What are papers and archives?
Libraries commonly use the term "papers" for collections of an individual's original documents and personal effects. "Papers" covers many formats, such as manuscripts, drafts, diaries, journals, audio and video recordings, books, and artifacts (e.g., eyeglasses, musical instruments) that belonged to the individual. Archives usually refers to the records of an organization, though there are exceptions. “Archival” carries a different connotation, and would apply to individuals’ papers and other collections.
How do libraries catalog them?
To find out where an individual's papers are located
To get access to a collection
For individual compositions, look up the work in the thematic catalog for the composer; see the Thematic Catalogs tab.
In Advanced Search, enter the person's name as a keyword or author and specify Archival Material as the Format.
Google or other web search engines
Try using the person's name along with one or more of these terms: "papers," "finding aid," "scope," or "scope note" (terms commonly employed in collection descriptions).
IMAPSC: International Music Archives and Primary Source Collections
This service hosted at Brigham Young University aims to be the central resource for finding archival collections related to music, but is not comprehensive at this time.
A guide to music collections in archives, libraries, and museums in the UK and Ireland.
ArchiveGrid attempts to provide a single point of entry to worldwide archival holdings. Scholars can search for and view archival and manuscript collection descriptions, locate relevant research institutions, arrange visits, or request copies from thousands of libraries, museums, and archives.
Catalog of The National Archives of the UK. Lists records pertaining to Britain and British history and held at The National Archive, at other archives and institutions across the UK, and at some archives and institutions abroad.
British Library, Search our Catalogue: Archives and Manuscripts
Search Music Archives and Manuscripts along with other collections. Some older BL catalogues may not yet have been migrated to this database.