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Searching for Music Resources: A Step-by-Step Guide

A guide to how to find things in the Music Library - step-by-step, no stress, and online!

Searching in Summon

The University Libraries main page features the Summon search right at the top of the page:

University Libraries Summon Search Widget

The Summon tab is selected by default. The Catalog tab allows you to search using Encore or Source instead, while the Databases tab provides a list of all databases the University Libraries provide access to and the Journals tab provides a list of all scholarly journals held or subscribed to by the libraries. The Reserves tab allows you to search for reserves being held for specific classes or instructors.

To run a basic Summon search, simply enter a title, author's name, subject, or other keyword into the box and click Search!

Once you have searched for your item, you will be shown a list of results. By default, Summon will show items in order of Relevance, or how closely they fit your search criteria, but you can change this by clicking on the dropdown arrow at the top of the list of results and changing it to Date (from oldest to newest or vice versa), alphabetically by Author, or alphabetically by Title.

In the left-hand column, you can now use Summon's filtering tools to narrow down your search and make sure to weed out anything you aren't looking for. Each time you choose a filter option, Summon will remove everything from the search that doesn't match, letting you get closer and closer to a specific choice.


The number beside each filter option represents how many items UNC has access to in that area. The filters fall into six categories:

REFINE YOUR SEARCH: Choose whether you want to see only items that have their entire text online (Full Text Online), or whether you want to see only peer-reviewed items (Peer-Review). If neither of these matters for your search, ignore this category. CONTENT TYPE: Choose what type of items you are interested in seeing - for example, if you need to cite previous written material, you might choose Book / eBook and Journal Article. Remember once you've chosen items from this category, the search will exclude all the others.
DISCIPLINE: Choose the academic discipline or subject area of the items you want to see - for example, "music" or "drama". Keep in mind that many materials may be tagged with more than one discipline if a work involves multiple fields of study. PUBLICATION DATE: Choose what timeframe you would like to see items published during. You can use the slider to move through dates, add dates in the "from" and "to" columns, or choose one of the three presets - items published in the last 12 months, 3 years, or 5 years.
SUBJECT TERMS: Choose the subject or topic of the items you want to see - for example, "musical performances" or "festivals". Keep in mind that not every work has subject terms, especially older ones, and if you choose a subject, Summon will ignore everything that does not have that term. LANGUAGE: Choose the language you would like to see items primarily written in. Keep in mind that many works may list more than one language (especially in vocal music where the score and introduction may be written in a different language than the libretto).

A blue checkmark beside a filter option indicates that it has already been selected and that all other options in that category are being filtered out. For example, if there is a checkmark next to "Book / eBook" under CONTENT TYPE, the results will show only books and ebooks and will exclude journal articles, CDs, DVDs, and so on.

Summon lists each category's filters in descending order by how many results they have; the more results the filter returns, the higher it is on the list. If you don't see a specific filter or none of the top ones are useful to your search, scroll down to see more appear, or enter a word in the "Filter list" box to search directly for it:

To include items, click the checkbox so that it turns blue; to make sure they're excluded, click the word "Exclude", which appears to the right when you hover over an option. Once you have chosen all the checkmarks and exclusionss that you need, click on the Apply button at the top of the list. Your search results will refresh and remove anything that doesn't match the filters you've chosen.

Advanced Summon Search

If you want to set your filters ahead of time instead of digging through a huge number of results, try the Advanced Search! You can access it by making any search in Summon and then clicking on Options on the right inside the search box after the results appear, or you can begin directly on the Summon website.

Summon Advanced Search Fields

The All Fields dropdown menus allow you to choose a specific place for Summon to search for your items - for example, if you set the dropdown menu to Author, then Summon will only search for the term(s) next to it under author names, ignoring any mention of those words in titles, subjects, and so on.

The AND dropdown menu allows you to add multiple different search terms to create a more specific search. If you enter terms in the field next to that, it will search using the criteria from the first line and the criteria from the second. Alternatively, you can change the dropdown to OR, which allows you to tell summon to search for one set of search terms or another, or you can change it to NOT, which tells Summon to ignore any results with those search terms in them.

If you want to add more than two different search terms, click the blue circle with a + to the right of the search fields, which will make another one appear. If you want to get rid of one that you've decided against using, click on the blue X to the right of it (or simply empty the fields - if there is nothing in the field, Summon will ignore it).

So, for example...

Summon Advanced Search Fields

In this search, Summon would look for any items with BOTH "music" in their subject and "john smith" as their author, but will exclude anything with a title containing the words "world flute series". In other words, this search will return only works on music by John Smith that are not part of his World Flute Series.

You can also set many of the same filters used in the basic search ahead of time. Content Type, Discipline, and Language can all be set here; simply check any boxes next to filters you want to use and leave the rest blank. You can also filter by date, but the slider is not available in the Advanced Search; if you want to use it, search first and then use it on the results page.

Summon Advanced Search Checkboxes

Finally, you can use the filters under Limit to in order to choose which sources you want to see items from, and Exclude from results to filter out commonly excluded formats (if you want to exclude a different content type, run the search and then exclude them from the filters on the results page). You may also use Expand your results to search for items that are not held by UNC, but it is usually better to do those searches directly from Prospector or Tipasa.