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

Reading a Catalog Record: Overview

The Library catalog includes descriptions of materials in all UIUC campus libraries including materials we have online access to. This page provides a brief introduction to searching for music materials in the library catalog and evaluating your results.

One of the most useful research skills is learning how to evaluate and read the item records you get after you search in a catalog. Knowing how to do this will enable you to quickly sift through results and identify the items you need.

Important things to know:

  • 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
  • The best place to find more information is in the "Details" section, but you have to scroll to get to it

Getting Started: Reading a Record

Annotated screenshot of Primo library catalog record. The item's title will appear first, followed by author and publishing details. Beneath this information is a "Located at" section that includes a library name, location code, and call number.

The picture above shows 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

Get It: Finding Your Book

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

The Get It section of an item record lists the library name and call number information.

The picture above shows the Get It section of a catalog record which includes the following information:

6. Where the item is located (location, call number) and whether it is on the shelf
7. Whether or not the item can be requested and borrowed (some materials, like the one photographed above, are non-circulating, meaning that they are only available to view in the library)
8. Whether other I-Share libraries also have the title available

The Details

To learn more about the item (like what it's about, what format it's in, etc.), you'll have to scroll down to the Details section of the item record. To see what the Details section looks like for different musical formats and what kind of information is included for each, check out the box below and use the tabs to navigate through the different examples.

Reading a Catalog Record: The Details

The Details section can be really useful for understanding exactly what the item includes or what the item is about. Below is an example of the details section for a book.

  • The subjects section tells you what the work is about
  • The genre and general note tells you that this book is a bibliography and that it includes a discography, meaning that this is a reference text that will point you to other related materials to read and listen to

Screenshot of Primo library catalog record for a book focusing on the 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 a score focusing on details section and pointing to the subject and genre sections of the record.


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 and pointing to the creator, subject, and genre sections of the record.