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Music Research Guide: About the Mendel Library

Locate online and print resources, including key databases, catalogs, Web sites, and bibliographies, as well as search strategies, locations, and a wealth of other information about music at Princeton.

"Mendel Speak"

The Mendel Music Library uses many symbols and abbreviations to define the location and circulation status of its materials. Many of these are not obvious to the user, stemming from old practices long past. This little translation guide may help those trying to use the collections, both in person and online.

  • V: decades ago when the disciplines with distinctly located collections were assigned single letters to locate books, the music collection, then shelved in Firestone Library, ended up with "V," since "M" was claimed by math. So, at Princeton, music = "vusic."
  • S: an old, now obsolete designation indicating seminar room (or seminarium)—back when library collections were small and research collections were housed in seminar rooms to be easily at hand for research. The "S" has come to indicate reference materials that do not circulate.
  • SV: thus translates to "music seminar room"—but now just means "reference."
  • F: facsimile reproductions of music manuscripts and pre-1900 reprints of music editions and books on music or dance.
  • SVF: the Facsimile Reference Collection, located in the Reference Stacks on the 1st floor.
  • L: "locked"—used for rare materials and microforms "locked" behind the Circulation Desk.
  • SVL: materials "locked away" and paged from the Circulation Desk.
  • SVR: reference materials shelved in the Reading Room.
  • MUS: this is easy—"music," used to designate mostly circulating materials shelved in the book and score collections on the 2d floor.

Mendel in Brief

In 1997 the music collections of Princeton University were brought together for the first time with the opening of the Scheide Music Library in the Woolworth Center for Musical Studies. At William Scheide’s  request, the music library was renamed to honor  former Princeton faculty member and Scheide’s teacher Arthur Mendel (1905–1979) for his outstanding contributions as Bach scholar, performer, editor, critic, and teacher to the discipline of music. Books, printed music, sound recordings, periodicals, microforms, and videos/DVDs are housed on the three floors of the library.  Also included are listening facilities, computer work stations, equipment for viewing and scanning microforms and videos/DVDs, photo reproduction equipment, a reading room, seminar room, and graduate student study carrels. The library also subscribes to a wide variety of electronic resources that include databases, electronic books and journals, streaming audio and video services, and primary resources. In total, the Mendel Music Library collections support the complex and varied research and performance needs of Princeton’s preeminent music faculty, some fifty graduate students in musicology, music theory, and composition, undergraduate music majors and non-majors participating in the various performance ensembles, and Princeton students, faculty, and staff from all subject areas who include music as part of their interdisciplinary study or personal interest. In addition, research collections of the music library are widely used by researchers from all over the Northeast and beyond. Also housed in the Mendel Music Library are collections supporting the dance program and music theater.

The Department of Special Collections at Firestone Library complements the Mendel Music Library by holding the rarest parts of Princeton’s music collection. Foremost among these resources is the Hall Handel Collection, a collection of first and early editions of the works of George Frideric Handel, which is the largest collection in the United States. In a room adjacent to the Department of Special Collections, visitors will find William Scheide's private library. Although it is not primarily a music collection, this library includes some extraordinary musical treasurers, such as the fair copy of Wagner's Das Rheingold, a Beethoven sketchbook, and autograph manuscripts of works by Mozart and Bach.

Some numbers: The Mendel Music Library collections include over 65,000 monographs, 60,000 scores, 94,000 sound recordings (40,000+ CDs), 2,600 video recordings, 18,000 microfilm titles, and 770 periodical titles.

Mendel Links

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Music Librarian

Darwin Scott's picture
Darwin Scott
Arthur Mendel Music Library
The Woolworth Center of Musical Studies
Princeton University
Princeton, NJ 08544-1007
609 258-4251