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ENGL 398A Writing for the Arts

Professional writing for the arts.


This guide is designed to help you use the library to locate scholarly and reputable sources to support your program notes and other papers on the arts. For simplicity's sake, I will focus on three main library resources: WorldCat UMD, the RILM database, and the IBTD database. The "I'm Stuck" tab also has some additional resources you might want to try, including: LexisNexis, JSTOR, RIPM, and various full-text collections of historical newspapers. 

  • WorldCat UMD is probably the best place to start. It will find books (physical and electronic), audio and video recordings, and much more. Results will be from one of the 8 branch libraries on campus, other University System of Maryland institutions, or even other libraries around the country and globe. For time's sake, it is probably best to stick with what is on the UMD College Park campus, but we can get things from other UMD campuses in around 3 days for you. WorldCat UMD will also return a smattering of scholarly articles, but to find many more try using RILM.
  • RILM (Répertoire International de Littérature Musicale) is another great resource to know. It indexes scholarly articles (of which it is the best tool to find), books on music, dissertations, some popular music magazines, and more. Since RILM does skew a little bit toward the scholarly side, you will not always find articles on the most recent popular music acts. Although RILM includes many articles in full-text, it is not a completely full-text database. You may need to take additional steps to locate an article in the library once you haidentified it.
  • IBTD (International Bibliography of Theatre and Dance) is similar to RILM but covers theatre and dance instead. Tip: you can search both IBTD and RILM at the same time by going into one or the other, clicking Choose Databases, and selecting both from the list.

For many topics related to this course, those three will suffice. However, depending on your topic, there may be other tools that will be helpful. If you have questions or would like further guidance, please contact me. My profile with contact info appears on every page of this guide and you can contact me however you like.