The Music Library and Bill Schurk Sound Archives (MLBSSA) at BGSU has the largest collection of popular music at an academic institution in North America, which can serve as primary source material for your project. There is a robust collection of books, music scores, and magazines that tell the story of music as culture. You might find cover art or liner notes related to current and historical events or sound recordings that add context to your study of American memory. Sheet music covers provide illustrations that will enrich your research.
In addition to our significant holdings in popular music, we also have many non-music and spoken-word recordings. See our Non-Music Recordings research guide for the scope of these collections and specific hints on finding materials.
To access materials in the Music Library, copy the call number ("12/33 Chrysalis 4V...") and bring it to the Music Service Desk (3rd floor, Jerome Library). We'll set you up to listen and/or let you study the album art. These materials generally do not circulate, unless they have a status of "Shorter Loan."
To find music on a specific topic, identify the correct subject heading for the topic, and do a subject search for that heading with "-- songs and music" or "-- sounds" appended (try both). For example, if you want to find recordings related to the civil rights movement, start with a keyword search on "civil." Click on the first item in the list (regardless of that particular item's relevancy to your ultimate search), and notice what appears in the "Subject" field. For this project, try other terms, too, like "protest songs," and similar.
Everything that comes before the "--" is the basic subject heading (in this case, "Civil rights"). Now that we know this, we can do a subject search on that term with "-- Songs and music" or "-- Sounds" added to find relevant recordings.
You'll likely find success as well with the very simple strategy of doing a keyword search on your topic and limiting by material type to "Sound Recording." These results will be less focused than a subject search (this search will find any occurrence of the term "civil rights" whereas the subject search will limit to things that are explicitly about civil rights).