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Graduate Research in Music - Music 710: Evaluating & Citing Sources

Using resources in the UWM Music Library. Developed for the Graduate Research in Music Course.

Evaluating & Citing Sources

Evaluating Sources  

Just a few things to think about "The Internet" vs. The Library Resources that are accessed via the       Internet, or why Wikipedia, or Google are a good place to start, but can't be your only sources. The resources that the Library provides to you that are accessed over the Internet are not, per se, "The Internet." They are electronic versions of things that were, for the most part, once printed resources. Indexes, dictionaries, digitized images, even whole books. So they retain their scholarly value while things that you find in Wikipedia,, or Google are put there by anyone who feels like it and you really can't trust it without extensive additional research - e.g. the recent stories about the businesses and politicians that have been altering their Wikipedia entries to eliminate events that give them bad PR, so its scholarly value is often suspect.


Citing Your Sources

Citing your sources is fairly straight forward. You need to provide information that uniquely identifies the item that you're       citing so that someone else can track down it down themselves if they want to. The content of a bibliographic citation is not arbitrary, you need to provide specific information that is determined by the citation format you are using. For most materials they include: author(s), title, publisher, place of publication, date of publication. For some materials you will need to add things like page numbers (for an article or book chapter), URL and date viewed (for a website), date of interview (for a taped or transcribed field interview).

The UWM Libraries has a page that gives information on the different citation formats, with examples. These include, but are not limited to Modern Language Association (MLA), American Psychological Association (APA), and Chicago Manual of Style which is distilled into an easy to use guide by Kate L. Turabian. The page is

The UWM Libraries also subscribes to the Chicago Manual of Style Online. You can access it here.

Primary / Secondary Materials

  • Primary and Secondary Sources
    • What is a Primary Source ? The original source of information upon which your research is based. Things like documents (birth/marriage/death certificates), a newspaper article from the time of the events, poems, photographs, and tapes of interviews.
    • What is a Secondary Source ? A description or analysis of materials that are considered primary sources. Things like encyclopedias and dictionaries, or a full-length analytical book or article.

      This webpage at UW-Stevens Point is a terrific way to track if what you are looking at is a primary source or not


    • What are some primary sources that you might find here at UWM ?
      A play script or a musical score, or, depending on what your research is it might be a performance of the play in audio or video format.
      Magazines in the stacks, e.g. if you're staging a play set in the 1960s you might want to know what the stereo in a bachelor pad looked like, so a primary source for that would be to look at Life or HiFi Review from the time. The New York Times Theater Reviews would be another primary source - reading what was written after the first night of
      of events, letters from the people in the photographs, or very old books. The UWM Archives and the American Geographical Society Library have a wealth of materials available for browsing that would be considered primary sources. For example, the papers of Milwaukee theater figure Larry Shue, the archives of the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre include things like programs and contracts, and these are supplemented by the production photographs by Mark Avery.


  • Visual Resources
    I've already mentioned a few sources that will include visual materials above, the AGSL and Archives photo collections or HiFi magazine.
    Some of these same sources have digital versions available. They might also considered primary sources. For example, The photos from the AGSL collection of Cities around the World

Music, Theatre, & Dance Librarian

Anna Grau Schmidt's picture
Anna Grau Schmidt
Golda Meir Library, User Services
(414) 229-6690