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You Already Have the Citation: How Do You Find the Item?

Do you already have a citation, and now you need to find the item? This guide will help you select the best search method.

Which citation type do you have?

This list is for commonly found citations. If your citation is in a style that does not fit below, please visit the reference desk in the Cook Music Library, or email the reference account at musiclib_ref@indiana.edu

Does your citation have one title in italics or underlined, and nothing within quotation marks?

  • Example: Smith, Mary. Drake is Misunderstood. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2014.

Your citation is probably for a book, score, or recording. Use an online catalog, such as IUCAT or Worldcat to search for this title.


Does your citation have one title in italics or underlined, plus a title “within quotation marks,” as well as issue numbers and a month or season in parentheses? If your citation was found in Grove online, you might see 'apostrophes' instead of "quotation marks" and the journal title might be an abbreviation you must click on.

  • Example: Smith, Mary. “Drake’s Use of Auto-tune: Yay or Nay?” Journal of Hip-Hop 42, no. 4 (Feb. 2016): 114-121.
  • Example: Smith, Mary. “Drake and Rihanna’s Collaborations: an Investigation.” Pop Music Today 114 (Spring 2015): 37-43.

Your citation is probably for a journal article. For these citations, it is most efficient to first search IUCAT for the title of the journal, which is in italics. Do not search for the article; start first with the journal title. Go to IUCAT and insert the title in a keyword search, using quotation marks to assist your search. Example: “Journal of hip-hop”  Limit your results to the format Journals/Periodicals.
Scroll through results to see if your title is available as an Online Resource, or in Bound Volumes/print. Ask a librarian for assistance if your journal is unavailable.

A journal article citation in Grove might look substantially different from above. Here are two examples of Grove citations for journal articles. Remember: the journals are given abbreviations (MQ; MT) and you must click on the abbreviation to full the view journal title (Musical Quarterly; Musical Times):

  • A. Mendel : ‘On the Keyboard Accompaniments to Bach’s Leipzig Church Music’,MQ, xxxvi (1950), 339–62.
  • R. Marshall : ‘Bach's Chorus: a Preliminary Reply to Joshua Rifkin’, MT, cxxiv (1983), 19–22


Does your citation have one title in italics or underlined, plus a title “within quotation marks,” as well as a month and season, but no issue numbers?

  • Smith, Mary. “Drake Is Proud of His Sensitivity.” Billboard, February 2015, 64.

Your citation is probably for a magazine or newspaper article. Follow the same procedure above, for journal article. If you cannot find the title in IUCAT, the citation could be for a blog post. If that is the case, there should have been a URL/link. You can search for the blog using Google, and the article should be freely accessible.

Does your citation have one title in italics or underlined, and also contain a title “inside quotation marks,” without any noticeable or obvious information about months, seasons, numbers, or issues?

  • Example: Smith, Mary. “I Know When Your Hotline Bling.” In Songs for Former Flames. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2016.

Your citation is probably for a song in a score anthology/collection, or a chapter or essay from a book. Use an online catalog, such as IUCAT or Worldcat to search for the title that is in italics. In this example, you would search IUCAT for "songs for former flames."


Does your citation have one title “within quotation marks,” and nothing in italics? Is there a diploma listed, such as PhD or thesis?

  • Example: Smith, Mary. “An Analysis of ‘Hotline Bling.’” PhD diss., University of Chicago, 2016.

Your citation is for a thesis or dissertation. First, try searching for the title at the Proquest Dissertation Database. If your title is not there, try searching for it in RILM.