Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Music 110: Introduction to the Art of Music - International Perspectives

Search Tips

  • Use quotations marks to keep phrases together like "West Side Story" and "string quartets". But be careful--make sure something is really a phrase or you might miss important results.
  • Truncation: use an asterisk (*) to replace part of a word. Example: Symphon* finds symphony, symphonies, and symphonien
  • Wildcards: use a question mark (?) to substitute one letter within a word. Example: analy?e finds analyze and analyse

Helpful Search Terms

Useful phrases found in subject headings can be used in searches to narrow your results.

Some of these include:

  • "criticism and intepretation" which can be combined with a composer's name, such as Brahms "Criticism and interpretation,"
  • "history and criticism" and
  • "analysis, appreciation" which can be combined with a genre, such as Operas--Analysis, appreciation.

Find Books in the Library Catalog

When you search in the library catalog you are conducting what is known as a keyword search. A keyword search will check the terms you enter against almost every word in every part of an item's catalog record. If you're not sure of the exact title, perform a keyword search with the words you know (and the author's last name if you know it). Or, if you're looking for books on a topic, this is often the easiest way to begin searching.

Screenshot of keyword search in Primo catalog

If you know the name of the book you need, perform a Title search in the library catalog. First, click on Advanced Search at the end of the search bar. 

Screenshot highlighting location of Advanced Search in Primo

Select Title from the first dropdown menu. If you know the exact title, use quotes around phrases for the best results. Otherwise, your search will pull any results with "black" or "noise" in the title.

Screenshot demonstrating how to do a Title Search in Primo

Use an Author search to find materials by a specific author, composer, or performer. Names can be entered in any configuration (e.g. first last or last, first).
Screenshot of Author search in Primo

A Subject search is more specific than a keyword search. This will search the subject headings, which are the specific terms assigned to items in the library catalog. Subject headings tell you what an item is about and can be useful in narrowing your search (like l if you want to narrow your results to items about a composer and not items by the composer).

To get books about music and popular culture, use a search like below selecting Subject in the first dropdown. You can split up keywords by each line, or include them all in one line. Remember, quotation marks keep phrases together. The dropdown menus on the right lets you limit your search, so you can search only for Books (as opposed to scores, recordings, etc.).

Screenshot of subject search for music and popular culture

If your search is not narrow enough, check out the Tweak your results column to the left, especially the Subject section.

Screenshot showing facets to narrow search results in Primo

Once you find an item that looks promising, click on the title to open the full record. Scroll down to the Details section. You can use the Subjects in the record and words from the summary/table of contents to refine your search if needed.

Screenshot of catalog record highlighting the subjects

Finding Books in the Library Catalog Video