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Music 222: Music of the World's Peoples

Comparing and Evaluating Search Tools

In this activity, we will work in groups to explore several of our library's discovery tools and conduct a preliminary investigation into our research topics. 

Answer these questions about the tool(s) your group used.

  • Search terms used.
  • Are there any "advanced search" options?
  • What types of sources are included? Are the sources popular, scholarly or a mix?
  • Scan the first page or two of your results. What aspects of your topic do the sources discuss?
  • How can you get to the full text of articles?
  • How can you save an article for later or send it to yourself?
  • Are there any tools to help you cite articles?
  • Anything else interesting (or frustrating?) about the database?

Different discovery tools have different interfaces, but they all have advanced search features, and filters to limit your results. After 20 minutes, we will come back together for discussion and each group will share with the class their answers to the questions above. 

Search Tips

When searching databases, try these search strategies.

Use OR to broaden your search. Ex. k-pop OR Korean popular music

Use quote marks when searching phrases. Ex. "Chinese Opera"

Use AND to search two different concepts. Ex. Africa AND blues

Interlibrary Loan

If your article is not available at Collins Library, you've got another option to getting it. Use Tipasa, our interlibrary loan service.

Once you have an account, either go directly to Tipasa and manually enter the information, or, if you're using a database, look for a shortcut link to automatically fill out the form.

Allow at least a week for the article to come. If your article is delivered in electronic format, you'll receive an email with a link to follow as soon as it's arrived. If it's delivered in paper, you'll receive it right in your campus mailbox.

Humanities & Social Sciences Databases

Start with these databases to find articles about your topic. Not finding anything? Check the subject guides for other databases or the A-Z list.

General Databases

Below is a  list of general databases covering a wide range of topics, including music. Here you'll find a mix of popular and scholarly sources.