Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Poster Session Recap: Vanderbilt University's Global Music Archive

Steven Nordstrom, Vanderbilt University

The Global Music Archive ( is a free multi-media reference archive and resource center for traditional and popular song, music, and dance of Africa and the Americas. It is a freely-accessible public facility that promotes education in African and American traditional and popular music through its own activities and by supporting the activities of others. Founded in 2003 by Gregory Barz, Associate Professor of Musicology (Ethnomusicology) at Vanderbilt University, and by Dennis Clark, former director of the Anne Potter Wilson Music Library, the GMA recently launched its first database in a series of databases, the Digital Collection of East African Recordings (DCEAR), which currently consists of over 1,100 discrete musical performances recorded by East African ethnomusicologist Centurio Balikoowa.

The poster session highlighted the process of collection, description and organization, and digital delivery of ethnographic materials through the GMA thus far. The collaboration between Vanderbilt University and Balikoowa has been particularly interesting in regard to developing a working model for managing an organized effort of collecting music recordings, images, and metadata from half a world away. Part of the poster session also showcased the preservation and digital delivery of the materials through the collection’s online database.

The following documents were available at the poster session, and are available for download:

Monday, March 17, 2008

Similar Steps for Differing Formats: Digitizing Rare Media in the University of Tennessee Libraries

Chris Durman, University of Tennessee
Mark Puente, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Important audio or video in outdated formats can languish unused in a music collection unless steps are taken to reformat these materials. It is vital to follow standards to ensure that such materials will remain playable and discoverable to modern day scholars and performers. Two projects undertaken by the University of Tennessee Music Library in 2006-2007 illustrate the procedures and problems encountered in reformatting and archiving materials previously recorded in now obsolete audio and video formats. Composer, instructor, and conductor David Van Vactor donated more than 700 recordings, in a variety of formats, of various ensembles performing his compositions. Instructor and early Suzuki method researcher William Starr likewise donated several videos, filmed by UT researchers, of classes offered by Shin’ichi Suzuki and other early Japanese and American music teachers using the Suzuki Method. While very different in content and format, similar equipment, software, and procedures were used to make these unique materials usable for students today and tomorrow. This poster session discussed the fact that many librarians will already have access to most of the necessary and relatively inexpensive equipment and software, showed the similar digitization procedures, explained where the procedures diverged, and encouraged librarians to consider digitizing their own unique collections.

Friday, March 14, 2008

"Music for Almost Everybody": The Barney Childs Collection

Allison Fox and Verletta Kern, University of Redlands

Born in 1926, Barney Childs was largely a self-taught composer. In the 1950's he had the opportunity to study with Carlos Chavez and Aaron Copland at Tanglewood. He also spent time studying with Elliott Carter in New York. He was co-founder of Advance Recordings and served as an associate editor for Perspectives of New Music. He also served as co-editor, with Elliott Schwartz, of the book Contemporary Composers on Contemporary Music. Childs began his career in the English Department at the University of Arizona. He later served as dean of Deep Springs College and composer-in-residence at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music in Milwaukee. The remainder of his career was spent teaching with Johnston College and the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Redlands. Following his death in the year 2000, a collection of Childs' manuscripts was donated to the University of Redlands. This poster showcased his personal photographs, score manuscripts, and scholarly writings.


Presentation handout

Collection Finding Aid

Poster Session Recap: Creating a Search Portal for Sound Recordings

Here's a brief intro to the poster "Creating a Search Portal for Sound Recordings":

The development of digital collections and technology applications has revolutionized libraries, offering them new opportunities to disseminate metadata about their collections, such as sound recordings. However, as the number of digital sound recording collections increases, it becomes impractical for users to know about and search databases for these recordings at each holding institution. Metadata aggregations have attempted to mitigate these problems; for example, the Sheet Music Consortium has built a Web portal where several collections of sheet music in distributed locations can be accessed. The collaborative “Metadata Infrastructure for Sound Recordings” project was designed to conduct preliminary investigations into whether a similar portal could be developed for sound recordings.

Three digital repositories of sound recordings participated in the development of the project prototype: FolkwaysAlive! at the University of Alberta, Variations2 at Indiana University, and the digital archive of Handel LPs at McGill University.

Here's a pdf of the MLA 2008 poster and the accompanying handout.

Read a more in-depth report on this project, “Metadata Infrastructure for Sound Recordings,” which was presented at ISMIR 2007.

For more information, please contact Jenn Riley of Indiana University, or Ichiro Fujinaga, Joseph Hafner, or Brian McMillan of McGill University.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Poster Session Recap: So Easy...A(ny) Library Can Do it

Sibley Music Library began to digitize public domain music scores and make them freely available on the web in July of 2004. At the time this was merely the end result of a revised preservation workflow. Since then, however, during which time we have digitized over 2600 items, we have unwittingly become part of a worldwide community of musicians and scholars who use these resources daily in their performance, teaching, and scholarship. We are now experiencing up to 2000 downloads a day from people who discover our digital music collection. Click here for a more detailed description of what we're doing.

We were able to accomplish this without any additional staffing or funding, just the addition of a sheetfeed scanner into our long-established conservation workflows. By utilizing the University's Digital Repository, we have also served to raise its presence (our downloads account for 80% of the Repository's total). This Poster Session showed exactly what our equipment and workflows are, and how other libraries can adapt their existing preservation workflows in a similar way.

Here are some pictures of the event:

The handout that we had can be found here, and a pdf of the poster itself can be found here. Our thanks to Amy Harrell for hosting the pdfs. For more information, you can contact Jim Farrington, Alice Carli, or Linda Blair.