New Questions, Old Answers: An Examination of Four Music Library Research Texts and their Relevance in the Digital Age

Sarah Alexander


In a time when information expands at an exponential rate and unlimited access becomes more available every minute, the idea that a university course could—or should—even approach comprehensive coverage of the resources in any field is unthinkable. Yet textbooks continue to be written with this approach of instruction. This article examines four texts in music library research instruction: A Guide to Library Research in Music by Pauline Shaw Bayne, Sourcebook for Research in Music by Phillip D. Crabtree and Donald H. Foster, Music Library and Research Skills, by Jane Gottlieb and Music Research: A Handbook by Laurie J. Sampsel. Resources were analyzed based on their stated purpose, content and current applicability. The growing need for a new perspective on the instruction of library research skills that extends beyond the items themselves to the methods and strategies for information retrieval in a variety of contexts is proposed as an area for future examination.