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Recorded Sound Section--Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division


Library of Congress Catalogs and Finding Aids
National and International Catalogs
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Reference Works

Published discographies are extremely useful resources in the field of recorded sound. They are descriptive lists of recordings by such categories as label, performer or artist, composer, or genre. They cover primarily commercial recordings of various musical genres. It is important to bear in mind, however, that the recordings listed in the various discographies found in the reference center are not necessarily held in the division. You must search for particular recordings in the various Library and divisional catalogs to determine their availability within the division.

Three discographies in the Recorded Sound Reference Center are particularly relevant to the study of American women composers and performers. Women Composers: A Discography by Jane Frasier (Detroit: Information Coordinators, 1983; ML156.4.W6 F7 1983) and The International Discography of Women Composers, compiled by Aaron I. Cohen (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1984; ML156.4.W6 C6 1984) are guides to classical-music recordings written by women composers. Only the first volume (A-F) of The Encyclopaedia of Gay and Lesbian Recordings (Amsterdam: J. McLaren, 1989; ML156.4.G4 M2 1989) has been published and it may be the only existing annotated discography that includes information on performers from the lesbian and feminist music scene.

Ladyslipper Catalog and Resource Guide of Music by Women

Another very important resource is the Ladyslipper Catalog and Resource Guide of Music by Women, (Durham, N.C.: Ladyslipper, Inc., 1976-) (see Recorded Sound External Sites), which is available only in the reference center. For twenty years this triennial, annotated publication has provided information about musical and literary recordings by women artists, including musicians, writers, composers, and comics. The catalog is organized by categories such as women's spirituality, gospel music, classical music, drumming/percussion, comedy, and the spoken word. Within these categories, artists are arranged alphabetically by their first names.

The division shelves many of its commercial releases numerically by recording company (for some media, this system is gradually being changed to a shelf-number arrangement). Among the best guides to the collections, therefore, are the many record manufacturers' or other trade catalogs on file in the reference center, or listed there and shelved in the Music Division. These are descriptive lists of commercial recordings for various musical genres. Once a label and number are located, a search can be made for the recording. Note, however, that the presence of a manufacturer's catalog in the division does not indicate that all of the recordings listed are in the Library's collections.

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