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Music Information and Research @ Pitt: An Overview: Catalog Searching Tips

This guide is intended to provide an overview of resources available at the University of Pittsburgh for music-related research and study.

Pittcat Classic

Pittcat Classic, the library's alternative catalog, allows some more controlled searching. You can search for a particular composer, performer, or ensemble by performing an Author search- just make sure to enter personal names in inverted order (i.e. Lastname, Firstname). If you are searching for a group, be sure to omit the words A, An, or The (i.e. simply type 'Beatles' into the search box- not 'The Beatles), and make sure you have selected 'Author' as the type of search you are performing.

You can also limit your results lists in Pittcat Classic. Click the 'Limit Your Search' button on the left, or the 'Limit Your Results' button after you have performed a search. You are then able to refine your search results according to Item Type (Music Score, Musical Recording, etc.), Location (Music Library, Hillman, etc.), among other criteria.

Searching for Individual Songs

Searching the library catalog for individual songs, in printed songbooks or on recordings, can be easily accomplished by entering the song title enclosed by quotation marks.

If you are searching PittCat Plus, you can refine your search results to 'Music Scores' or 'Music Recordings'.

If you are searching PittCat Classic, make sure you are performing a Boolean or Keyword search.

Pittcat Plus

Pittcat Plus, the University Library System's online catalog, contains all the library's holdings, including music books, scores, and recordings.

After you have entered a keyword search into Pittcat Plus, you can use the 'Content Type' check boxes on the left side of the screen to refine your results list by checking, for example, 'Music Score' or 'Music Recording'. You can also use the 'Library Location' check boxes (also on the left) to limit your search to the Music Library or any other library in the University Library System. If you find an item that is listed in Storage, you can have it delivered to campus library of your choice by clicking 'Get It' when you are viewing the individual record for the item you want.




Boolean searching in Pittcat Classic

When searching for classical music scores and recordings in Pittcat Classic, often the best strategy is to employ Boolean searching. Boolean searching allows users to enter as many search terms as they like by connecting them with the operative words AND, OR, and NOT. Since many classical works (like symphonies, concertos, and sonatas) do not contain distinctive titles, unlike literary works, title searching can often be frustrating and unhelpful. 

When searching for classical music, it is often advisable to enter the composer's name, the genre of the work you are looking for (in its plural form- e.g. symphonies, songs, quartets), and any other criteria you may wish to search by (like the name of a performer, ensemble, publisher, or record label). Make sure to connect your search terms with 'AND'. If you are looking for a sound recording, you can enter "AND recording" to the end of your search string. If you are looking for a score, you can enter "NOT recording" to the end of the search string.

For example, if you would like to retrieve a list of recordings of Beethoven symphonies in Pittcat Classic, perform this Boolean search: beethoven AND symphonies AND recording.

You can also include phrases in Boolean searches by enclosing them in quotes. So, if you were specifically looking for a recording of Beethoven's ninth symphony, your Boolean search should be as follows:

beethoven AND symphonies AND "no. 9" AND recording

If you would like further advice about searching for music in the library's online catalog, please ask a librarian in the Music Library. If you simply cannot find something you are looking for in our catalog, remember to ask a librarian!

Subject Guide

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Carlos Pena
B30 Music Building