New Resource: Bloomsbury Popular Music

The Library now provides access to Bloomsbury Popular Music a database which includes the entire Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World, the 33 1/3 series and an expanding range of scholarly books

Screenshot of Bloomsbury Popular music

Database features include:

  • Search, browse and filter content by music genre, artist name, topic, and country
  • Artist Pages containing curated links to relevant content for each artist
  • World Map enabling users to navigate to books and articles covering a particular country or region
  • Timeline of Popular Music showing dates of all the albums covered in the 33 1/3 series, plus an overview of contextual events in musical and political history, with links to relevant encyclopedia articles
  • Related Content links on every content page makes it easy to discover relevant material
  • Intuitive, user-friendly interface for desktop, tablet and mobile
  • Easy to cite, share, and print content

Screenshot Bloomsbury

This resource will be of particular interest to students, academics and researchers in disciplines such as music, ethnomusicology, media, cultural studies, sociology and journalism.

You can access Bloomsbury Popular Music via the CityLibrary Search or our A-Z database list.

If you have any questions or comments about this resource please email


Fairytale of #CityLibraryXmas

Christmas is a time of joy and good tunes. Whether you are having fun with family or friends, or spending a little bit of time revising, music can lift the spirits, energise or relax and help you bond with other people.

We asked members of staff from across City Library what their favourite festive tracks were. We got a lot of responses. Fairytale of New York and Last Christmas were both popular, but some very interesting tracks were added.

Listen to our Spotify playlist below.


Bianco Natal and Scende la Neve

“They are all Italian songs, we used to sing them in primary school (our teacher used to play guitar – very homey!)

The Pogues’ Fairytale of New York

“I love the lyrics!” says one. “Great to sing-a-long to” says another.

Last Christmas

“George Michael, school disco memories !!”

Silent Night and Slade’s Merry Christmas Everybody

“Remind me of people I miss”

Anything from Muppet Christmas Carol

“The best sing-along songs for Christmas” says Chloe.

Oh Holy Night

Lynn chose this. She said “At the line “Fall on your knees, O hear the angels’ voices” it gives me goose pimples and makes me cry – every time, no matter who is singing – King’s College choir or Mariah Carey.”

Tim Minchin’s White Wine In The Sun

Samantha says “I’m not religious but like a lot of non-religious people I enjoy Christmas for the chance to spend time with family and friends and this song is all about an Australian family waiting for their children to travel home for Christmas and meet them, where they’re all outside, drinking white wine in the sun and I’m not Australian either so I really like the different image from the usual snowy winter festivals we think of in Europe”.


This year (2017) the Northampton Square Library will be open 27th – 29th December 10 am – 6 PM for self-service and reference only use. Check Library Services website for more information on library opening times.

Have we missed one of your favourite songs? Tell us in the comments below or add it to our Spotify playlist.

Library Staff Love #16: Rock’s Backpages

As anyone who has listened to our latest Spotify playlist knows, Librarians have excellent taste in music. We’re not common people. We know our Bachs from our Back for Goods.

What we librarians also have excellent taste in is our selection of online resources, which is why for Library Staff Love #16 Alex, our Subject Librarian for Arts, has chosen to highlight Rocks Backpages.

Rock’s Backpages

Here’s why:

“Rock’s Backpages lets you explore rock and pop music history with over 30,000 articles of music journalism including interviews, feature articles and reviews. The articles are sourced from magazines such as Rolling Stone, Cream, NME, Mojo and Melody Maker with all genres covered from Country to Glam Rock and Trip-Hop. Coverage goes back to the early 1950s and is updated every week.

Some of my own personal favourites from the archive:

For anyone researching popular music or music writing this database is an essential resource. Search for “Rock’s Backpages” via City Library Search, then select the link to go directly to the site where you can browse and search by artist, publication, genre or journalist. The website itself also includes bonus audio and visual materials.”

When you access the link to Rock’s Backpages you’ll be prompted for your City Username and Password and then… hallelujah! You’ll have access to a treasure trove of musical matter.

Thanks for the suggestion Alex (such a good egg, definitely not a bad seed…)

Open Music Library

The Open Music Library is a new initiative with the aim to  build the world’s most comprehensive open network of digital resources for the study of music.

Curated by a community of music scholars, students, teachers and librarians it is free to
access and includes peer-reviewed journals books, music scores, with audio and video coming soon (public domain, linked open data).
There is in-depth cross-searching of both open access and for-fee content (including Alexander Street collections).

Global contributors include: British Library; Royal Library of Denmark; Bibliothéque national de France; Bibioteca Nacional de Espaňa; Biblioteka Narodowa; the Library of Congress – and more to come…

Visit the feedback forum so you can get involved in developing the Open Music Library!

Library Staff Love #5: Naxos

Nigh_view_of_beach_of_Naxos_island,_GreeceWith Easter approaching, what better way to enjoy the bank holiday weekend than taking time out to visit the beautiful Greek island of Naxos? With its picturesque Mediterranean setting, gorgeous food and…

Oh, wait, sorry. Let me start this post again….*

With Easter approaching, what better way to enjoy the bank holiday weekend than taking time to enjoy the fantastic resource that is Naxos Music Library?

Greek Taverna

Naxos Music Library has been nominated by Stephen who describes it as a “resource with a huge variety of classical, world, film and jazz music to listen to” and is available to students (and staff) by logging-in via CityLibrary Search, or our Library Guide for Music.

So why is Stephen such a big fan?

“I use this resource of classical, world, film and jazz music recordings constantly. It is obviously a fantastic study resource (I wish there had been something like it when I was studying music!), but it is equally great for someone like myself who likes exploring different recordings of classical music, or for someone who is new to classical (or other types of) music and can have the opportunity to explore a wide range of different sorts of music within the genres.”

So inspired by Stephen’s enthusiasm for Naxos Music Library, I’ve just done a quick search for ‘Greece Traditional’ and have come across a delightful album called ‘Greek taverna’. With the mellifluous sounds of bouzouki washing over me, and the public domain picture above, all I need now is for a little sunshine and it’ll be just like being on vacation…Bouzouki music on Naxos

Thanks for the suggestion Stephen!

(*We’re sure the island of Naxos is lovely btw., it’s just that it’s not a Library resource, my mistake…)