Music Discovery Requirements

II.C Musical Works: Identifying Numbers

Opus, thematic index, and serial numbers are frequently used in Western art music to identify musical works. Ideally, systems will exploit authority record data to easily lead users between different systems of numbering for composers (e.g. Vivaldi, D. Scarlatti) where multiple work number systems exist.

In many cases musical works lack a distinctive title and are titled only with a type of musical composition, such as “symphony.” These works are often identified by the sequential number of works of that type by a given composer. These serial numbers depend on the association of the type with the number for meaning, and must display and function together. See IV.E for special phrase searching considerations surrounding the English “no.” (as in “Symphony no. 5”) in systems which treat it as a Boolean “NOT” operator.

Keyword searching by opus, thematic, and serial numbers can be particularly problematic because of abbreviations used frequently in library cataloging and to varying degrees in the broader world. For example:

      no., number, Nr., Nummer

      op., opus

      BWV, S, Schmieder (for J.S. Bach)

      K, KV, Köchel (for W.A. Mozart)

It is difficult for uninformed library users to predict which term will appear in the data. Various solutions are possible:

      Automatically include alternate possibilities; however, care is needed when some of the possibilities are actual words (like “no” which additionally may be a stop word) or single letters (like “S”), because this could greatly decrease precision. Make the adjustment transparent, to match expectations created by common search engines (“showing results for Y, search instead for X”).

      Program the interface to use “did you mean” when the user’s search contains a non-preferred term. (A user types “opus 18” and the interface delivers results for “opus 18” but with a message “did you mean op. 18?”.)

      Integrate search tips instructing users to include only the numeral in keyword searches for work numbers. (“Numeral only; omit op., BWV, etc.)

Other numbers are associated with expressions and manifestations, and are discussed in III.C.

Recommendation: Index and display opus, thematic index, and serial numbers. Utilize system algorithms to include in indexing all numbers in a consecutive range where only first and last numbers are recorded. Consider the interface and available screen real estate in the decision whether to include them in facets. Ensure that serial numbers are associated with the type of composition. Evaluate best way to address the numerous abbreviations often associated with opus, thematic index, and serial numbers.

Index and display (Bibliographic/Descriptive Metadata):

MARC: 130 $n; 240 $n; 700 $n; 730 $n Number of part/section of a work, including work numbers for music materials.

MARC: 383 $a$b$c$d$e Numeric Designation of Musical Work

Dublin Core: identifier

EBUCore: partNumber

MODS: identifier

PBCore: no field defined for musical work identifying numbers; pbcoreIdentifier is more likely to refer to a show, segment, or recorded performance than the musical work itself

BIBFRAME 2.0: Classes: bf:Iswc; Properties: bf:musicOpusNumber, bf:musicSerialNumber, bf:musicThematicNumber, bf:partNumber

Facets/Limits (Bibliographic/Descriptive Metadata):

Work numbers do not function well for pre-search limits. They could be used for post-search facets, but in situations where real estate is limited for post-search facets, they can be difficult to employ and may be best omitted as facets.

Related MARC Authority Fields:

MARC: 100 $n; 130 $n; 383 $a$b$c$d$e

Related MADS/RDF Authority Fields:

MADS/RDF: madsrdf:PartNumberElement, madsrdf:elementValue