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Finding Music Items

Choosing a Search Bar

What's with the search bars?

The library search bar has a drop-down menu with multiple options. Each choice searches through different things. We have several options, but most of the time you'll want the ND Catalog or OneSearch. 


So, what are you looking for?

If you’ve come to the library to grab something off the shelf, use the ND Catalog to find it quickly. In general, if you're looking for something that isn't in a database, this is the one you want. If you are researching a paper and you want more electronic resources and are interested in discovering resources that you might not know about, then OneSearch can help you explore. 



More about the ND Catalog and OneSearch

ND Catalog

The ND Catalog lets you search all the items on our shelves as well as ebooks and some streaming content. You can search the catalog to find a database or encyclopedia, but it likely won’t search within that database to find the individual articles. If you prefer the old catalog, you can always use it by clicking on the links for Catalog Classic below the search bar.



OneSearch will allow you to search our library catalog as well as a large database of articles and free resources. Results can be somewhat overwhelming and sometimes irrelevant but often will turn up something you weren't expecting. Give it a try! You can always limit by books, CDs, etc. to see those items only.


Formulating a Search

When it comes to entering the search, here are some ideas to retrieve the most relevant results to choose from. Getting it down to the best results comes after you hit enter.



Use keywords and avoid complete titles, full names, or long phrases. Be as specific as you can, and take away one keyword at a time to get more results. Use whatever keywords you can think of, such as "johann bach organ wolff" to bring up resources on Bach's organ works edited or written by Christoph Wolff. You might also use the librettist, performer, publisher, form, or opus number.


Use plurals

When searching generic terms, use the plural forms: works, symphonies, sonatas, toccatas, etc. Singular is in some of the records, but plural should be in almost all of them


Use numbers

Don't spell out the numbers, even if it’s how you think of the work. We may think of it as "Beethoven fifth symphony" but the computer is more likely to find it with “Beethoven symphonies 5”  Exception: If it is part of a proper title: "Four organs"


Opus/Catalog Numbers

If you know the opus number or thematic catalog number of the work you are looking for, use it in the search, but WITHOUT any preceding letters (no "op." or "BWV"). However, not all catalog records will include this information, so if you are missing results, take the number out.


Browse nearby

You’ve found something in the catalog that looks right, got the call number walked to the shelf and picked it up. Wait! While you’re there, take a look around, you might find something else you want nearby – you might even find something better. 


Use wildcards or truncate

If you use an asterisk (*) you can get all variants of a word. Searching chant* will provide results of chant, chants, chanting, chanter, etc. - every word that starts with the letters before the asterisk. Using a question mark (?) in the middle of the word will return words that have any letter in that space: a search of wom?n will return both woman and women. Wildcards and truncation are great if you don’t know how to spell what you want or you want to cast a wide net for the thing you’re looking for.



Narrowing it down

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Once you have entered a search, the menu on the left is key to finding what you want, especially when you get pages and pages of results!

Each limiter is helpful in different contexts, but the ones you may use the most for music are Resource Type, Language, Author / Creator, and Availability.

You can click any option to get just that one, or choose multiple filters at once by hovering over any of the options and checking the box on the left to include, or the right to exclude certain results, and once you’ve done that click "Apply filters" at the bottom to narrow down your results.