Finding a particular work in these large collected editions can be daunting. Sometimes a Keyword search in the library's catalog may locate it for you, but that depends on which set it is in. For many collected works, the easiest way to get a volume number is to look in Grove Music Online.
To locate individual items in a collected works set using Grove, first select the "Works" tab under the entry for the composer (for example, Bach).
Collected editions for that composer will be listed at the top of the page. Note the abbreviation in brackets at the end of each listing. Each abbreviation stands for a collected set or other reference work. In this case, there are two collected sets, shown as BG and NBA.
Find the piece you are looking for in the works list. The right-hand columns will tell you where in the composer's collected works you can find that piece.
It can also be useful to refer to the following print resources to identify a collected edition.
- A.H. Heyer: Historical Sets, Collected Editions, and Monuments of Music: a Guide to their Contents (Chicago, 1957, 3/1980) ML113 .H52 1980 (Reference)
- G.R. Hill and N.L. Stephens: Collected Editions, Historical Series, & Sets & Monuments of Music: a Bibliography (Berkeley, 1997)
- Hill will tell you whether a collected edition exists, but doesn't provide volume contents listings. It's generally more helpful for Monuments of Music.