Category Archives: Databases

Audio databases, and some other related resources

You can browse a listing of electronic audio databases, under “E-Music and Sound Collections” under the “E-Resources” tab on the Libraries’ home page. There are some terrific resources here!

In addition, here are a few titles that don’t appear in the list linked to above, but contain media content that may be of interest to you:

These last three may all be found by title, under the “databases” search box on the Libraries home page.

All these databases offer streaming audio or video content, and are available from any computer on the campus network, or from off-campus to full-time students, faculty, and staff via login with your UNI and password.

Please let us know what you think! Comments welcome here, or at

New Database: Contemporary World Music

Columbia University Libraries has subscribed to Contemporary World Music (Alexander Street Press). This database provides streaming audio content, covering in this initial release ” …1,030 albums, equalling 13,726 tracks”, including content from labels including: Topic, Playasound, Budamusique, Air Mail Music, Manuiti, Crossing Records, Lyrichord World Music, Navras Records, and INEDIT. Additional new content is planned.

The database is described as “… a complementary database to Smithsonian Global Sound for Libraries – it includes a blend of contemporary and traditional world music recordings from many labels throughout the world. The focus is concentrated on contemporary genres, such as fusion and world beat.” Note: Smithsonian Global Sound for Libraries is also available through the Columbia University Libraries.

RSS feeds are available on the home page of this resource, which allow you to be updated as new content is added.

Check it out and please contact us with any comments, questions, or feedback!

End-of-semester music reference resources

The final push is on!… and here are some reminders of a few music reference resources that may assist you in your work. Please remember that you can contact us by phone (212-854-4711), by email (, or in person during library hours in the Music & Arts Library, 701 Dodge. Please let us know if we can help!

Many basic resources are gathered together in our Quick Reference Guide, including print resources, and electronic text and audio databases, and indexes to music periodical literature. Try starting with this, and if you have further questions, don’t hesitate to contact us!

Here, in addition, are some more recent resources, not yet listed in our Quick Reference Guide:

  • African American Music Reference – includes “…text reference, biographies, chronologies, sheet music, images, lyrics, liner notes, and discographies which chronicle the diverse history and culture of the African American experience through music.”
  • Encyclopedia of Popular Music – covers popular music genres and periods from 1900 to the present day, including jazz, country, folk, rap, reggae, techno, musicals, and world music.
  • Garland Encyclopedia of World Music – a comprehensive online resource “devoted to music research of all the world’s peoples”. Each volume contains an overview of a geographic region, a survey of its musical heritage, and a description of specific musical genres, practices, and performances.
  • Music Online: Classical Music Reference Library – “… brings together more than 30,000 pages of essential reference materials, spanning the entire history of Western classical music, in a unified online database. Included are the authoritative reference titles Baker’s Dictionary of Music, Baker’s Biographical Dictionary of Musicians, and Baker’s Student Encyclopedia of Music, which are available for the first time in electronic form”.
  • Opera in Video – database of streaming video of full operas, currently comprising 42 titles.
  • Rock’s Back Pages – rock reviews, articles and interviews from the late 1950s to the present day.

Tips on Naxos Music Library for Macs

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Recently, Naxos Music Library, one of the streaming audio databases available through the Libraries, updated its interface. One of the changes is the availability of the Silverlight media player (from Microsoft), which may help in improving off-campus access, specifically if you are using a Mac.

I noticed before I downloaded and installed the Silverlight player that when I would launch an audio playback window in Naxos Music Library, it would hang and not play back. After installing Silverlight (via the download link available from the Naxos playback window), playback was restored, and working again.

Please let us know by email at (or post a comment here) if you experience problems accessing Naxos Music Library (or any other music resource), or have questions about using them.

Reminder: Naxos Music Library, and other electronic audio and music-related resources from the Columbia University Libraries, may be accessed from off-campus by full-time students, faculty, and staff only.