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Using Alexander Street Press Music Audio Resources

How to search and browse in ASP's audio resources. Including: Music Online, American Song, Classical Music Library, Contemporary World Music, Jazz Music Library, and Smithsonian Global Sound.

Searching in Music Online

Search Options in Music Online

Contents: Advanced Search, Keyword Search, Select Terms, All Search, Recordings

There are a couple of ways of searching in Music Online. This database allows you to do an Advanced Search or a Keyword Search.

Advanced Searching

Advanced Searching in Music Online is pretty straight forward.

The most important thing is to remember to keep it simple (because not all resources are indexed equally well).

Since this guide is focusing on sound recordings or audio music, the two search tabs that will be used are "All" and "Recordings"

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Select Terms and "All" Search

One of the useful features in the "All" search option is the "Select Terms" feature, which is available on many of the search boxes.

This allows you to view and pick the words that are most commonly used to identify a certain subject or type or term. By using the terms that the database has chosen, you are more likely to get a more complete group of results.

The only drawback to using this feature is that sometime it is slow to display.

Also if you build a search that is too complex you might not get any results, even though it seems like logically something should come up.

You can select these terms either by clicking on the "Select Terms" at the right side of the box,

Or by starting to type in a word and letting the database give you potential options... This way works really well for personal names.

It is a little better to look at the "Select Terms" for things like Genre because some of the categories that are available can be unexpected. One thing to watch out for is if you select a category that is too general sometimes search results that should be there are not...

For example looking for "Shostakovich" in the People category with "Quartet" in the Genre does not pick up any results.

However searching with "Shostakovich" in the People category with "Quartet" in the Keywords box gets 69 results.

In order to get results for Shostakovich's string quartets using the Genre terms, it needs to specifically state "String Quartet" in that box.

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Using the Recording search is pretty similar to the All search, except there are a couple more boxes and it does not include the helpful "Select Terms."

A few of the extra areas that are available are: Place of recording, Date of recording, Cultural group, Language, Historical Event. The People category in this search is more faceted (and allows for searching of such things as conductor, artist, ensemble, and composer).

Because the choices of search terms are not always consistently recorded in the records for the audio, often it is better to use the "All" search or even just do a Keyword search with the bar at the top of the page.

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Keyword Searching

Keyword searching is pretty easy in this database and rather similar to doing a google search. As with the previously mentioned searches, it is best to keep this arch as simple as possible, while including words that can help specify the aspect of music that is desired.

the "People" "Scores" "Reference" and "Video" search options aren't really useful if you need audio recordings (although they have their own uses).

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Content compiled/Written by G. D.