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PY 103 Acoustical Foundations Of Music

Professor: William Karstens 

Reference/Instruction Librarian: Steven Burks

Office: Library 210

Phone: ext 2354


Appointments: Contact me via phone or email

Front Cover
The Physics of the Violin


Research Orientation Coverage

  • Search Statements - Finding Search Terms
      Example Search Statement
  • Research Material Types  
       Journal Article Databases
       Reference Materials
       Online Catalog: Books
       Internet Sources
  • Finding out  if/where the library has your journal article
    Journal Finder - List of full text periodicals available in SMC Library
  • Evaluating your sources
    What are Peer Reviewed Research Journals (checklist)
    Evaluating Internet Sources    *****example site
  • In-Class Assignment

Example Search Statement

The following simple search statement can be broken down to searchable terms.  Each term can be broken down to synonymous, broader, or narrower terms.  You will find terms as you progress in your research using Reference sources, citation records and journal articles.

Acoustical properties of common building material

Acoustical Properties

Common Building Materials

Architectural acoustics
Sound waves
Sound absorption
Reflection of Sound
Room acoustics

Structural materials
Absorption coefficients
 - concrete
 - drywall
 -  brick

Finding Journal Articles

  -See Discovery Search 

  -See Subject Guides for other Subject Quick Search Engines

I.Article Databases
All of the databases and indexes below may be reached from this page.  Also, information about accessing databases off-campus is available here.

Google Scholar 
Google Scholar (not to be confused with the Google search engine) searches the portals of a broad range of scholarly publications.  Google Scholar links to SMC Library holdings when accessed via your Mikenet account.  Look for the "Check for Full Text" link following an article title.

Possible Searches for my topic.  There are many more searches I can do as I learn more topic terms for my subject.

Search Terms HITS
acoustic*AND build* AND material*
music* AND building AND materials
acoustic* AND building AND concrete

ProQuest National Newspapers Premier

Infotrac Custom Newspapers

LexisNexis Academic


Reference Materials

Reference Materials in the Sciences can be found in the section: Q to TM is for Music This can be a good place to look for science specific encyclopedias or dictionaries, statistical sources, Internet guides, and research guides in different areas of the sciences.  Some sources to start with:

**Reference Sources: Secondary Source (Can lead you to Primary Sources) -ALS0, Statistical Data

Dictionary of Physics
REF QC5 .D53 2004

Dictionary of Music and Musicians
REF ML100 .N48

Access Science - Physics
Published by McGraw Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology.  Excellent authoritative science articles authored by experts in their fields.  Excellent graphics useful for your presentations.

From Access Science article = Architectural Acoustincs
Sound wave striking a building surface.

Britannica Online

CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics
REF QD 65 .h3 2004-05

 Searching the SMC Online Catalog Searching for Books and Materials in the Library Catalog using Subject and Keyword Searching: [Use the LCSH: Library of Congress Subject Headings to find subject headings]

**SUBJECT SEARCHING (FOR BOOKS) - possible headings (not exhaustive)
Choose FIND, then SUBJECT
1. Acoustics - See Music Acoustics and physics
2. Acoustical engineering
3. Sound Proofing
4. Computer Music
5. Psychoacoustics

**KEYWORD SEARCHING (For searching Books, Academic Search Premier
EX - acoustic? AND music?
EX - architecture AND (noise or sound? or acoustic?)

In Class Assignment

Write out a search statement in sentence form that you might consider for your Research Proposal. 




Identify the two or three main concepts in your search statement and break them down into synonymous, narrower, or broader terms.  You will terms as you find new materials as you research - jot them down

Concept 1                 and        Concept 2            and        Concept 3
1                                             1                                        1

2                                             2                                        2

3                                             3                                        3

For the above search statement find a total of 7 (or more) sources that could be used for your research:

  1. 1 reference sources (statistics, subject encyclopedias, other)
  2. 1 book sources or (videos, maps, software) from SMC Library Collection or WorldCat
  3. 4 Journal, Magazine, or Newspaper articles  (SUse Academic Search Premier or any of the other databases for your searches)
  4. 1 Internet Source

  B. Determine if SMC Library has the Journal, Magazine, or Newspaper article in print or full text and if so, where they are located in the library

4)   - 1 Internet sources on your topic
Briefly evaluate each site - by authority, objectivity, timeliness, focus
(Review Evaluating Information @

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