TITLE: Music & Brain

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AUTHOR/PROCDUCER: Center for Neurobiology of Learning and Memory University of California at Irvine For more info contact: Norman Weinberger (714)-856-8512 Gordon Shaw (714)-856-6620

Music & Brain offers references to scholarly articles, books, conference proceedings, theses, and preprints on music history, education, psychology, and the physiology of hearing and making music. This database is of use not only to faculty and researchers but also to upper level undergraduates in biology, psychology, and allied health.

Music & Brain resembles grandmother's attic. Treasure abounds amid a great deal of disorder and irrelevant material. The database's SWAIS software is rudimentary. It allows Boolean searching but lacks proximity operators and truncation.

Music & Brain is not as current as most commercially produced databases. Although Gordon Shaw, one of the two database administrators, promises an update soon, he admits that an all volunteer staff adds records sporadically (telephone conversation with Dr. Shaw. March 1, 1994). As of now the database has comparatively few items published after 1991.

The database's coverage of music's effect on human social behavior is weak. Music & Brain lists many articles on neurotransmitters and auditory perception, but few, if any, current entries cover rap lyrics' and violence, heavy metal and suicide, or love songs' psychosocial effects.

Despite these imperfections, I still recommend Music & Brain. There are useful items for almost anyone doing a neurobiology project or studying music as it relates to medicine. A comprehensible help manual is part of the database's introductory menu, and for library's without CD-ROM subscriptions to Medline or Psychlit, free searching with Music & Brain provides a supplement to and a limited substitute for DIALOG's Psychinfo or Medline.

Eileen H. Kramer
Reference Librarian (Science Emphasis)
Utica College
March 4, 1994

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