Sunday, October 10, 2004


The Maine music box: a pilot project to create a digital music library

Marilyn Lutz
The Authors

Marilyn Lutz, Director for Library Information Technology Planning at the University of Maine, Orono, Maine, USA


The Maine Music Box (MMB) is an interactive, multimedia digital music library that enables users to view images of sheet music, scores and cover art play back audio and video renditions, and manipulate the arrangement of selected pieces by changing the key and instrumentation. .. The impetus for the endeavor is a unique collaborative effort within and among diverse institutions and individuals. The project demonstrates how the collections of one library can be enriched with the tools of information technologies from another library, and the resulting digital collection and services made available to support and advance the broad education mission of libraries.

Building on [a] history of collaboration and common vision, the Maine Music Box ... seeks to explore the feasibility of and obstacles to combining collections, digital library infrastructure, and technical and pedagogical expertise from different institutions to implement a digital music library and integrate it into Maine's classrooms. The joint effort has brought together individuals with widely varying backgrounds....

In the winter of 2001 preliminary discussions took place between Fogler Library and the Bagaduce Music Lending Library, a unique, non-profit organization that houses a collection of over 400,000 pieces of sheet music, scores, and printed music that the library lends to professional musicians and educational institutions. Of concern to the Bagaduce Board was providing broader access to their rapidly expanding collections and creating archival copies of fragile and deteriorating paper sheet music and scores. For a small organization like the Bagaduce Library, the digitization of parts of the collection was impossible without outside fiscal and technical assistance. Fogler Library wanted to leverage its investment over the past decade in information technology infrastructure and expand its experience in the digitization of text, image and audio collections by supporting access to significant music collections in Maine.

Fogler Library proposed undertaking a digitization project, using off-the-shelf software, to deliver a digital music library and instruction tool with the Bagaduce and Bangor Libraries' collections of sheet music, scores and manuscripts that would be hosted by Fogler's technology infrastructure and technical staff, thereby broadening access and increasing the scholarly value of the collections. Through digitization, musicians, scholars, educators, students, and the general public would be able to search textual data and retrieve images of scores or sheet music and cover art, link to the full text of lyrics, hear selected-computer generated sound files, and link to other digital versions of a piece. The system interface, which manages the delivery of the images combined with the customizable options for the associated sound files, would enable instructors to integrate the digital music library in teaching and learning. Preservation copies would be created and delivered to the partner libraries. The archive would also be accessible through a Web-based instructional channel integrated with the music database.

The Bagaduce staff selected four collections of music scores, manuscripts and sheet music, totaling 22,641 titles or 114,517 pages, for digitization and inclusion in the pilot project... The Bangor Public Library contributed one collection. The condition of the original materials, their historical importance, and the need to preserve and broaden access to them through digital conversion were primary considerations. ..

[T]he project cataloger... adds subject headings and performs authority verification (Library of Congress Authorities, Library of Congress Subject Headings, Art and Architecture Thesaurus, and the Library of Congress Thesaurus of Graphic Materials), adds local thesaurus terms provided by Bagaduce staff, and further enhances the records as necessary according to AACR2 rev. Chapter 5 Music. ...

Library Hi Tech
Volume 22 Number 3 2004 pp. 283-294
Copyright © MCB University Press ISSN 0737-8831

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