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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Music 511: Foundations and Methods of Musicology I

What's in the Library Catalog?

The library catalog includes descriptions of materials in all UIUC campus libraries including materials we have online access to. However, not all of our online content (like some streaming audio and video) is included in the catalog and it is best to also check those tools in addition to the catalog.

When searching in our catalog, you'll also see what's available at other I-Share libraries. The I-Share system allows you to request and borrow materials from 129 other libraries in the state of Illinois. So, if our copy is checked out, you can request a copy from another library! Search the I-Share Catalog will also allow you to see materials those libraries own but we do not.

NOTE: What you won't find in the library catalog are individual journal articles--to find those you'll need to use one or more journal databases. Check out our Finding Journal Articles in Music guide below. 

Reading a Catalog Record

One of the most useful research skills is learning how to evaluate and read the records you get after you search in a catalog.

  • The topics tell you what an item is about or what it includes
  • The best place to find more information is in the "Details" section, but you have to scroll to get to it
  • Always check the location information to see where an item is, whether an item is available, and the call number you need to find it on the shelf

Let's take a look at a few examples...

Screenshot of Primo library catalog record focusing on the top details

This is the top of a catalog record which includes the following information:

  1. The title of the item
  2. The author(s) and additional publishing details
  3. The library where the item is located
  4. The more specific location within that library
  5. The call number which can help you find the item on the shelf

The Get It section tells you just that... how to get it!

Screenshot of Primo library catalog focusing on the Get It section

6. Where the item is located (location, call number) and whether it is on the shelf
7. Whether the item can be borrowed/requested
8. Whether other I-Share libraries also have the title available

The Details section can be really useful for understanding exactly what the item includes or what the item is about. Below are examples for several different formats. 


Screenshot of Primo library catalog record for a book focusing on the Details section


For recordings, there are a few key things to know:

  • Performers and composers are often included in the Creator or Author section
  • The Subject section will tell you the type of music, like the genre
  • The Contents will list which works are included on the recording

Screenshot of Primo library catalog record for a recording focusing on details section


For scores, check the Subject or Genre to see if it is just a score, a score with parts, a vocal score, etc. If it's a collection of works, the Contents will tell you which are included, just like with recordings. 

Screenshot of Primo catalog record for score focusing on details section