Narrowing Searches in Library Catalog

Searching for items in the MPAL catalog can result in a ton of hits – which can sometimes be daunting. For example, a simple search for “Brahms Symphonies” results in nearly 500 items. But what if you are looking for something specific – like a score to the second symphony or a recording conducted by Leonard Bernstein? Narrowing your search on the right hand column can help you quickly find what you are looking for.

One way to narrow your search is by Format, meaning the catalogue will limit your search to the type of item you would like. Some formats include:

Music Recording
Music Score
Electronic (online materials)
Film or Video


The Location option lets you know which libraries have items relating to your search. You can limit your search to only materials located in the Music and Performing Arts Library collection. Before narrowing your search this way, keep in mind that both the Main Stacks and the Undergraduate Library have some resources relevant to music topics.


The Author option can limit your searches by:
Author (book)

This section can sometimes be quite lengthy, so if you are looking for a specific performer or conductor it would be best to include their name in your initial search.

The Topic section helps you find resources about what you searched for. This tool finds other resources (books, recordings, etc) that relate to your search and can be very helpful – especially if you are just starting work on a paper.

The Subject Area section is very broad (music, history, medicine) and not normally helpful. It is best to avoid this limit.

Another useful limit is by Language. Many of the resources at the library are in German or French, so if you can only use English sources, you can search for only those.