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Research in the Disciplines: Music and Music of the Moment: Finding scholarly articles about music and dance in indexes

Research tips and tools for the Research in the Disciplines Music classes


Many of the indexes and databases Rutgers subscribes to are provided by various companies, which means that the interfaces will look different at first glance. Try to ignore the different colors and placement of the search boxes - underneath it all most of them work the same way!

Here are some tips to guide you through your searching:

  • If you're just beginning, try expanding your search by adding a truncation symbol to your search term. For example, if you're looking for articles about fans, try typing "fan*" instead. This will pull up results for fan, fans, and fandom (in the catalog, the truncation symbol is $).
  • Most databases will let you limit your results to English only. This could come in handy if you're getting too many foreign-language results, but don't necessarily rule these other articles out! Remember, music is a language too, and sometimes pictures and musical examples can explain things as well as the text around them.
  • Remember, when you're searching a music database, the word "music" will be in just about every item, so you don't need to include it in your search. But, when you're searching a non-music database like Sociological Abstracts, using the word "music" in your search can really help limit your results.
  • Read the abstracts and subject headings (sometimes called descriptors) for other possible keywords that might apply to your research.
  • Use the Get it at R or Search for article link to see if you can access your result either electronically or in print. Note: if the item you're looking for is not available electronically, don't give up! Make sure to follow the link that says "Search the library's catalog by title" to see if we have it in print.
  • Consider marking the best results and then emailing them to yourself. This will help you keep track of where and what you've searched and help you create your bibliography in the end. Most databases have this option.


Music and performing arts databases

You can search both RILM and Music Index at the same time by clicking "choose databases" above the search boxes and selecting both indexes.

Get it at R

What happens when I click ?

Clicking this button runs a software program that tries to do several things for you.  Understanding the process will help you find your book or article more easily when the button doesn't work!

1. When you click "get it @ R," a program reads the citation information for your book or article from whatever database you're searching.  Say you're looking to find the full text of "The Broadway canon from Show boat to West Side story and the European operatic ideal" in the Journal of Musicology, 1993, 11(4) 525-544.  If you click "get it @ R," the program will go out and look to see whether or not Rutgers subscribes to the Journal of Musicology electronically, and if so, if we have access to the year 1993.  If it finds that Rutgers does, it will try to connect to the volume, issue, and page number of the article you're looking for.  Here we have success - when we do this search in RILM, Get it @ R finds that we have access to JM in JSTOR.

2. The program might determine we don't have electronic access though.  This could happen for books, chapters in books, dissertations, or journal articles we don't have access to online.  If that's the case, you'll probably get a screen that looks like this:


Screenshot of unsuccessful Get it @ R

What to do now?  Try clicking on Search the library catalog by Title.  This will run a search for the journal title, Repercussions, in the catalog, letting you know if we've got a print copy of the journal.  In this case, it turns out we do have volume four, issue two, of Repercussions in the Music Library.  You could either go down to the Music Library and copy the article yourself, or submit an Article Request form to get a copy emailed to you.

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