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MLA Basic Manual Series

Basic Music Reference:
A Guide for Non-specialist Librarians, Library Assistants, and Student Employees
By Alan Green and Michael J. Duffy, IV
BM8 ISBN 978-0-89579-745-2 (2013) xiii + 123 pp. $50.00
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Basic Music Reference is a quick-start guide designed to introduce library employees to the basic tools and techniques involved in answering questions related to music.  As in every specialist subject area, music has its own terminology, but unlike most, it also has a multitude of formats—on paper and other materials—as well as special notation and frequent use of foreign languages in titles and texts.  These features make it particularly difficult for library employees to answer users’ questions and thus a guide such as this one is essential.

Not all libraries with a music collection can afford to hire a music reference librarian.  Even libraries with such a specialist rely on support staff and student employees to answer questions when the music librarian is not available.  Whatever the scenario, this volume will serve as a helpful training tool for library employees to learn about the basic music reference tools, and to develop the techniques of greatest use when answering the most common types of music-related questions.  


Part One: Basic Concepts and Tools         
Chapter One: Library Catalogs
When to Use a Library Catalog    
How to Use a Library Catalog    
Basic Search Concepts       
Chapter Two: Music Reference Tools    
Guides to Music Reference Literature    
Dictionaries and Encyclopedias    
Periodical and Literature Indexes    
Special Indexes and Bibliographies    
Frequently Used Web Sites
Wrapping It Up
Part Two: Using Basic Skills to Answer Frequently Asked Questions
Chapter Three: Searching for Specific Items
Specific Works    
Sound Recordings by a Particular Performer or Group    
Translation and Pronunciation Guides    
Questions about Serials    
Problems with Citations    
Quotations about Music or Musicians    
Images of Manuscripts    
Images of Musicians    
Chapter Four: Factual and Short-Answer Questions    
Contact Information    
Book Sales    
Dates and Obituaries    
Name This Tune    
Citation Style Questions    
Factual Information about Works    
Chapter Five: Topical Questions    
Researching a Particular Work    
Analyses of a Particular Work    
Researching Music from a Particular Country    
Researching Musical Instruments    
In Closing    
Appendix: The Library of Congress Classification for Music    
Bibliography of Works Cited    

Alan Green is associate professor and head librarian for music and dance at the Ohio State University, where he also teaches courses in music research methods and bibliography.  He is an active member of the Music Library Association and the International Association of Music Libraries, and currently serves as Project Coordinator for Répertoire International d'Iconographie Musicale (RILM).  Green is the author of Allen Sapp: A Bio-Bibliography and has published articles in College Music Symposium, Music Reference Services Quarterly, and Notes: Quarterly Journal of the Music Library Association.

Michael Duffy is associate professor and music librarian at Northern Illinois University, where he is responsible for reference, instruction, collection development, and cataloging.  He has written pieces for publication in Music Reference Services Quarterly, Notes, The Reference Librarian, and Choice.  He is formerly book review editor of Music Reference Services Quarterly.