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Digital media reviews.

19th Century American Sheet Music Digitization Project [UNC]. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 7 September 2000. http://www.lib.unc.edu/music/eam.html

19th-Century California Sheet Music [UCB]. Designed and managed by Mary Kay Duggan. University of California, Berkeley, 2000. http://www.sims.berkeley.edu/~mkduggan/neh.html

African-American Sheet Music, 1850-1920: Selected from the Collections of Brown University [LC-Brown]. Library of Congress, 10 September 1999. http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/award97/rpbhtml/

Charles H. Templeton Sheet Music Collection [MSU]. Mississippi State University, 2 January 2001. http://library.msstate.edu/ragtime/

Florida Sheet Music Collection [USF]. University of South Florida, 2001. http://www.lib.usf.edu/spccoll/index2.html?f=guide-11327

Historic American Sheet Music [Duke]. Duke University, 1999. http://scriptorium.lib.duke.edu/sheetmusic/

Historic American Sheet Music, 1850-1920: Selected from the Collections of Duke University [LC-Duke]. Library of Congress, 3 May 1999. http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/award97/ncdhtml/

Inventions of Note Sheet Music Collection [MIT]. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 24 June 2001. http://libraries.mit.edu/music/sheetmusic/

Keffer Collection of Sheet Music, ca. 1790-1895 [Penn]. "Focus on Philadelphia." Content and design by John Bewley. University of Pennsylvania, 13 May 1998. http://www.library.upenn.edu/special/keffer/

Music for the Nation: American Sheet Music, 1870-1885 [LC-Nation]. Library of Congress, 13 September 1999. http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/smhtml/

Lester S. Levy Collection of Sheet Music [JHU]. Johns Hopkins University, June 2001. http://levysheetmusic.mse.jhu.edu./

[Music portion of] Performing Arts in America, 1875-1923 [NYPL]. New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, 2001. http://dlc.nypl.org/lpa/nypl/home.html

Popular American Music Digital Archive [UCLA]. University of California, Los Angeles, 2001. http://digital.library.ucla.edu/sheetmusic/

Sam DeVincent Collection of Illustrated American Sheet Music, ca. 1790-1980 [SI]. Smithsonian Institution, 5 January 2000. http://americanhistory.si.edu/archives/d5300.htm

"We'll Sing to Abe Our Song!": Sheet Music about Lincoln, Emancipation, and the Civil War, from the Alfred Whital Stern Collection of Lincolniana [LC-Lincoln]. Library of Congress, 25 August, 1999. http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/scsmhtml/

This review attempts to assimilate the content and style of fifteen Web sites that contain databases of American sheet music. A discussion of the methodology, selection of sites, and definitions of categories used in the tables below precedes a narrative comparison of Web site features. Web sites are cited using the abbreviations given in brackets in the citations above. All sites were last accessed on 10 January 2002.

In this review I originally intended to discuss popular music databases more generally, but a number of reasons led me to concentrate on American sheet music. Many sheet music collections in both public and private libraries focus on popular music, and their title pages and covers are often graced by images relating to popular culture. Sheet music has a popular appeal to researchers in art, dance, theater, music, history, sociology, fashion, and other disciplines. Despite the interdisciplinary nature and potential usefulness of these resources, however, much sheet music in American libraries remains uncataloged. Savvy librarians across the country have taken advantage of emerging technologies by mounting Web versions of sheet music databases in recent years. The nature of such sites continues to evolve as their number increases.

The Music Library Association's Sheet Music Collections page (www.lib.duke.edu/music/sheetmusic/collections.html), prepared by Lois Schultz of Duke University, provides an excellent starting point for research. It contains brief scope notes for and links to approximately forty-five collections. Examination of those databases with Web presences reveals a variety of content and styles. The resulting evaluative checklist proved unwieldy, so this review focuses on databases that include images of sheet music. Table 1 identifies the main features of each site, with definitions of the categories in table 2. Table 3 details aspects relating to the digitization process, with definitions of the categories in table 4. Table 5 lists sites that are not reviewed because they lack images; these are significant databases, nonetheless, that merit further examination.

The reader should note that the Historic American Sheet Music database, which resides at Duke University, is shared by two sites with different display and search capabilities: one in the American Memory project at the Library of Congress (LC-Duke and the other at Duke. (See also Judy Tsou's review of the American Memory project [Notes 57, no. 2 (December 2000): 453-57], and Patricia Elliot Stroh's review of the Digital Scriptorium [Notes 56, no. 4 (June 2000): 1003-5.]) The differences between their interfaces are considered later in this article. This review therefore covers a total of fifteen Web sites but only fourteen distinct databases.

Only those portions of the NYPL and Penn sites that include scores and images are covered here, and discussion of the NYPL site is confined to items in sheet music format. Review of the Penn site emphasizes the "Focus on Philadelphia" segment.
TABLE 1

Bibliographic elements of selected sheet music databases with images

Citation Title Size Titles
 digitized


Duke Historic American 3,042 3,042
 Sheet Music

JHU Levy Collection 29.000 29,000

LC-Brown African-American 1,305 1,305
 Sheet Music

LC-Duke Historic American 3,042 3,042
 Sheet Music

LC-Lincoln "Wel'll Sing to Abe 200 + 200 +
 Our Song!"

LC-Nation Music for the Nation 47,000 + 47,000 +


MIT Inventions of Note 50 50



MSU Templeton Collection 134 134

NYPL (1) Performing Arts in 671 671
 America (Music)

Penn (2) Keffer Collection 200 110
 (Philadelphia)

SI DeVincent Collection I finding aid 124
 for over 18,00
 items

UCB 19th-Century California 2,000 2,000
 Sheet Music



UCLA Popular American Music 160 160


UNC 19th Century American 2,250 1,200
 Sheet Music

USF Florida Collection 210 200



Citation Bulk dates Text fields



Duke 1850-1920 variable


JHU 1780-1960 variable

LC-Brown 1850-1920 variable


LC-Duke 1850-1920 variable


LC-Lincoln 1859-1909 variable


LC-Nation 1870-1885 variable


MIT 1890-1920 6



MSU 1890-1920 n/a

NYPL (1) 1875-1923 variable


Penn (2) 1790-1895 3-5 (variable
 in RLIN)

SI 1800-1980 n/a



UCB 1852-1900 variable




UCLA 1905-1924 variable


UNC 1803-1889 variable


USF 1890-1969 5



Citation Browse Search First line

 verse

Duke subjects, decades, illustrations, * *
 ads, title pages

JHU subjects * *

LC-Brown subjects, names, titles, title page * *


LC-Duke subjects, names * *


LC-Lincoln subjects, names, titles, publishers * *


LC-Nation subjects, names, titles *


MIT title pages



MSU title pages

NYPL (1) subjects, names, titles, formats * *


Penn (2) subjects, composers, artists, *
 publishers

SI subjects, selected names, titles



UCB image subjects, music subjects * *




UCLA titles, creators, publishers, dates * *


UNC composers/titles, "Table of volumes
 indexed"

USF titles, names, subjects, title page * *



Citation First line Subject or genre
 analysis
 chorus music images

Duke * * *


JHU * *

LC-Brown * * *


LC-Duke * * *


LC-Lincoln * *


LC-Nation *


MIT



MSU

NYPL (1) * * *


Penn (2)


SI



UCB * * *




UCLA *


UNC


USF



Citation Other features Project
 complete


Duke special presentations, biblio- *
 graphy, glossary, help

JHU help *

LC-Brown special presentation, bibliography, *
 help

LC-Duke special presentation, bibliography, *
 help

LC-Lincoln lyrics transcribed, bibliography, *
 help

LC-Nation audio files, special presentations, *
 bibliography, help

MIT audio files, external links with
 subject access for ca. 230 items,
 help

MSU audio files, special presentations

NYPL (1) help, save file ("My Gallery"), *
 links to full catalog records

Penn (2) bibliography, help *


SI



UCB audio & video files, special *
 presentations, bibliography, help,
 two search forms, records contain
 links to external sources

UCLA lyrics transcribed, save file
 ("Music stand")

UNC


USF help



Citation Comments



Duke


JHU

LC-Brown part of American Memory


LC-Duke part of American Memory


LC-Lincoln part of American Memory


LC-Nation part of American Memory


MIT



MSU total collections, 22,000 items

NYPL (1) total performing arts collections,
 16,000 objects, cataloged on RLIN

Penn (2) total Keffer collection, 2,531
 items, cataloged on RLIN

SI total collection, 130,000 items,
 1790-1980


UCB some pages lack navigatoin keys




UCLA total collection contains ca.
 450,000 items

UNC image links available only from
 "Table of volumes indexed"

USF interior pages for pre-1923
 imprints to be mounted, advanced
 keyword searches produce errors

(1)Review covers only that portio of the database that includes music.

(2)Review covers only that portio of the database that includes images
("Focus on Philadelphia").


TABLE 2. Definitions of categories used in table 1

Citation: Abbreviation for the institution that maintains the Web site.

Title: Title of home page of the Web site.

Size: Number of records or objects in the database.

Titles digitized: Approximate number of titles that include digital reproductions of sheet music.

Bulk dates: Approximate range of publication dates for the bulk of a collection.

Text fields: Number of text fields in a bibliographic record.

Browse: Bibliographic fields or objects for which the Web site provides a browsing function.

Search: Web site provides keyword searching of database.

First line: First line of verse and/or chorus is indexed.

Subject or genre analysis: Bibliographic records include subject and/or genre headings for music and/or images represented.

Other features: Features not covered in the other categories. The phrase "special presentation," which is explicitly used in the American Memory site, refers, in this review, more generally to additional relevant information on the Web site, such as essays, timelines, multimedia presentations, etc.

Project complete: The project is stated to have been completed. The exact dates of creation and completion of databases are usually undocumented.

Comments: Editorial comments about the content or style of the Web site or the collection(s) it represents.
TABLE 3

Elements relating to digitization in selected sheet music databases with
images

Citation File types Colors
 GIF JPEG PDF TIFF many

Duke * *

JHU * *



LC-Brown * *

LC-Duke * *

LC-Lincoln * * * *

LC-Nation * * *


MIT * * *

MSU * * *

NYPL * *


Penn * * *

SI * *

UCB * *


UCLA * * *






UNC * * *

USF * *

Citation Colors Thumbnails Other resolutions Gallery
 b&w view

Duke * * 2 title pages, 3 music *

JHU * * 1 *



LC-Brown * 3 *

LC-Duke * * 2 title pages, 3 music *

LC-Lincoln * * variable (1) *

LC-Nation * variable (1) *


MIT * * variable

MSU * * variable *

NYPL * * 1 *


Penn * 1

SI 1

UCB * * 2


UCLA * * variable *






UNC * 1 *

USF * 1 *

Citation Title Music Ads Documentation
 pages on Web site

Duke * * * *

JHU * *



LC-Brown * * * *

LC-Duke * * * *

LC-Lincoln * * * *

LC-Nation * * * *


MIT * * *

MSU * * * *

NYPL * * *


Penn *

SI *

UCB * * *


UCLA * *






UNC * *

USF

Citation Comments


Duke

JHU Only title page images
 for [C] items, several
 broken image links

LC-Brown

LC-Duke

LC-Lincoln

LC-Nation images scanned from
 microfilm

MIT

MSU several broken image links

NYPL gallery view is use-
 generated save file

Penn several parital image

SI several incomplete images

UCB variant title pages grouped
 together on same page

UCLA variant title pages grouped
 together on same page,
 gallery view is user-
 generated
 save file, several broken
 image links

UNC

USF

(1)TIFF scalability viewer must be used for variable resolutions, e.g.,
Docuview, ViewDirector Prizm Plug-in for Netscape, or ThumbsPlus.


TABLE 4. Definitions of categories used in table 3

File types: Graphics file formats used, e.g., GIF (Graphics Interchange Format), JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group), PDF (Portable Document Format), and TIFF (Tagged Information File Format).

Colors: Reproductions are either in "many" colors and/or "b&w" (black-and-white or grayscale).

Thumbnails: Some or all of the sheet music in the database is represented by thumbnail (small-scale) images. These usually indicate that a Web site contains other, more legible images for the same work.

Other resolutions: The number of additional image resolutions or sizes.

Gallery view: The Web site provides the ability to browse or create pages of thumbnail images without textual information. A number of adjacent images on a single page resemble an art gallery.

Title pages, Music, Ads: Title pages, music content, and separate pages of advertising have been digitized and are available on the site. Although the "title pages" category includes covers and caption titles, the majority of sheet music publications have illustrated title pages, which most Web sites designate "covers."

Documentation on Web site: Web site provides documentation about digitization procedures.

Comments: Editorial remarks relating to the digitization elements for specific collections.
TABLE 5

Sheet music databases without images

Source Title

Duke University, Rare Book, Sheet Music Index
Manuscript, and Special Collection
Library


Harry Fox Agnecy & National Music SongFile
Publishers' Association




Los Angeles Public Library, Song Index
Central Library

Middle Tennessee State University, Sheet Music Database
Center for Popular Music

University of North Texas, Special Collections
Music Library



University of Tennessee, UTK Song Index
Knoxville, DeVine Music Library

University of Wisconsin, Madison, Catalog of the Americana
Mills Music Library Collection


University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin Sheet Music
Mills Music Library Database



Washington University at St. Supplementary Catalog
Louis, Gaylord Music Library

Source URL

Duke University, Rare Book, http://www.lib.duke.edu/music/
Manuscript, and Special Collection smi.html
Library


Harry Fox Agnecy & National Music http://www.songfile.com/
Publishers' Association




Los Angeles Public Library, http://pubindex.lapl.org/pages/

Central Library allsong.htm

Middle Tennessee State University, http://popmusic.mtsu.edu/
Center for Popular Music dbtw-wpd/textbase/musicbrf.htm

University of North Texas, http://library.unt.edu:81/
Music Library



University of Tennessee, http://www.lib.utk.edu:90/
Knoxville, DeVine Music Library ~music/songwizard/

University of Wisconsin, Madison, http://www.library.wisc.edu/elib.
Mills Music Library music.1/americana.search.html


University of Wisconsin, Madison, http://www.library.wisc.edu/elib.
Mills Music Library music.1/wmasheet.search html



Washington University at St. http://catalog.wust1.edu:81/
Louis, Gaylord Music Library

Source Bulk Contents

Duke University, Rare Book, 14,250 + records; U.S. imprints,
Manuscript, and Special Collection 1830-1930; total collection,
Library 20,000 items; separate database
 for lyrics

Harry Fox Agnecy & National Music song citations with links to sheet
Publishers' Association music and CD retail companies;
 clicking on the sheet music link
 initiates a title search in the
 Pepper Music Network

Los Angeles Public Library, songs in published anthologies
Central Library

Middle Tennessee State University, 50,000 records; U.S. imprints, late
Center for Popular Music eighteenth century to the present

University of North Texas, popular-music titles in WBAP
Music Library Collection and Song Collection;
 index of songs published in Sheet
 Music Magazine and Piano Today

University of Tennessee, 50,000 songs in more than 1,500
Knoxville, DeVine Music Library published anthologies

University of Wisconsin, Madison, 3,575 records; U.S. imprints,
Mills Music Library 1798-1909; total collection, 30,000
 items

University of Wisconsin, Madison, 2,800 records; U.S. imprints, 1850
Mills Music Library to the present; chiefly music with
 Wisconsin ties; total collection,
 3,000 items

Washington University at St. 12,000 entries for popular sheet
Louis, Gaylord Music Library music or music with Missouri ties


RELATED ARTICLE: GENERAL OBSERVATIONS

Even without knowing exact URLs, researchers should be able to find most of the databases without much trouble by searching either the Internet or institutional sites. Most projects are listed under headings for music, but some can be found under headings for electronic databases (JHU), digital archives (UCLA), digital collections (USF), digital library collections (NYPL), or research databases (Duke). Subject-specific databases include African-Americans (LC-Brown); inventions (MIT); and Lincoln, Civil War, and Emancipation (LC-Lincoln), with geographically related publications from California (UCB), Florida (USF) and Philadelphia (Penn). As table 1 shows, more than half of the projects are completed. MIT, MSU, SI, UCLA, and USF are ongoing; UNC is temporarily suspended.

From the American Memory home page, selecting "Collection Finder," then "Original Format--Sheet Music," displays records for LC-Brown, LC-Duke, LC-Lincoln, LC-Nation, and additional databases that include sheet music. Otherwise, clicking on "Broad Topics" and then "Performing Arts" will display a slightly longer list of American Memory sites, not all of which include sheet music.

Users will find that navigating within most of the databases is relatively easy and straightforward. Some layout features are worth noting. NYPL's interface allows users to switch between an image and either a brief descriptive record on the database Web site or the full cataloging record on CATNYP, the online catalog of the New York Public Library. Both UCLA and UCB offer innovative layout features, including the display of variant title pages on the same Web page. On the other hand, UCB suffers from not having enough navigation keys, which can be especially frustrating for novice users. Several broken links to images were found in JHU, MSU, UCB, and UCLA.

The sizes of the sheet music databases under discussion range from 50 (MIT) to 47,000 (LC-Nation) objects or records. The average size is 7,444; the median is 436. Each database represents only a portion of the sheet music owned by the supporting research facility or academic institution, except for UCB, which draws from eleven participating libraries, archives, and museums. The collections can be held either by a centralized special collections department, or a music library or division, depending on the institution.

In their entirety, these databases include publications spanning two hundred years, from 1780 (JHU) to 1980 (SI). Several of the projects include music from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The broadest span of publication dates in a single database is 180 years, represented by JHU (1780-1960) and SI (1800-1980). Interestingly, the largest database, LC-Nation, also has the narrowest chronological scope, fifteen years (1870-85). Four of the databases draw solely from the nineteenth century (LC-Nation, Penn, UCB, UNG).

INTELLECTUAL ACCESS

The Web sites include a bibliographic record for each piece of sheet music, with two exceptions. MSU contains only the sheet music images from the Templeton Collection, divided into categories such as rags, blues, foxtrots, show tunes, and minstrel songs. SI contains an archival finding aid organized by series and subseries, with selected listings of names and titles, and hyperlinks to images of illustrated title pages.

A few of the databases have a fixed number of descriptive fields, typically with values for names, titles, publication data, and call numbers (MIT, Penn, USF). Whereas Penn's "Focus on Philadelphia" comprises only five fields, the entire Keffer database is fully cataloged on RLIN, where the number of bibliographic fields can vary. Most of the databases do, in fact, have a variable number of repeatable bibliographic fields. It is inevitable that some cataloging errors will go undetected in projects of this nature, but the only one that was encountered was a misspelling of E. T. Paull's name in LCLincoln's records for the Lincoln Centennial Grand March.

Search and browse mechanisms vary greatly, from the basic searches of NYPL and the LC sites to the more complex layouts of UCB, UCLA, and Duke. MIT, MSU, and UNG do not offer keyword searching, but limited browsing is available. Although Penn provides keyword searching for the entire Keffer collection through its online catalog, keyword searching is not available for the "Focus on Philadelphia" segment specifically. UCB offers two separate search forms. The USF advanced keyword search, attempted on several occasions, resulted in error messages. UCLA's search page allows keyword searching but also lets a user scroll through menus of titles, personal names, publishers, and dates.

As mentioned earlier, Duke and LCDuke share the same images but have different search and display interfaces. They are also reciprocally linked. Duke, however, offers browsing in five categories: subject content, dates (titles grouped by decade), illustration types, advertising, and title-page images (gallery views grouped by decade). LC-Duke collapses Duke's indexes for subject content, dates, and illustration types into one category for subjects, and adds a second category for names, while omitting Duke's browsing categories for titles and title-page images grouped by decade. In Duke, one can perform keyword searching in each of twenty-seven indexed fields, both traditional (author, title, publication data) and specialized (producer, staging, book, dedicatee, lithographer). Searching in LC-Duke is limited to "core fields," which include author/creator, tide, subject, notes, and item ID.

One of the handiest ways to retrieve popular songs is by first line of verse and first line of chorus, which are indexed in Duke/LC-Duke, JHU, LC-Brown, NYPL, and UCB, UCLA and LC-Lincoln offer the bonus of transcribing and indexing entire lyrics for every song. USF is the only site that indexes the first line of verse without also indexing the first line of chorus.

SUBJECT AND GENRE ANALYSIS

Subject and genre analysis of music and images appears at varying levels in Duke/LC-Duke, NYPL, UCB, and LC-Brown. JHU analyzes only images, and LC-Lincoln and LC-Nation provide subject headings for the music only. Compare, for instance, the application and layout of headings for Chas. K. Harris's Hello Central, Give Me Heaven (1901) in NYPL and Duke/LC-Duke. NYPL uses standard Library of Congress subject analysis for music and for names of performers mentioned and portrayed:

Subjects: Libbey, James Aldrich. Harris, Chas. K. (Charles Kassell), 1864-1930---Portraits. Songs (High voice) with piano. Popular music--United States--1901-1910.

Duke/LC-Duke headings use a highly sophisticated approach that analyzes music content, illustration, and advertising. Terms are chosen from Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH), Library of Congress Thesaurus for Graphic Materials (LCTGM), Art and Architecture Thesaurus (AAT), and the Glossary of Sheet Music Terms developed for the Historic American Sheet Music project (HASM). The layout of the bibliographic record clearly demonstrates the analytical process.

Content (LCSH): Songs with piano

Content (HASM): Society and Culture--Sentimental song

Illustration (AAT): telephones

Illustration (AAT): children (people by age group)

Illustration (LCTGM): Children

Illustration (LCTGM): Telephones

Illustration (LCTGM): Telephone switchboards

Illustration (LCTGM): Angels

Illustration (HASM): Human Activities of Ordinary People-Children

Illustration (HASM): Technology

Illustration (HASM): Society and Culture--Supernatural & Imaginary Beings

Advertising (HASM): Songs

Now compare JHU's and UCB's analyses for Chas. K. Harris's Just Tell Her That I Loved Her Too (1899). JHU takes most of its headings from LCTGM. Its headings are not hyperlinked, unlike those in the other databases, and are displayed in this manner:

Subject: Portraits

Subject: Sadness

Subject: Farewells

Subject: Friendship

Subject: Soldiers

Subject: Guards

Subject: War casualties

Subject: Grief

UCB utilizes both LCSH and LCTGM headings but to a lesser extent than Duke/LC-Duke, JHU, and NYPL. Its analysis of Just Tell Her That I Loved Her Too is based on a copy with a title page almost identical to the one in JHU, but the headings are quite different:

Music Subjects: Songs with piano.

Illustration Subjects: Clothing & dress.

Entertainers.

Singers.

Women.

DIGITIZATION

Only Duke, the LC databases, and MSU provide online documentation about their digitizing processes. Among these, the level of detail varies, with Duke/LC-Duke providing the highest degree of specificity. As a result, it is difficult to compare the more technical aspects of the digitization process. In most cases, it is also hard to judge whether a given digital surrogate provides a complete reproduction of an item.

All of the Web sites include legible digitized images of sheet music. Most of them feature thumbnail images for access, and reproductions of title pages, music, and separate pages of advertising. Several of the sites offer multiple resolutions of images, using two or more file formats. Most databases do not include copyrighted music, probably because of the labor-intensive process of obtaining permissions from copyright owners. JHU provides title pages and music for items in public domain, but only title pages for copyrighted items. Penn, SI, and USF provide images of title pages only. LC-Nation appears to be the only site in which the images have been scanned from microfilm and are not presented in color. The only obscured music image was discovered in the Lincoln Centennial Grand March (LC-Lincoln), in which a gift label covers about one full measure of music. Image and text seem to be cropped from the edges of several title pages in SI.

Loading time for images can vary, depending on the type and size of the image file as well as computer and networking configurations. Testing for this review was done on a PC with 256 MB RAM and a high-speed cable connection, so loading times for computers with regular dial-up connections may be significantly slower. Thumbnail images of 5 to 10 KB, mostly in GIF and JPEG formats, loaded almost instantaneously. Black-and-white JPEG images of 50 to 175 KB (SI, UNC, USF) took a few seconds to load, or 30 seconds for a color image of 650 KB to 1.3 MB (LC-Duke, UCB).

TIFF and PDF files offer variability of scale and take longer to load. A single PDF file, which typically includes an entire publication (MIT, MSU), takes about 1 to 2 MB to reproduce about 4 to 6 pages, and from 30 to 60 seconds to load once the PDF reader (Adobe Acrobat) has opened. TIFF files typically contain one image per file, and are uncompressed and very large, especially in the case of decorative pages. Many of the black-and-white TIFF title pages used in LC-Lincoln and LC-Nation are approximately 10 to 14 MB and took about 3 to 5 minutes to load. Files for some of the color title pages in LC-Lincoln were over 30 MB. On the other hand, TIFF files for black-and-white images of printed music range from about 50 to 80 KB and loaded in a few seconds. For scalable TIFF resolutions, the Library of Congress recommends viewers with scalability options, such as Docuview, ViewDirector Prizm Plug-in for Netscape, or ThumbsPlus.

ADDITIONAL FEATURES

Several of the sites have additional features that enhance database content. LC-Nation, MIT, MSU, and UCB offer audio versions of some of the music in their databases. UCB also includes video files, and within bibliographic records, hyperlinks to external sources for biographies of composers and lyricists. Some of the sites provide bibliographies and essays about subjects relating to their databases (Duke, LC databases, MSU, Penn, UCB). LC-Brown features a module about the development of African-American musical theater in the period 1865-1910. Duke/LC-Duke includes a sheet music timeline of music and major events, decade by decade, from 1850 to 1920. LC-Nation features a gallery of greatest hits from 1870 to 1885. MIT provides links to about 230 invention-related images from JHU, organized by type of invention. Many sites include links to external sources, but MIT is an unusual case in that the number of external links (ca. 230) is far greater than the number of images in the database proper (ca. 50).

Some of the sites also have features that facilitate use of the databases. NYPL and UCLA allow users to select and save image files so that they appear in "gallery view." Various approaches to online help and FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) are demonstrated in Duke, JSU, the LC databases, NYPL, and Penn.

CONCLUSION

Researchers are fortunate to have such easy Web access to a wealth of information about sheet music, despite the fact that the actual music content is restricted by copyright laws. By the time this is published, it is possible that more databases will have been mounted, and that new features and improvements will have been implemented in the sites examined in this review. In the meantime, here is one reviewer's wish list for the ideal sheet music Web site.

Features would include full bibliographic analysis of music, lyrics, illustrations, and advertising; ample indexing; full transcription of lyrics; audio and video content, with links between records and objects; ability to save files locally; clear styles for Web site layout and navigation; gallery views; complete, unobseured, scalable images that load quickly; special features such as essays, bibliographies, and hyperlinks to external sources; and substantial online help. Of the sites reviewed, those that come nearest to this ideal are Duke, JHU, the LC databases collectively, and NYPL.

Collaborative projects among research facilities, public libraries, archives, museums, and private collections would be most welcome in order to increase the thematic depth of these undertakings. Mary Kay Duggan, the principal force behind UCB's eleven participating members, is to be highly commended for producing a site that is so rich in content and scope with regard to nineteenth-century California sheet music, despite some design flaws. Johns Hopkins, home of the Levy Collection, plans to sponsor a conference for institutional sheet music database owners in November 2002 in order to discuss interoperability of databases and related issues, so further joint projects may be in the offing.
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Author:Davison, Stephen
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Date:Jun 1, 2002
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