Libraries’ workshop tunes Concordians in to the world of online music 

By Russ Cooper

Digital Services Outreach Librarian Jared Wiercinski demonstrates the capabilities of at the Beats in Space workshop Jan. 14 in the Vanier Library. Magnifying glass

Digital Services Outreach Librarian Jared Wiercinski demonstrates the capabilities of at the Beats in Space workshop Jan. 14 in the Vanier Library.

The situation is one many of us know all too well; we’ve listened to every track in our personal music library, and it’s gotten a bit stale. Short of going to the record shop or buying some new music online, what’s a music-loving Concordian to do?

Libraries to the rescue! On Jan. 14, Digital Services Outreach Librarian Jared Wiercinski presented the workshop Beats in Space: Discover the World of Online Music at Vanier Library as part of the Library Essentials: Research Skills Workshop series.

From the Libraries' site, any Concordia student, staff or faculty can stream a few exclusive databases on the web. All you need is your ID number.

Smithsonian Global Sound. More than 43 000 tracks covering music from every nook and cranny around the world. The database also features all published recordings of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, one of the most extensive collections of historic recordings. Create your own playlists or even read the original liner notes, scanned and posted in pdf form.

NAXOS Music Library. Everything from Thorvald Aagaard to Buckwheat Zydeco, 563 000 tracks from the world’s largest classical and jazz music label. Wiercinski suggests trying out the spoken word biographies. You can make your own playlists using the NAXOS iPhone app.

Jazz music library. Make your own playlists from more than 52 000 tracks without signing in. It also has an embed feature if you want to post a song to your own blog or website.

The advantage, Wiercinski says, is that these databases are in many cases the only place to find some of these obscure historical recordings for research or interest purposes. But for those firmly planted in the present, Wiercinski has amassed a fantastic list of a dozen streaming audio sites. Among his favourites is A site for musicians to share their work and control how it’s distributed, it’s a fantastic resource to hear new music and post your thoughts directly to the artist. takes it one step further. The site gathers photos from and songs from tagged with a particular city (eg. Montreal, London or Istanbul) to give an up-to-the-moment perspective of the sound and look of its music scene.

For those interested in electroacoustic music, there’s always Housed here at Concordia, it’s the largest online resource in Canada for study and creation of sound through electronic means (see Journal, April 2, 2009).

“[Streaming music sites] are popping up all over the place. It’s hard enough to keep up on the new sites,” he says. “We’ve put a bunch of them in one place. It’s a great place to start.”

The workshop series continues; PubMed: access to biomedical literature on Jan. 29; RefWorks: the bibliography builder on Feb. 10; and Web of Science for researchers on Feb. 12. Check the Libraries' site for more info.


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