Books and music scores/sheet music at the Skinner Music Library use the Library of Congress Classification System. Call numbers typically look like this:
The first line of letters shows the general subject of the book. The majority of books in the Music Library use the following:
You may see other letters on a few books in the Music Library, usually on items that share a subject with other areas; for example, books in the N class refer to performing arts in general, books in the P class refer to languages, and books in the T class refer to technology, all of which may have useful works for musicians.
The second line of numbers shows the specific subject of the book; for example, the ML 430-458 range contains books about music composition and performance. If you know the number range of the subject you are interested in researching, you can go straight there in the stacks to browse the books with those numbers. For a full list of all the number ranges for Music, see the official list at the Library of Congress.
The third line of letter and numbers indicates the author of the book or composer of the score; for example, the G38 designation means that a book is written by Boris Gasparov, a scholar in Russian musical history. Each author has a unique letter-and-number code. If a book is written by a corporate author or does not list an author, this code may refer to a publisher or topic instead.
The fourth and final line of numbers indicates the year the book was published; in the example above, it was published in 2019.
In addition to these, Reference books use the same call numbers but have a sticker to indicate that they are for reference use. Reserves also have a sticker or tag, but these are kept behind the circulation desk to make sure they are available on request - just ask a staff member and we'll be glad to retrieve them for you!
Music CDs at the Skinner Music Library use a special call number format:
The first line of letters shows the format of the recording. All CDs in the Music Library are labeled "CD".
The second line of numbers shows the designated number of the CD, which is applied to the recording when it is processed at the music library. Higher numbers indicate CDs that have been added to the collection more recently, while lower ones indicate that it has been held for some time already.
Most CDs only have the first two lines, but any additional information will be included in the third line. In the example above, the Notes line indicates that the CD includes liner notes; another common tag is volume or vol., used for CD sets with multiple discs.
Since CDs are organized by number rather than by artists or genre, it is not possible to browse directly in the stacks. Look up the call number first to find a specific CD, or ask the Skinner Music Library staff at the front desk if you need help finding something!
DVDs and other video recordings at the Skinner Music Library use the Library of Congress Classification System. Call numbers typically look like this:
The first line is always Videorec, short for "video recording", to distinguish materials from audio-only recordings.
The second line of letters and numbers shows the specific subject of the book and uses the Library of Congress classifications, except with the letter V leading instead of the usual M/ML/MT. In the example above, the DVD above shows .V536; the Library of Congress subject range for instruments and instrumental music is 459-1380, so V536 indicates that the item is a video recording about instrumental music.
The third line of letters and numbers indicates the responsible party for the recording; unlike books and scores, many video recordings do not have a single author or creator, so this number may refer to the star performer, director, or subject area, depending on the item.
The fourth line of numbers indicates the year the recording was released; in the example above, it was released in 2012. Keep in mind that if the recording is a performance of a piece of music, this is not the same as the year that the music was composed or performed, just the year the recording became available.
The fifth and final line of letters indicates the format of the video recording:
Almost all video recordings at the Skinner Music Library are in DVD format, but you may still encounter VHS and Betamax recordings, especially of older or archival materials.
Music LPs (vinyl records) at the Skinner Music Library use a special call number format:
The first line of letters shows the record label of the recording, such as Candide or RCA Victor. All LPs from the same record label are shelved together.
The second line of numbers shows the designated number of the LP, which is applied to the recording when it is processed at the music library. Higher numbers indicate LPs that have been added to the collection more recently, while lower ones indicate that it has been held for some time already. These numbers are independent of the record label.
The third and final line shows the LP's audio format. LP formats in the music library include:
Although LPs are organized first by record label, allowing browsing if you know the label, the only other designation is by number rather than by artists or genre. Look up the call number first to find a specific LP, or ask the Skinner Music Library staff at the front desk if you need help finding something!
Microforms at the University Libraries use a special call number format based on the Library of Congress Classification System.
The first three lines of letters and numbers are the same as they would be in a book or a score: the first shows the general subject of the microform (ML, indicating that this is a work of literature about music), the second shows the specific subject (the ML 2900-3275 range is for works about sacred vocal music), and the third shows the author's unique designation (Z2 here represents Johannes Zahn).
The fourth and final line shows the format of the microform. There are three kinds of microforms held in the University Libraries: microcard, microfiche, and microfilm. All three are thin films containing images, much like a photography negative; microcards are printed on photosensitive paper, while microfiche is a sheet of film and microfilm is a roll of it. All three are kept together, but may require different equipment to read.
Keep in mind that some microforms, especially very old or archival ones, may not have enough information for this call number format. Some maybe listed with only the subject call number, only the author's name or initials, or even only as "microform", especially when authorship of a work is unknown. If you're not sure where to find a work in microform, ask the professionals - your friendly library staff at the desk!
Skinner Music Library no longer keeps microforms on the premises, but they are available at the Michener Library, where the equipment used to house and read them is also located. Ask at the first-floor circulation desk at Michener and someone will be glad to help you find and use them!
Whatever you're searching for and whichever catalog search you use to do it, here are some important shortcuts to make sure you get exactly what you want (and none of what you don't!).
Boolean operators are capitalized search terms that let you give more specific instructions in your search. The operators are:
Parentheses placed around your search term allow you to keep terms together and tell your search what order to look for them in, much like a math equation. Any search terms you place inside a parentheses are searched for together instead of separately.
You can also nest search terms in parentheses, allowing you to create more complicated searches.
Quotation marks placed around your search terms allow you to choose exactly what phrase to search for. Whatever you place between quotation marks is searched for exactly the way it appears - if there is even a small difference, the search will ignore it.
Keep in mind that this means that typos, incorrect titles, slightly wrong words (like "a" instead of "the" by mistake) and so on will often return NO results, since the search can only look for exact matches. If you search for "choral musi" instead of "choral music" by mistake, you will likely end up with no results at all.
Bach AND organ NOT Johannes
This search will look for items that have both the words "Bach" and "organ" in them, but leave out any with the word "Johannes", even if they also have the other two. (This searcher is probably looking for the keyboard works of one of the other Bachs!)
(Ella AND Fitzgerald) jazz vocal music
This search will look for items that have any of the following:
Ella Fitzgerald + jazz
"Andy M. Stewart" AND "Scottish folk"
This search will only return items that have exactly the phrase "Andy M. Stewart" AND exactly the phrase "Scottish folk". This means that it will be very good at finding specific items, but will also remove anything that is close but not quite right - for example, if a work is labeled "Andy Stewart" instead of "Andy M. Stewart", this search will ignore it.