Music Distance Education – Frequently Asked Questions

How do I find articles online?

Many articles can be found simply by searching the BU Library Search. Please note that, while the BULS covers much material, it does not cover everything. For more extensive research, a complete list of databases can be found by following the Databases A-Z link on the Library homepage. From this list, you can limit by subject to music databases. If you find a citation that does not allow you to open the article in full text within a database, use the Find at BU link. This will search for full text access to the article you need through our other subscription databases.

Where can I get passwords for an online resource?

Navigate to BU’s online resources through BU library pages. If you are asked for a password from a resource itself, back out and re-navigate, beginning from within the library’s website (and not, for instance, as part of a Google search). Typical starting places might be the BU Library Search or the Databases. When you click a link to a resource on a library page, you will be asked to supply your BU username and password. Also, pay attention to subscription dates when clicking on the availability link for a title in the BU Library Search. It is common that we have access to some, but not all of a specific resource.

How can I find out if a journal article is available to me online?

Many journals can be found simply by searching the title in the BU Library Search. To find if you have access to a particular journal title, use Filter My Results in the right column and select Journals as the Material Type; you may need to click Show More to see it in the material type list.  The “Find Online” tab signifies that we have access to the journal online. The title will say Online Access Available. Clicking that link will show date coverage.

How can I get an article that is not online?

Whether the library owns the material or it needs to be requested elsewhere, articles can be requested through the library’s regular Interlibrary Loan services.

How can I get other materials not owned by the library?

To find resources near you, do a search in WorldCat Discovery. Once there you can search for the material you need and then enter your zip code to find what institutions close to you have this item. Be advised that if you decide to visit any non-public libraries, you will need to call them for hours and walk-in policy. Also, contact your local public library to see what services they can offer you such as Interlibrary Loan.

How do I search the content of a specific journal?

Many databases that offer full text allow you to search within a journal; search for the title in BU Libraries Search to determine if BU has a link to that journal. However, when that is not an option, you should refer to Ulrichsweb Global Serials Directory found on our databases page. Ulrichsweb not only tells you where a particular title is indexed but also if the journal exists in electronic format (NB: not the same as if BU subscribes to the online journal) and if it is peer-reviewed or refereed.

How can I get a copy of dissertation?

BU has full access to ProQuest Dissertations & Theses found on the databases page. For those items not yet available through Proquest Dissertations & Theses, you may purchase non-BU dissertations at reasonable cost. You may also search WorldCat Discovery to see if a library near you has the dissertation or contact your local public library to see if they can obtain a copy for you through Interlibrary Loan. Please do not use Mugar Library’s Interlibrary Loan system to make dissertation requests.

Do you have any eBooks?

The library has a large collection of ebooks. These can be found in BU Libraries Search.

Will BU loan me a book that is in its collection?

At this time, no. Your options as a distance education student are approaching but not identical to those of campus residential students. To obtain additional resources, work through the interlibrary loan services of your local public library. You should also make contact with any local institutional libraries to see if any of them have walk-in privileges. Please do not use Mugar Library’s Interlibrary Loan system to make book requests.

Can I use the Library’s Interlibrary Loan system?

The Library’s Interlibrary Loan services can be used to request articles that are not online. For all other material, you will either need to use WorldCat Discovery or locate your local public and institutional libraries to obtain resources near you.

Can my local public library really help me?

The local public library is a vital tool to the online student. While your public library may not have the items that you need on hand, many public libraries are a part of a larger consortium, and nearly all of them support interlibrary loan borrowing.

How do I get reference help?

Reference help is always readily available. First, you can use the Ask a Librarian service. Please identify yourself as a distance education student when using this service. At any time, you may also email the music library directly at The Music Library can help you with identifying on-site, electronic, and external collection resources, navigating and interpreting online catalogs, locating articles where online full-text doesn’t exist and obtaining a specific article or source. Please be sure to supply as much information as possible including your full name and address and any additional contact information such as phone number and email address where applicable. Both services offer timely responses to your questions.

Do I have to contact the library through email or can I speak to a person?

If you are more comfortable on the phone, please don’t hesitate to contact us at (617) 353-3705. Please note our hours of operation as the Music Library keeps different hours than Mugar Library.

Do you have any additional tips?

The Music Library web site and the Boston University Libraries web site are full of information to help you in your search for resources. Please spend some time exploring our pages; the answers to many of your research questions may already be answered on these sites.