Category Archives: E-Resources

E-Resource: Contemporary Music – Gateway to Contemporary Music in France

Contemporary Music is an online resource which provides access to information about contemporary music in France. The site offers access to “124,993 biographies, books, music scores, sound recordings, videos… available in 17 databases”. The site offers a federated search across the holdings of its participating institutions (see here for a definition of federated searching). Users may also browse by institution; so, for example, you can search over 1,900 scientific papers offered by Ircam.

Audio files are mostly offered as excerpts, in streaming audio format. Access to scores is principally via bibliographic records, rather than by access to the full score. Information is provided on how to contact the institution of origin on this material. Scientific papers are offered with some full text (HTML format) with the remainder consisting of online citations only.

There are some limitations to the site. Although offered in both a French and English version (click on the flag symbols to toggle), the English version in many places has French terms in the text and in the search fields. In some cases, references to audio files are provided, but playback does not work. It does not seem possible to sort search results in all of the results screens. Also, some content is restricted to subscribers (for example, Ircam offers links to composers’ biographies in Grove Music Online, but following these links leads to a subscriber login. Note that full-time Columbia affiliates may access the full Grove Music Online via the Columbia Libraries’ standard link, via “Databases” on Library Web).

Despite these minor glitches, this gateway offers a valuable search utility to discover resources on contemporary music in France, with content that would not be easily accessible elsewhere.

Tips on audio playback for Naxos Music Library

Naxos Music Library, one of the Libraries’ online audio databases, seems to have recently changed their web site, in a way that may impact some users.

When you select your audio and start playback, a window launches, running a Flash audio player. Unfortunately, this player will not work on standard library workstations!

If you look at the playback window, you’ll see that you’re also offered two other options:

Windows Media Player, and the Silverlight player.

For standard library workstations, choose Windows Media Player. For Macs, try Silverlight (including off-campus access). Silverlight requires download and installation. Please let us know if you experience any problems in connecting to this, or any other, audio resource!

Featured E-Resource: The Jazz Discography

The Jazz Discography (Tom Lord) is now available through the Libraries. It is “… the most up-to-date general discography of all categories of recorded jazz, from 1896 to today”.

This resource allows much more flexible searching than was possible using the earlier print and CD-ROM versions. Searches are available for leader, session, musician, tune, and record label, as well as a “multi-search” function which allows searches of multiple musicians and/or tunes. A good introduction to using the database is found by clicking on the “Help” tab on the upper right of the screen.

The Jazz Discography can be found under the “Databases” tab of the main Library Web search page. Access is available on campus, or off-campus to Columbia affiliates via your standard UNI/password login.

Let us know what you think!

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.

Updated: Library Quick Reference Guide

The Music & Arts Library “Quick Reference Guide” has been updated, and is available on our home page (or, click here to open the file directly). It can be downloaded as a PDF file. Please feel free to contact us with comments and suggestions!

Cambridge Journals Online offers some enhancements

Cambridge Journals Online has announced some enhancements to its online services, including the ability to bookmark content using social bookmarking services (such as, to interface with Zotero, and a downloadable search widget. Full details on the enhancements are available at this link.

Music journals which currently have online content provided through Cambridge Journals Online via Columbia University Libraries are:

  • British Journal of Music Education
  • Cambridge Opera Journal
  • Early Music History
  • Eighteenth-Century Music
  • Journal of the Society for American Music
  • Organised Sound
  • Plainsong and Medieval Music
  • Popular Music
  • Tempo
  • Twentieth-century music

Check out these new enhancements, and let us know if you have any questions or problems!

New E-Resources added

Three new e-resources of interest have been added to the Libraries’ collections. Please have a look!
Questions or feedback? Please contact us at

Classical Music Reference Library

The Classical music reference library brings together reference materials, spanning the entire history of Western classical music. Included are the reference titles Baker’s dictionary of music, Baker’s biographical dictionary of musicians, Baker’s student encyclopedia of music and Women composers: music through the ages. Provides coverage of all classical genres, from the Medieval period to the 21st century.

Opera in Video

A streaming video database that will contain approximately 250 important
opera performances, captured on video through staged productions,
interviews, and documentaries. Selections represent the world’s leading
performers, conductors, and opera houses and are based on a work’s
importance to the operatic canon.

Dance in Video

Searchable database containing streaming video files of dance productions
and documentaries by influential performers and companies of the 20th
century. Selections cover ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary, experimental,
and improvisational dance, as wellas forerunners of the forms and the
pioneers of modern concert dance. Videos can be browsed by people, role,
ensemble, genre, and venue. Material types include documentaries,
editorials, instructional, interviews, and performances. Database users
may create their own custom playlists and video clips.

Audio Databases at CU Libraries

The Columbia University Libraries subscribe to a variety of digital music databases, which can be accessed from any computer in the Libraries, or from off-campus (by full-time students, faculty and staff). These sites offer streaming audio access to classical, jazz, popular, and world music. Many of the sites contain additional content, such as libretti, biographies, playlists, and more. All can be accessed by title through the “Databases” link on Library Web, or by selecting “E-Music” from the “E-Resources” drop-down menu from the main Library Web page (or, follow the links below). Enjoy listening!

Titles include: