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Music 345a: Somali Music and Dance


Other Places to Search for Scholarly Articles

You can search for journal articles in two places: Catalyst or the research databases.  There are pros and cons to each approach.


  • Pro: same user interface you use to find our books and other materials
  • Pro: easy access to Resource Sharing if you want to request something we don't have
  • Pro: simultaneously asks multiple databases for results 
    • Con: only shows articles available online; does not include ones we only have in print
    • Con: you will need to filter out irrelevant results, if your search terms are significant in both music and non-music research areas
    • Con: sometimes misses results from certain databases (especially RILM)


  • Pro: includes search results Catalyst misses, including books from other libraries
  • Pro: subject-specific, so you don't need to filter out non-music results
    • Con: you often have to link back to Catalyst to access materials

For most topics, start your search in Catalyst, then follow up in an appropriate research database to make sure you haven't missed anything. Look for a "Research Databases" tab on the left for recommendations.

Searching for Scholarly Articles in Catalyst

1. From the library's homepage, click on the "Advanced Search" option. (Ignore the Articles tab; Advanced Search gives you more control over your results!)

screenshot of the Catalyst search interface; the "advanced search" option is marked in red

2. In the Advanced Search function, make sure "Articles" is ticked at the top. Then enter your search terms below. Here is a search for articles about American songwriter Carrie Jacobs Bond.

screenshot of the advanced search function of Catalyst. The "articles" button is marked with red. The search terms entered are "Carrie Jacobs Bond" and "parlor song."

3. Catalyst interprets the word "article" loosely, so the results list might include journal articles, book or performance reviews, and dissertations. Tell Catalyst you want only scholarly articles by clicking the "scholarly articles" button in the the "Refine My Results" menu on the left.

A screenshot of the "Refine My Results" menu. The button for "scholarly articles" is marked in red.

4. Most articles are available online.  Click the green "Online Access" button to see it. If you are off campus, you may need to enter your St. Olaf ID for access.

A screen shot of a record for an article available online. The "online access" button is marked in red.

5. Looking for articles from other libraries? Look for a Requesting Materials from Other Libraries tab on the left.

Searching for Scholarly Articles in Research Databases

Searching for scholarly articles in the research databases works is very similar to searching for them in Catalyst. The user interfaces look different, but the basic tools are the same.

You can access a list of recommended databases for this particular class using the "Research Databases" tab on the left of this page.

Alternatively, you can see all the databases St. Olaf offers here. Use the drop-down menus at the top of the page to select the subject area or database type you need. For example, you could set the  subject drop-down to "music" to see all the music databases.

Screenshot of the database sorting menus, which include "subject" and "database type" options.

1. Let's search for articles about Beethoven's Eroica symphony in Music Periodicals Database, one of the go-to music databases.

Screenshot of a search in Music Periodicals Database. The search is set for "Beethoven" and "Eroica Symphony."

2. As in Catalyst, once you are in your results list, there are additional filters on the left -- including one that limits to scholarly journals.

Screenshot of the Source Type filter in Music Periodicals Database. The option for "Scholarly Journals" is marked in red.

3. Often the article will be available directly from the database.  Look for a "PDF" or "Full Text" link.

Screenshot of an article record in Music Periodicals Database. The link to a PDF is marked in red.

4. If the resource is not directly available, there will be a Find It! button. Clicking this button asks Catalyst if we have access to the resource somewhere else.

Screenshot of an article record in Music Periodicals Database. The "Find It!" link is marked in red.

5. If we do have access, you'll be taken to a record in Catalyst with links to where you can access the article. In this case, you can get the article through JSTOR.

Screenshot of a Catalyst for an article, showing the online access links to JSTOR.

6. If we don't have access, you can request the article via Resource Sharing. Look for instructions in the Requesting Materials from Other Libraries tab on the left.