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Syracuse University Libraries

Music Research Process

Library Research Tools

Once you decide what type of sources to look for, you need to select the correct tool for the job.

The library has many online search tools to help you discover sources, and in many cases, give online access to them via full-text journals, e-books, streaming audio, lyrics databases, and digital scores.

Summon: Find Books, Scores, Recordings

Summon search box screen shot

The main search box on the library home page, called Summon, searches author/title information and subject headings, for books, e-books, music recordings, and scores that are owned by SU Libraries. Additionally, it searches the full text of many books, journals, and news content.

Type in your search terms, and limit by content type (books/ebooks, music scores, music recordings, streaming video, etc).

Databases: Find Scholarly Journal Articles, Popular Magazine Articles, Dissertations

Article databases are keyword indexes for the articles published in popular and scholarly periodicals. Some databases search the full text of each article, while others only search abstracts and citations. Each database has its own search interface.

Databases: Find Sound Recordings, Scores, Lyrics and More

Other databases for non-text items like scores or recordings tend to be keyword indexes for the descriptions of their digital content.  Keywords in the index come from the authors, titles, and sometimes genres or subject headings. Sometimes, you can browse by genre, time period, or some other useful way of categorizing the information. Each database has its own search interface.

  • Visit the Music Research Guide for databases and instructions for finding scores, recordings,  song texts, or recording popularity charts


Find a source that is good?  Look at its bibliography!

Bibliographies can be found:

  • As stand-alone books (research guides or discographies) in the library -- Browse call numbers ML128, ML134, ML136 in the circulating library stacks
  • At the end of encyclopedia or reference book articles, link lists on websites
  • Works cited list of a scholarly article