Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Using Subject Headings To Find Solo And Chamber Music (New Catalog)

The Library's New Catalog (also known as Bibliocommons) functions best as a discovery tool and works best for browsing.  One example of this is the subject search.  A subject search in the new catalog does not only give results for the exact subject, but treats the terms in the search as keywords within all of the subject fields.  A lack of precision makes it more forgiving and expansive in the results produced.

One convenient feature of the new search is auto-completion in the search box.  Begin typing a search for viola and cello and you will get suggested headings.

The heading Viola and Cello Music usually applies to recordings.  Viola and Cello Music -- Scores will be scores.

The over-expansive subject search Viola and Cello produces more than 900 results.  The filter selections on the left hand column of the results are an essential tool to narrow down the result.  I have highlighted the filtering triangles with a red box below.

Selecting Books and Music & Sound you can limit only to eBook (online scores) or Printed Music (printed scores).
430 results for Printed Music is still very large and unfortunately includes many items other than viola and cello duets.  Nevertheless, the top-ranked results are the best matches.
The 4 Tangos for String Quartet are there because the instrumentation includes a viola and cello.  The Progressive Duets for Cello can be used for a viola / cello duet if used in conjunction with Progressive Duets for Viola.  Even this less than precise search has shown us the call number for viola and cello duets (785.722).

Once a title is selected, the right hand column has a heading for "Exploring Further" where a link to the subject heading is provided.
Selecting that link gives a more exact listing of titles.  At any stage of your search can call also search Link+.
This will take you to a catalog that includes the San Francisco Public Library plus several other public and university library systems in California and Nevada.

The most helpful features of the New Catalog are the autocomplete and the ability to filter searches by material type.  But the autocomplete feature can, nevertheless, lead you astray.
Standard Woodwind Quintets are written for bassoon, clarinet, flute, horn and oboe.  But this combination does not appear in the autocomplete options for Woodwind Quintets.  This is because this standard instrumentation includes a brass wind instrument, the French horn.
The autocompletion for Wind Quintets gives the desired instrumentation.

Searching for music scores can often be less than straightforward, so please call the Art, Music and Recreation Center at 415-557-4525 if you have questions.  You can also email us or chat with us.

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