Archive for the 'News' Category


Announcing The Music Treasures Consortium

Monday, April 4th, 2011

The Music Treasures Consortium proudly announces a new site designed to give access to selected music manuscripts and printed editions from six institutions in the United States and United Kingdom. The site is hosted by the Library of Congress on its Performing Arts Encyclopedia, and is available at:

(The scores pictured in this post represent a tiny fraction of the items available on the Music Treasures Consortium site; click any thumbnail to view the uncropped images.)

The Consortium’s goal is to further music scholarship and research by providing access in one place to digital images of primary sources for the performance and study of music. Two examples may help to demonstrate the connections researchers can make through the site:

In this initial launch, online items range from the 13th century – the British Library’s manuscript Harley 978, Musical, medical and literary miscellany, including ‘Sumer is icumen in'[…] – to the 20th, by composers including Johann Sebastian Bach, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Richard Wagner, Claude Debussy, Georges Bizet, Arnold Schoenberg. The site will continue to grow as Consortium members add more items.

Read more about Harvard’s contributions to the Music Treasures Consortium in this Harvard College Library News article.

Members of the Consortium include:

Initial planning for the Consortium was funded by Bruce Kovner. The MTC Advisory Board includes Christoph Wolff, Jeffrey Kallberg, Philip Gossett, and Laurent Pugin.

-Kerry Masteller


Explore, Cite, and Print: Page Delivery Service Updates (December 2010)

Monday, December 20th, 2010

The latest release of Harvard’s Page Delivery Service (PDS) – the system through which we share our digital scores with the world – is live, and there are a few enhancements to share with you.

We spend a lot of time writing a structural outline for every score we digitize, to make it easier to find works, movements, scenes, and even single arias. While we’ll keep adding that full indexing, it’s now possible to navigate using thumbnail images of each page, as well: when you’re looking at a digitized book or score, click “Expand All,” then “Show Thumbnails” in the left-side navigation frame. This might be an interesting way to get a simple visual overview of a work’s structure, and I have to admit that for some scores, it’s just fun; take a look at the thumbnails for this copy of Debussy’s La Boîte à Joujoux: Ballet pour Enfants, and I think you’ll see what I mean.

The next addition is a “Cite this Resource” button: click this to get descriptions and persistent links for both the entire score and the single page you’re looking at. These aren’t perfectly-formatted citations, but they gather a lot of the information you’ll need in a bibliography or caption. Here’s a screenshot, using a page from La Boîte à Joujoux as an example:

Screenshot, PDS Cite This Resource Tool
Screenshot: PDS "Cite This Resource" Tool (click to enlarge)

And finally, the full print-to-PDF option is back! Requests for 10 or fewer pages are delivered in real time; if you request more than 10 pages, you’ll be sent a link to the PDF once it’s been processed (those links remain available for 7 days).

Ready to start exploring? Digital Scores and Libretti is, of course, my favorite, but check out other Digital Collections of Harvard College Library and Web-Accessible Collections at Harvard University for photographs, pamphlets, manuscripts, books, maps, and other rare materials ranging from Digital Papyri to Latin American Pamphlets.

– Kerry Masteller


Restructured and Renewed: Online Resources for Music Scholars

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

Screenshot, Online Resources for Music Scholars
Online Resources for Music Scholars

We are delighted to announce a major revision to the Music Library’s largest and oldest research guide, Online Resources for Music Scholars.

Online Resources for Music Scholars provides a basis for beginning electronic research on a wide variety of topics in music, including historical musicology, ethnomusicology, music theory, composition, and performance practice. It collects links to archival collections, online scores and sound recordings; article indexes, discographies and bibliographies; scholarly societies; musical reference works; and a miscellany of useful websites.

This redesign moves the guide from a flat, hierarchical listing of links to a tagged, searchable database. Every link is annotated and assigned tags indicating both the subject (e.g. ethnomusicology, manuscripts, Aaron Copland, popular music) and resource type (e.g. digital score, discography, image collection, streaming audio). The new version reflects that different people organize information in different ways: one person may want to see a list of sites with online scores; another may want to see everything related to Bach; another may want links to sites about music theory; another may be looking for sites devoted to music in Africa. We hope the guide’s renaissance makes it a better, easier to use resource for researchers with varied goals and levels of musical experience.

Screenshot, Tag Cloud, Online Resources for Music Scholars
Tag Cloud, Online Resources for Music Scholars

Online Resources for Music Scholars has been online since (at least) the mid-1990s: our oldest archived version dates to 1999. Site statistics regularly place various sections in the top 10-20 most frequently-used research guides on the Harvard College Library website. When it was created, it was reasonable for one library to attempt to describe the entire universe of scholarly resources in music on one webpage, and to do so in a hierarchical, rigidly organized way that replicated the experience of browsing a physical bookshelf.

The internet doesn’t work like that anymore.

With the proliferation of digital collections, online multimedia, and web resources of all kinds, one eresource quite commonly includes many kinds of information: digitized scores, recordings, correspondence, and images; reference sources like thematic catalogs; performance histories and biographical information; bibliographies, discographies, and library catalogs. The website of the Arnold Schönberg Center, for example, is not just a source for information about the world’s premier Schoenberg archive; it also includes hundreds of manuscript facsimiles, streaming recordings, and other research materials.

We recognize that Online Resources for Music Scholars is a work in progress, and we very much appreciate your comments and suggestions.

– Kerry Masteller


New: bX Article Recommendation Service

Thursday, June 17th, 2010
The 800s by random letters, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License  by  random letters 

One of the things we hear from library users all the time is how much they enjoy browsing through the stacks for articles related to their research interests. It’s hard to replicate that experience of serendipitous discovery with online journals – though there are a variety of online table of contents services, like JISC’s Journal TOCs – but we’ve just implemented a new scholarly article recommendation service called bX that may help.

It’s built onto the Find It system we already use to connect you to full-text links; when you click the purple Find It button (Find It @ Harvard) in any eresource or enter an article citation into the Citation Linker, you’ll still get the familiar links to the item you’re looking for, but below that you’ll see a list of related articles that might also interest you.

So what does that look like?

bX aggregates and analyzes article usage data to find connections between articles; here’s an example, using Margaret Kartomi’s “The Classification of Musical Instruments: Changing Trends in Research from the Late Nineteenth Century, with Special Reference to the 1990s” (Ethnomusicology 45, (2001): 283-314):

Why doesn’t bX always give recommendations?

bX requires an article title; additional information is required in Citation Linker, but a citation without the article title will never display recommendations. And since those recommendations are based on aggregated data, an article that has been used less frequently may not have enough usage information associated with it to give you related results.

In my experiments with bX this morning, I’ve found that I get different results when I include the subtitles of articles in my searches through Citation Linker; if you’re using this to look for recommendations, you might want to try your searches twice: once with just the first portion of the title, and once with the full title and subtitle of the article.

Give it a try, and let us know what you think! You can submit questions and comments using the Find It Questions and Comments page.

– Kerry Masteller


Now Playing: Naxos Travels, Too

Friday, April 9th, 2010
iPod Touch 2 by dontmindme, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License by  dontmindme

For the iPod Touch, iPhone, and iPad users among you: the (free) streaming Naxos Music Library app.* Browse the entire Naxos database – 41,000 recordings and counting – or stream your own playlists to get you through the day. You’d rather listen to jazz? Then the Naxos Jazz Library app is for you.

To create playlists, you’ll need to register on the main Naxos site; just click “Playlists,” then “Sign Up,” and fill out a short form. Don’t worry: it’s still free, and you won’t start getting advertising email. The Naxos YouTube Channel has more tips about making and organizing playlists.

Check out the Naxos Music Library blog for a detailed tour of the app, and happy listening!

UPDATE: Using an Android phone? Search the Android Market for “Naxos Music Library” to download your version of the app, or use this QR code:

Naxos Android App QR Code

* Disclaimer: you do need to be a Harvard affiliate to use our subscription to Naxos. If you’re not, may I suggest Pandora Mobile as an alternative?

-Kerry Masteller