How to Find Music Resources

Library Guides

Education & Music

Help using the Library to find and use resources in Music, Education and Counselling

How to Find Music Resources


Music scholars will look at a variety of subject areas such as cultural studies, art, religion and history – some even study education. The University libraries use the Dewey Decimal Classification scheme 
(see for a quick introduction) to organise books and other materials. Music is at 780, is classed as Arts and can be found on Floor 4 of The Sir Duncan Rice Library. 

This guide aims to give you a very quick introduction to the various resources available to you. If you would like any further information or help with finding and using resources, please contact the Information Consultant for Music, Music and Communities and Music Education Claire Molloy:

New to the Library?

Getting Inside

The Sir Duncan Rice Library is on the west-side of campus off Bedford Road – you can’t miss it, it is the huge, stripy, glass building! Anyone can visit the Sir Duncan Rice Library but as a student you will need your University ID card to get in and borrow items.

Opening Hours

Our opening hours vary depending on the time in the academic year – full details can be found here.


Undergraduates and taught Postgraduates can borrow up to 20 items, Research students can borrow up to 40. If you are an on campus student you will need your ID card and to set up a PIN to allow you to use the self-issue kiosks (these are like self-serve at the supermarket!). Details of how to set up a PIN are emailed out at the start of the first semester or you can email the Subject Team: 

Loan Periods

There are many different loan periods depending on the demand on an item from Heavy Demand (overnight), right through to full academic year. All loans are subject to recall which means you may be asked to return items before the original due date. 

You can find out about borrowing, loans and recalls here.

How is The Sir Duncan Rice Library laid out?

As noted above we use Dewey Decimal to order our materials and Floors 3-7 are where we hold these. The Entrance or Ground floor is where you will find the café and the Welcome Desk as well as the returns area and the main swipe gates into the library. Floor 1 has the main issue desk, heavy demand area and various different study zones. Floor 2 has the main computer classrooms and the hard copy periodicals. Each of the ‘collection’ floors has various types of study space including silent study rooms, study desk, PCs and comfy seating. You will also find an enquiry point on these floors where you can ask for help finding that book you really need! You can find out more about the various types of study space and more detail about how we organise the collections floors in our library guides. The Floor 4 guide for Music and the Arts  is available online  and others can be found on our Library guides page. Music and Communities students may find the Floor 6 information useful. 

But how do I work out which floor items are on?

In order to find your reading you should use our Resource Discovery tool which is called Primo. It allows you to search by title, author or even subject in order to find the e-link or the shelf location. Log in to Primo, click on advanced (to give you a really good search!) and then try one of the following:

•    The Books+ option lists the thousands of titles we have full immediate e-access to
•    The Articles+ option details thousands of articles, book reviews and more

Note, you won’t see these options in the Basic search screen you see when you first go to Primo.

We have a handy guide all about Primo. We have access to millions of items, some are in e-format, some are physical and held in one of our on campus libraries, but some are held in our store located a few miles away. Primo tells you where and how to access an item – anything not on campus or in e-format can be ‘requested’ using the link in Primo.

Music books and scores (those at shelfmark 780) can be found on Floor 4 of the Library:

Music Scores General Mus 780-789 A-Z (Composer)

Full Scores Full S 780.85 A-Z (Composer)    

Collected Scores Coll 780.81 A-Z (Composer)
                              Coll 780.82 A-Z (Composer)
Miniature Scores Min S 780.84 A-Z (by Composer e.g. Bach) e.g. Min S 780.84 Bac J S
                              Min S C 780.84 A-Z (Composer)
Vocal Scores       Voc S 780.86 A-Z (Composer)

Music CDs can be found in the Music Room on floor 1, A-Z by composer. – This room also contains two iMacs with Sibelius composition software.

Music education CDs can be found in the Teaching Resource Collection (TRC) on Floor 6.

Many music education books may be given an Education 370 classmark and shelved on Floor 6.

Some music education material may be suitable for use in school and shelved at the Music 780 number in the TRC (see the Guide to the TRC).

Finding resources

You can use Primo to find items to read, particularly where you have been given details in a reading list but we have other tools you can use to find even more.  Resources such as RILM Abstracts of Music Literature was first published in 1967. It currently contains some 400,000 entries; approximately 30,000 new records are added every year, covering all document types: articles, books, bibliographies, catalogues, dissertations, Festschriften, iconographies, critical commentaries to complete works, ethnographic recordings, conference proceedings, electronic resources, reviews and more and Arts and Humanities Citation Index and Social Science Citation Index (via Web of Science) is a multidisciplinary index covering the journal literature of the arts and humanities. It fully covers 1,144 of the world's leading arts and humanities journals and it indexes individually selected, relevant items from over 6,800 major science and social science journals.

Oxford History of Western Music: presents Richard Taruskin's unmatched narrative account of the evolution of Western classical music. The full text from the five-volume 2009 paperback edition has been reproduced, as have notes, bibliographies, and further readings for each of the chapters, numerous illustrations, and musical examples.

Naxos Music Library: The Music Department will issue the username and password for this resource.

We pay a lot of money for resources such as these and you will have to log in to read anything you find – check out the relevant library guide for details.

EVIA Digital Archive Project is a joint effort of Indiana University and the University of Michigan to establish a digital archive of ethnographic video for use by scholars and instructors. 

The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) covers open access journal from across the world and across many disciplines.

The Hathi Trust Founded in 2008, HathiTrust is a not-for-profit collaborative of academic and research libraries preserving 17+ million digitized items. Anyone can view public domain materials – some is not protected by copyright.

Box of Broadcasts (BOB) contains BBC broadcasts since 1990s and permanent archive of BBC, ITV and Channel 4 and related broadcasts as well as recording of 65 free to air tv channels - millions of broadcasts. Saved lists, create clips...

British Education Index (BEI) provides details of over 300 education and training related journals published in the UK, report and conference literature and working papers. A quick guide to BEI is available online

International Bibliography of the Social Sciences (IBSS)

IBSS can be found at and is produced by the London School of Economics and covers social and cultural anthropology, sociology, education, economics, and the political sciences. It provides access to over 2.5 million references dating back to 1951 and current data is taken from over 2,800 selected journals and around 7000 books per annum. See the quick guide to the International Bibliography of the Social Sciences (IBSS) here.

Scottish Government Education Policies gives links to all aspects of the Scottish Government’s education policy agenda including links to GIRFEC and SHANARRI as well as the National Improvement Framework and Improvement Plan 2020. Education Scotland also provide links to the National Improvement Hub as well as links to school inspection reports and curricular materials

Government Legislation

Government Legislation can also be found from such as Post-16 Education (Scotland) Act 2013 and Child Poverty (Scotland) Act 2017. For up-to-date versions of legistlation please see Westlaw UK


Statistics can be useful for various assignments. Scottish Government Statistics e.g. Scottish Household Survey and Information Services Division of NHS Scotland are just two resources.

Young Scot

Young Scot also provide useful resources such as the Youth Commission on Mental Health Services and their Engaging with Gaelic Online Report.

OECD iLibrary  is the online library of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) featuring its books, working papers and statistics and is the gateway to OECD's analysis and data.  It contains content published by the International Energy Agency (IEA), the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA), the OECD Development Centre, PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment), and the International Transport Forum (ITF). e.g. Trends Shaping Education 2019.

Reading smarter and evaluating

Getting as much as you can out of your reading requires focus and evaluation skills the following are just some tips to help:

#1 - Focus on the purpose

First things first – switch off EVERYTHING! That means no Insta, no email, no phone, nothing. Social media and email are massively distracting. You need to get in the ‘reading zone’. Find a comfortable, quiet space where you can sit with your device uninterrupted by anything and anyone. This is really hard to achieve but is really important to staying on point.

Next thing is related to the first – only look at one book or reading at a time. When you become more fluent at reading academic texts you can start to dip in and out of multiple items at a time, but for now we will concentrate on one text. You now need to consider what is it you are looking for? What questions are you hoped will be answered by reading this ebook? Make a note of your questions – you may find it easier to put them in a table, or in a list format. Do whatever works best for you.

#2 - Determine credibility

Who has written the text you are reading? Has it been recommended by your Lecturer? Why? Is the author stating fact or opinion? Can you see similarities and parallels with your own ideas, practice or experience? If not, why not? It is not wrong to disagree with an author, you just have to be able to say why and back this up. Use the four ‘Ws’: Who? What? Where? Why? to help you work out if the author is credible this is sometimes called the CRAAP Test Currency Relevancy Authority Accuracy Purpose -  Do they have the knowledge and experience to be writing about this area?

It might be useful to use Stella Cottrell’s book – Critical Thinking Skills. Paper copies are in the library and, although it is not available as an ebook there are some really useful sections available online. Especially Chapter 9 which gives you ‘concise critical notes for books’ – a table to complete for each book, who wrote it, what are the key arguments etc. etc. This is really helpful when you first start to read academic texts, some people continue to use them in their PhD studies!

#3 - Consolidate information and keep a note of your references

Remember to always keep a note of the author, publisher, year of publication, title etc. of what you are reading. Then note the key points, your own comments and any questions raised. Create your own table or list – whatever works for you. This will form the basis of your assignment.

Reference management

You might find it useful to organise the references you have found. There are many different free and ‘freemium’ resources available to help you with your reference management. Try using Wikipedia’s Comparison of reference management software to compare them.  The University of Aberdeen currently subscribes to and supports RefWorks.


Contact the Information Consultant for music, music and communities and music education, Claire Molloy:

Last revised by Claire Molloy, August 2023