with bibliographies of important writings on the topic.
  • See the helpful User Tips.


3. The Reference Room

The majority of important sources for music study continue to be in print only. Music reference sources lists examples from each of the major categories, including encyclopedias, dictionaries, and bibliographies.


4. The M Classification Outline

Music books and scores are arranged following the “M” Classification outline, developed by the Library of Congress (view the full outline here). This allows materials to be shelved together by topic, genre, or number of performers, to facilitate browsing.

  • Browse the guide online or in print (located at M1.1, at the foot of the stairs). Use the index at the back of the print volume.


5. Journal Articles stanford users only

Journal titles can be searched in Searchworks, but individual article titles cannot. Articles are searchable by title, author, type, and/or subject, in several databases.


  • The X-Search music subject page allows searching across all music databases (new!)
  • Full-text article content may be available online, or only in print; comprehensive research requires using both formats.
  • See the e-journals page for details and links. [link forthcoming]


 6Streaming Media stanford users only 

Stanford subscribes to eight music streaming databases and two video databases providing on-demand access to classical, jazz, and non-Western music performances. Mobile apps are available.


7. My Account   stanford users only

View all of your library-related transactions, including a list of what you have checked out, what may be overdue, any fines you may owe or have paid, and the status of your holds and requests. You can also use My Account to renew library materials. Pay your bills at the Green Library Loan Desk. Resolve questions regarding borrowing statusat the Green Library Privileges Desk


8. The Library Staff

We are here to help you succeed!

We can:

  • Explain how to use reference sources
  • Help you search in Searchworks and journal databases
  • Help you formulate research strategies on your topic
  • Help you identify musical works
  • Help you identify materials not in Stanford’s collections, and how to get them
  • Help you identify historical sound recordings in the Archive of Recorded Sound


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