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Music Research Guide: Reference Books

Created for DBU's music students, this guide will help you discover the best library resources for many types of assignments.

Finding Reference Books in the Library

Reference books about music cannot be checked out.  They're meant to be used in the library.  This may seem like a hassle, but it's a good thing, because when you need them, they'll be there.  The call numbers begin with M, ML or MT.  The music reference books are located on the first floor, to the left and towards the back of the library.  The easiest way to find a specific book, or books on a specific topic, is to use the online catalog.  Most of the music reference books are encyclopedias and dictionaries, but we also have scores of the complete works of Bach and Mozart, the word-by-word translation books that can help you understand your arias or art songs, and lots of other useful stuff.  Although you can't remove the books from the library, you CAN make copies of the pages you need.  Copies are 10 cents/page, and the copiers are located on the first floor, toward the front of the library.

How Do I Know if I've Found a Reference Book?

Since the Music Reference Collection is pretty small, most people just browse the shelves.

But suppose you've searched the catalog for "women composers."  You checked the box for "Books" in the Format toolbar.  But how do you know if the book you've found is a Reference book, or a book you can check out?

Click on the title of the book in the list of results.

Under "Find a copy in the library," look for the Call number.  If the number starts with REF that means it's a reference book.  You will find it in the Reference Collection on the first floor.  Remember, you can't check it out, but you can make copies of the pages you need.