For more detailed information, please change to the German version of this website.

Search tips

Search on a topic

- Use the „Wissensportal der Künste“ and enter one or more terms that describe your topic quite well.

- Use the systematics: in these PDFs you can search for your field of interest.

Subject heading

Librarians use subject headings to describe the contents of a publication, regardless of the title. These terms correspond with a terminologically controlled vocabulary (in German language).  It is based on the Common Standards File (GND) of the German National Library. Search for a subject heading in the advanced search. In case you do not find your desired field, please try with synonymous terms or contact the information desk.

Systematics, system position

Media in the library‘s open access area are almost all arranged according to a system, which is hierarchically structured in order of various subject groups. There are separate classifications for: design; educational sciences; communication (with literature on film and photography); art and architecture; music and theatre with sheet music; sound carriers; film genres. If you have found the right classification, you can – in case it is a book -  have a look directly on the shelf or search for all media assigned to this classification in the „Wissensportal der Künste“: advanced search/search criterion, e.g. "Kunst/Architektur, Systematik".

Shelf mark

The shelf mark of books in the open access area is usually composed of a system location that factually assigns the book to an area and a sequential inventory number, which is indicated after a slash or below a fraction. Both parts of the shelf mark consist of a combination of letters and numbers, e.g. QP 6373 / FA 2345.

Searching for musical works

For sheet music, musical works on CDs, records, DVDs, videos or Blu-ray Discs there are standardized work titles to get better results. We call them „Werktitel „ (preferred title for a composition) .

On one hand we have individual work titles such as „Zauberflöte“ or „Cosi fan tutte“, on the other hand  there are titles of works with general terms for types of composition.

Some types of composition used in standardized musical work titles are: duos, fantasies, fugues, inventions, cantatas, concerts, songs, masses, overtures, partitas, preludes, quartets, quintets, rondos, symphonies, sonatas, suites, trios, variations. The search has to be in German: Duos, Fantasien, Fugen, Inventionen, Kantaten, Konzerte, Lieder, Messen, Ouvertüren, Partiten, Präludien, Quartette, Quintette, Rondos, Sinfonien, Sonaten, Suiten, Trios, Variationen.

In order to get a more detailed definition of musical works, standardized abbreviations of the instrumentation were used to form a „Werktitel“ until 2016; now the instrumentation is written out. That means you have to search twice. 

Examples of abbreviations:

Orchester: Orch, Flöte: Fl, Horn: Hr, Klavier: Kl, Kontrabass: Kb, Klarinette: Klar, Oboe: Ob, Orgel: Org, Pauke: Pk, Trompete: Trp, Viola: Va, Violine: VI, Violoncello: Vc .

So, if you are looking for „Mozart Klavierkonzert 413“ (piano concert 413), first try:

  • standardized work title: Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus (1756-1791) : Konzerte, Kl Orch, KV 413

Second try:

  • standardized work title: Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus (1756-1791) : Konzerte, Klavier, Orchester, KV 413

With this method you will get a much better hit list than if you just search for „piano concertos“. You find further information here:


Searching for journal articles

Generally, journal articles or collective works are not listed in the „Wissensportal der Künste“. You can search for journal articles in different ways:

- in the directory of a journal

- on publishers‘ websites. Some of them publish licensed databases (see e.g. link list and database list of the UdK library)

Once you have found relevant articles and journals, you can search for the journal titles in the „Wissensportal der Künste“. If you still do not find what you are looking for, we recommend searching the journal database (ZDB).