Music Index and RILM Abstracts Simultaneous Search

About this Tutorial

The information in RILM abstracts and Music Index is provided by EBSCO. This means that it is possible to search both music resources at the same time. This instructional guide also provides guidance for looking at records found in RILM. You can also view this tutorial as a video. Please direct all inquiries to


Log in to The Music Index.

On the resulting page, select the blue Choose Databases link just to the right of The Music Index Online heading. Note that the pull-down menus are not as extensive as RILMs but they are fine.


Of the options on this page, The Music Index is already selected. Look for RILM and select.

If you are at a Mugar network workstation clusters and encounter a Network Warning at this point, just wait a moment and try selecting again. The cluster’s security and authentication checks are attempting to process the changes, not to block them.

More databases from this list, supplied to BU by EBSCO on subscription, can also be selected. Click OK to save the selections.

Select RILM

Back at Search, notice you could review your selections by clicking on the blue Show all.

Try a search on these words: love (and) omaha

Show all and search

You will notice that you retrieve citations from both Music Index and RILM. The earliest item from The MI is from 1978. That makes sense because The MI (online portion) coverage extends back to 1973.

You may also notice that a citation from 1894 appears, pulled from RILM. Typical RILM coverage reaches back to the mid-1960s. However,  RILM has also worked to include retrospective indexing (the descriptive citations) for music in conference reports. This is evidence of that retrospective coverage.

RILM and Music Index citations

What else can we learn by taking a closer look at the resulting citations?

Click on the title link of Memoirs of the International Congress of Anthropology. You will be taken to a full description that concerns one of the papers (Love songs among the Omaha Indians) from this conference. It possible to learn something more about the conference itself by looking at the full description, which is the “parent” record for the entire conference. We learn that the conference activities themselves took place in 1893, and on what days, in Chicago. The published version of the conference, papers or reports in a single volume, occurred some time in 1894.

Parent record

Via RILM’s parent records you can also navigate to descriptions of their constituent parts.  In a full description look for:
Record Type: Main Record/Collected Work (Link to Constituent Parts).

Yet in this case the link leads to only two of the constituent parts. This is probably because those were the only music-related papers at the anthropology congress. That is one of the missions, and strengths, of RILM. In addition to its strong coverage of publications devoted exclusively to music, RILM contributors seek out music-related information in non-music publications.