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MUS505 - Popular Music and Culture

Advanced search techniques

Many databases offer "advanced" search beyond the basic one word or statement search. Refer to the Music guide for the use of : "AND", "OR", "NOT",  truncation and fields to narrow your search results or broaden when you do not locate many relevant articles.

When you are searching a specific song title, put it in quotes e.g."Fly By Night" so that the words are searched in that order only. 

Also check the indexed subject terms of a relevant article. These may be good leads for further searching. 

The following are sample searches  from RILM and JSTOR:

Searching in RILM:

1. Search by KEYWORDS and SYNONYMS

Example One: Rush, the rock band

Example TWO: Analyse two record labels


2. Take a look at the subject terms used for a relevant article. 

Example One: Rush

Example Two: record labels


3. Select a pertinent subject to look for other useful articles on the topic

Example One: Rush, the rock band


Example Two; records labels







Looking up a specific song title


 Searching JSTOR: 

Bibliography & References

It is not uncommon to find mostly magazine or newspaper articles on popular music artists or their songs. Look for references or bibliographies ( usually at the end of the articles) for possible clues to scholarly documents. 

The following example is taken from a thesis paper on Rush, the Canadian band: 

The Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (now part of Oxford Music Online) has encyclopedic coverage of music genres and artists. Take a look at the bibliography for more ideas on where to search for scholarly documents. 

The following is an example from the biography of Bruce Springsteen: