music catalog data--creating it and using it
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9/16/2014 at 5:01:05 PM GMT
Posts: 1
music catalog data--creating it and using it

Sorry this is a day late…


Just to piggyback on the BCC’s consolidated comments about the specialized knowledge required of music catalogers, here are some thoughts on what happens with music catalog data after we create it. Much catalog data for music is necessarily complex, just due to the nature of the content and the resources (in various formats) that embody that content. Music librarians who work directly with researchers need to have specialized knowledge in order to navigate this data and instruct researchers on various types of searches. Some of the most effective types of searches for music materials are precise, targeted searches that make extensive use of controlled vocabularies (headings for composers, performers, musical works, subjects/genres, etc.) and format specifications. These types of searches tend to be more necessary in music research than in many other disciplines. Many of us do work at the intersection of catalog creation and catalog navigation/instruction, serving on committees that evaluate, implement, design, and refine discovery tools. We advocate for music researchers and the specialized searches they need to be able to perform, and we elucidate the mysteries of MARC (and non-MARC) music data for our colleagues who work in areas outside of music. In the process of setting up search systems that accommodate music materials, with all their complexities, we create an ideal environment for the discovery of other types of materials. (I would like to draw special attention to the Music Discovery Requirements, a document which has been very valuable for me, and probably for many others, in this work.) 


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The Music Library Association is the professional association for music libraries and librarianship in the United States. Founded in 1931, it has an international membership of librarians, musicians, scholars, educators, and members of the book and music trades. Complementing the Association’s national and international activities are eleven regional chapters that carry out its programs on the local level.