Music Discovery Requirements

This is the 2012 MDR. For current recommendations consult the Music Discovery Requirements 2.


The first edition of the Music Discovery Requirements was released in May 2012 with the endorsement of the Music Library Association (MLA) Board of Directors and is available below.


Links to the document and appendixes

  • Music Discovery Requirements (google doc) If you comment while logged into a Google account or you add your name to your comment, we will be able to follow up with you directly for any needed clarification, etc.
  • Music Discovery Requirements (pdf)
  • Appendix A. Compiled Details of Indexing and Display Requirements (Bibliographic/Descriptive): Tag Focused version (spreadsheet)
  • Appendix B. MARC Bibliographic Record Mapping for Content and Carrier (spreadsheet)
  • Appendix C. Format of Notated Music History (spreadsheet)
  • Maintenance Plan

The Music Discovery Requirements Update Task Force, formed at the request of MLA’s Emerging Technologies and Services Committee (ETSC) and Cataloging and Metadata Committee (CMC) is charged to: Update the Music Discovery Requirements, with particular focus on: RDA updates; MARC updates; incorporating LCGFT and LCMPT, and updating appendices B & C (appendix A will be dropped.) Strongly consider creating an HTML version, and evaluate whether a pdf version needs to be retained. Set a mechanism in place for ongoing revisions to the MDR.


Music Discovery Requirements Update Task Force

Nara Newcomer, University of Missouri-Kansas City, Chair

Anna Alfeld LoPrete, Indiana University

Rebecca Belford, Brown University

Christopher Holden, Library of Congress

Keith Knop, University of Georgia

Nancy Lorimer, Stanford University

Karen Peters, Bates College

Patricia Sasser, Furman University, webmaster



Music Discovery Requirements 1


Links to the document and appendixes


Music materials, particularly scores and recordings, pose unique demands that must be considered for successful discovery. Some of the unique needs posed by music materials can be addressed simply by ensuring that needed fields are appropriately displayed and indexed in discovery interfaces. Other problems are more difficult to solve. This document discusses the issues and when possible gives concrete recommendations for discovery interfaces. Given that most libraries will be dealing with large bodies of legacy data recorded according to AACR2 and encoded in MARC, particular attention is paid to MARC data and to AACR2, as well as issues related to RDA. These recommendations will be useful to those creating or guiding the development of discovery interfaces that will include music materials. Furthermore, because the document identifies areas where deficient data creates particular problems for discovery, those inputting or creating standards for data can use this document to identify areas where there is particular need for fuller, more consistent data.

Three appendixes compile technical details of the specific indexing recommendations in spreadsheets. The appendixes should be used in conjunction with the full document, particularly because in some cases multiple options are given for addressing discovery needs, and the extended discussion is contained in the document proper. The spreadsheets are not exhaustive mapping documents; their scope is the same as the document: areas which are music-specific or particularly important for music.


Music Discovery Requirements Document group members (MDR 1, 2012)

Nara Newcomer (leader), University of Missouri, Kansas City
Rebecca Belford, University at Buffalo
Deb Kulczak, University of Arkansas
Jennifer Matthews, University of Notre Dame
Misti Shaw, Depauw University
Kimmy Szeto, Maritime College, State University of New York

Last edited July 7, 2017
Send comments or questions about this website to Patricia Sasser
Send content related questions about the documents to Nara Newcomer


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About MLA

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.