Searching Effectively

Music Research Resources


Music periodical indexes. (See also this list of databases)

  • Music Index. A comprehensive guide to articles on popular music as well as classical in hundreds of music periodicals of many countries. Citations include book reviews, obituaries, and news and articles about music, musicians, and the music industry. Music Index has been available in print since 1949. The online database contains millions of records from 1970 to the present and is updated quarterly. By default, the search engine looks for documents with all the terms entered. Use quotation marks to search for exact phrases. Separate terms with OR to find any of the words entered.
  • RILM Abstracts of Music Literature (with Full Text).From hip-hop to Händel, from ethnomusicology to music therapy, from elementary music education to advanced music theory, RILM provides clear, verified bibliographic information, fully cited, abstracted, and indexed. Documentation of conference proceedings goes back to 1835. RILM includes more than one million pages of full-text content from hundreds of periodicals in many languages published from the early 20th century to the present. Besides scholarly articles and reviews, RILM includes obituaries, editorials, correspondence, advertisements, and news items.
  • Music Periodicals Database. (Formerly International Index to Music Periodicals). Provides indexing and abstracts for several hundred international music periodicals from many countries, plus full text for many of the indexed journals. Some complete journal runs are included, with indexing back to 1874. Covers music education, performance, ethnomusicology, musical theater, theory, popular music forms, and composition. Covers both scholarly and popular music journals, ranging from International Journal of Music Education, Ethnomusicology, Jazz Education Journal, and Musical Times to Rock and Rap Confidential and Rolling Stone. By default, the search engine looks for documents with all the terms entered. Use quotation marks to search for exact phrases. Separate terms with OR to find any of the words entered.
  • Bibliographie des Musikschrifttums online. An international and interactive bibliography of literature on music edited by the Staatliches Institut für Musikforschung Preußischer Kuturbesitz (State Institute of Music Research). Printed volumes (ML113 .B5) cover the period 1950-1988 plus a few years in the 1930s. Publication was suspended during the Second World War. Currently, the Bibliographie des Musikschrifttums provides bibliographic data from 1950 to the present. It includes monographs, articles and reviews from journals, Festschriften, congress proceedings, yearbooks, anthologies and essays from critical reports. Main sources are national bibliographies, journals, monographs and subject bibliographies. Contributions from journals with an interdiscplinary view on music are considered for inclusion. Each year the editors check hundreds of sources and add thousands of titles. Conversion is in progress of the analog data from the periods 1936-1941 and 1976-1985. The site is available in English and German. Search terms are searched not only as author and title keywords but also as subject headings.
  • RIPM – With Full Text. An international annotated database indexing c.400 music periodicals from the 18th to early 20th centuries to c.1950, including articles, reviews, illustrations, music examples, and advertisements.
  • Rock's Backpages. An online archive of interviews, features, reviews, and other articles on pop music of many genres from the 1950s to the present. Full text and searchable. Includes some streaming audio.
  • RIPM Jazz Periodicals. A full-text collection of about 100 jazz journals and magazines published in the United States from roughly 1914 to 2000. All journal issues are out of print, with numerous complete publication runs reconstructed by RIPM.
  • mu:zines - music magazine archive. A series of digital collections including rock music magazines.
  • Entertainment Industry Magazine Archive. Primary sources for the history of the film and entertainment industries, from vaudeville and silent movies to c.2000. Includes US and UK trade magazines covering film, music, dance, broadcasting and theater, together with film fan magazines and music press.


Multidisciplinary periodical indexes. (See also this list of databases)

  • JSTOR. Multidisciplinary full-text database covering the journal literature of the arts and humanities, including important music journals. These include the complete back runs of titles dedicated to scholarly research and theory in the field of music, including journals published in the Netherlands, Croatia, Hungary, Germany, and France. Click here for a list.
  • Web of Science Citation Index. A multi-disciplinary index of the journal literature of the arts and humanities from 1975 to the present. It fully covers hundreds of leading arts and humanities journals, and indexes selected items from science and social science journals. Includes many major music journals, though fewer than the resources listed above. Allows cited reference searching, which lets you search citation data (the notes to articles), taking a known source and finding other sources that cite it, or lets you find sources citing work by a specific author. Updated weekly.


Library catalogs

  • OSU Libraries Catalog. Books, scores, sound recordings, videos available at the Music & Dance Library and other OSU libraries.
  • OhioLINK. A combined catalog of most Ohio college and university libraries and many Ohio public libraries. If an item is not available at OSU (not in our online catalog, checked out, etc.), you can search for it in this database and make an online request to have it sent here. The service is free, and most OhioLINK items arrive in three to five business days.
  • OCLC WorldCat. If you cannot locate an item in our online catalog or in the OhioLINK catalog, you can search this combined catalog of thousands of libraries around the world. Many items can be requested by interlibrary loan, and you can make the request online.
  • Additional library catalogs. A directory of libraries worldwide. Each listing includes links to the library's website and catalog.


Dissertations & theses

  • ProQuest Dissertations & Theses. Citations for dissertations and theses done at institutions worldwide. The Advanced Search option lets you limit your search to specific areas of music. Free PDFs of almost all dissertations done since 1997, and selected dissertations and theses prior to 1997.


Encyclopedias & dictionaries


Bibliographies & indexes

  • Index to Printed Music. Use this database to find individual pieces in complete works editions and anthologies (e.g., the M2 and M3 call number ranges). Searchable by title, composer, editor, genre, language, librettist, publisher, series, or instrumentation. The database lists sets and series organized by various criteria: composer (complete works: Gesamtausgaben), geographical area (Monuments: Denkmäler), period or style, original source (including manuscripts), anthologies.
  • RISM: Répertoire International des Sources Musicales. RISM is an international effort to identify sources of music and writings about music from the earliest times through c.1850. Sources include music prints, manuscripts, and libretti, as well as theoretical writings about music. The online catalog contains thousands of references to music manuscripts, representing the works of thousands of composers. The sources are preserved in the libraries and archives of various countries. RISM was founded in 1952 by the International Musicological Society and the International Association of Music Libraries.
  • Oxford Bibliographies
  • Oxford Reference Online. The Core Collection contains dictionary, language reference, and subject reference books published by Oxford University Press. A fully indexed, cross-searchable.
  • Credo Reference. Scholarly reference books for all subject areas, together with thousands of images, charts, and graphs.
  • Music Online: African American Music Reference. Reference texts, biographies, chronologies, sheet music, images, lyrics, liner notes, and discographies that chronicle the diverse history and culture of the African American experience through blues, jazz, spirituals, civil rights songs, slave songs, minstrels, rhythm and blues, gospel, and other forms of Black American musical expression.
  • MusRef - Bibliography of Music/Dance Reference Sources - Brigham Young University - Bibliographies and reference sources (print and online), several hundred of which are annotated with critiques on use, coverage, organization, and pros and cons. Many entries also list published reviews for the corresponding sources. Regularly updated. Includes directories, dictionaries and encyclopedias, periodical indexes and other specialized indexes, bibliographies of music research, repertory guides, thematic catalogs, catalogs of music collections and exhibits, discographies, chronologies, and select histories and guides to music librarianship.
  • ArchiveGrid. ArchiveGrid helps researchers looking for primary source materials held in archives, libraries, museums, and historical societies by offering millions of records describing archival materials, historical documents, personal papers, family histories, and more. More than a thousand archival institutions are represented.
  • Folksong Index (Oberlin College Libraries and Sing Out!)
  • Beethoven Gateway (San Jose State University). A system of online databases to assist with discovery of resources on the composer Ludwig van Beethoven.


Scores : Go to Music & Dance Library, and click the "Online Scores" tab


Music Iconography

  • RIdIM: Répertoire International d’Iconographie Musicale. Descriptions of artworks featuring music-related objects, persons and places. Whenever possible, links to online views of the art are included. The database encompasses a wide spectrum of techniques and media (drawings, engravings, paintings, sculpture, etc.) and the musical content includes depictions of instruments, musicians, music patrons, music notation, performance venues and more.


Other noteworthy sites

  • Bloomsbury Music and Sound. Provides coverage of global popular music from the early 20th century to the present day. It brings together leading scholarship and interactive tools for research and learning across arts, humanities and social science disciplines.
  • Musical America Worldwide. A music business reference source. Includes music industry news, a database featuring artists and artist managers, links to venues and presenters, and a directory of orchestras, opera companies, arts organizations, and more.
  • Websites of Interest to Musicologists (American Musicological Society)
  • Harvard Music Library PinboardLinks to websites pertaining to a wide range of music-related subjects. Resources include digitized manuscripts, online scores and sound recordings, archival collections, discographies and bibliographies, scholarly societies, composer and performer sites, and musical reference works.
  • Munich Digitization Center (MDZ). Handles the digitization and online publication of the cultural heritage preserved by the Bavarian State Library and by other institutions. One of the largest and fastest growing digital collections in Germany, now comprising 415,954 titles available online. Access is free of charge.
  • Smithsonian Institution — Collections Search Center. Provides easy searching of more than 6 million items in the Smithsonian’s museum, archives, library and research holdings and collections.
  • Directory of Music Faculties in Colleges and Universities, U. S. and Canada.
  • IPA Source. International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) transcriptions and literal translations of opera arias and art song texts.
  • Themefinder. Based on Barlow and Morgenstern classical music indexes. Allows searching for main themes of classical music compositions.
  • Musiconn Scoresearch (Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Munich). Allows searching for melodies in a very large collection of classical music scores.
  • Hofmeister XIX - Online searchable version of the Hofmeister Monatsberichte for the years 1829-1900
  • OSU Research Databases List