Advocacy for Music Library Services, 2014
Moderator(s): Paul A. Cary
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Welcome message - please read! Locked Topic 1 P. Cary Please note that while anyone can read posts, only signed-in MLA members can contribute to the discussion. Please feel free to contact me with any questions.
by P. Cary
Wednesday, September 3, 2014
Framing the issue 0 P. Cary Most MLA members would probably agree that the services that a music library provides (through its staff) are essential to a good education in music (and beyond). Unfortunately, not everyone sees it that way, and periodically, one music library or another may be threatened with great change or even closure. Such threats may be brought about by budgetary pressures, changes in administration, or nowadays by the perception that music libraries are unnecessary in today's networked world.MLA will be commissioning a white paper to address some of these issues. This forum is designed to gather ideas for that paper. What would you like to see in such a paper? What would help music librarians whose libraries are faced with existential crises? How should the issues be framed? Should MLA advocate for separate branch music libraries or just for the collections and services we see as important, regardless of how (or where) they are provided? What, specifically, are those collections and services? Are facts and figures most helpful in such a report? Testimonials? Reasoned arguments?MLA needs your input! Please post topics, and comment on others' suggestions. If you need help with using the forum, see this document.You may want to review the final report of the Branch Libraries Task Force, from 2012. It has several case studies of threatened music libraries, questions to ask if your library is threatened, a bibliography, and a recommendation for MLA. Indeed, this forum stems, in part, from that recommendation and from MLA's Strategic Plan.We look forward to the discussion.Paul Cary (for the MLA Board)
by P. Cary
Tuesday, September 2, 2014
music catalog data--creating it and using it 0 T. Snyder 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.) 
by T. Snyder
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Requirements for Cataloging Music 0 B. Iseminger This list was created with the cataloging needs of a large research music library in mind.  It would be possible to use this as the basis for a general "requirements for music cataloging" list as well.To catalog music, a cataloger must be able to do the following:Tasks requiring musical knowledge:Read music.Read various musical clefs (treble, bass, tenor, alto)Recognize different types of notation (including neumatic notation; graphic notation; solmization; chord symbols; and tablature)Identify the musical key, form, genre, and instrumentation of all works.For sound recordings, be able to listen and compare performed works to printed music in thematic catalogs, complete works of a composer, or other scores in various formats from the collection, in order to identify the works or portions of works on the recording accurately.  Note: this requires access to the physical scores collection, along with the ability to play back various types of recordings.Know what an arrangement is: a musical work or a portion of a musical work, rewritten for a medium of performance different from the original.Know that different types of scores represent different types of arrangements: condensed score (score intended for conducting where the parts are reduced to a minimum number of staves); close score (typically used for hymn books); vocal score; piano score (orchestral score reduced to a version for piano); chorus score (like a vocal score, except that the music where the chorus does not sing is omitted.)Be familiar with music history and theory.Know forms, genres, and instruments corresponding to specific time periods and/or locations.  For example, know that “continuo” is a 17th-18th  century medium of performance which may mean one or more specific instruments, and may or may not be written in figured bass.Be familiar with ethnomusicology and be able to identify world music genres and instruments.Be able to discern the important information for ethnomusicological resources. Tasks requiring bibliographic knowledge:Identify editions of printed music.Use reference sources such as thematic catalogs, publishers’ catalogs, and complete works in order to correctly identify musical works, and to identify first or early editions of music if the library collects such materials.Identify or verify a musical work and create or verify its authorized access point.Know how to use a thematic catalog and a composer’s collected works to identify works that have been incorrectly or incompletely attributed.Know which additional sources to use to identify musical works and construct authorized access points, including biographical dictionaries such as the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart,  national music encyclopedias from various countries, and RISM (Répertoire International des Sources Musicales). Note: Of all these sources, only New Grove and a small part of RISM are currently online.Determine if a work is in its original form or is an arrangement, and know how to identify and describe arrangements correctly.Know when a work has been changed enough to become a new work (new authorized access point) and when it is simply arranged (original authorized access point + arranged)Know how to use reference sources to identify the original title, key, date, and medium of performance of a work.Be able to distinguish non-western musical notation from non-Roman text. 
by B. Iseminger
Saturday, September 13, 2014

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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.