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National issue: Australia.


This issue of Fontes Artis Musicae is the first to adopt a new approach to the presentation of papers relating to the conference host country and incorporating the reports from the national meeting, post-conference. This issue reflects the hive of activity which occurred at the first-ever IAML International Conference to be held in Australia, in July 2007, and hosted by IAML (Australia) (See<>). The Sydney Conservatorium of Music, beautifully sited near the Sydney Botanic Gardens and within sight of the Sydney Opera House, provided state-of-the-art lecture and recital halls for meetings, papers, concerts, exhibitors stalls, and room for lots of mingling over pre-concert fine Australian wine and cheese by more than 200 delegates.

The Australian section of this issue provides readers with 11 papers (presented at the conference) and five reviews reflecting the diversity and depth of Australian music librarianship, music bibliographic scholarship and the collections housed in our libraries and archives. Australian information technological innovations and collaborative solutions gained considerable exposure at the conference. Malcolm Gillies, Australian musician, musicologist, educator, and Bartok and Grainger scholar, (recently appointed as Vice-Chancellor, The City University, London) opened the conference with his wide-ranging keynote address using his many years of experience as a music scholar in libraries and archives around the world to provide an overview of the role of music libraries in the public (local and national) and academic spheres. He highlighted how they have responded over recent decades, quickly adopting technological changes, while still maintaining integrity and responding to the needs of our library users. Peter Sculthorpe, Australia's pre-eminent composer, was guest of honour at the Conference opening, and IAML (Australia) was honoured when he accepted the position of Patron. His collections of manuscripts, correspondence, art work and related papers are held in the National Library of Australia. The paper by musicologist Graeme Skinner 'Some Makings of an Australian composer ... ' uses the collections to illustrate the historical context of Sculthorpe's output and contribution to Australian cultural life, and how he utilised the collections to write his recently published biography of Sculthorpe.

Indigenous Australia and the importance of providing access to historical archival material and current knowledge for establishing land claims, empowerment and ensuring knowledge and languages are not lost, is expertly provided by Grace Koch (Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies) and Cate Richmond (Northern Territory Library). The Knowledge Centres Program established in the Northern Territory has been internationally recognized, receiving the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation 2007 Access to Learning Award for its work to improve the lives of Indigenous Australians.

One of the highlights of information technological development in Australia is reflected in Robyn Holmes' and Kaye McIntyre's paper outlining the development to production of Music Australia, a National Library of Australia initiative which has received interest from all over the world. Based on a collaborative approach, harvesting records from the Australian National Bibliographic Database and digital objects from state libraries, specialist libraries, and entering into commercial arrangements for sound delivery, it provides a one-stop shop on the internet for Australian music. Robyn Holmes' paper on publishing music research in Australia, complements the digitally driven Music Australia concept, highlighting the move to digital resources, also emphasizing the cross disciplinary nature of research, which is on the increase in Australia's academic institutions--important for librarians as we seek to develop collections to support the changing teaching and research needs.

Papers relating to collections in Australian libraries highlight the diversity of Australian life with its strong multicultural cultural and population base. Not many people are aware that the ground-breaking L'Oiseau-Lyre Editions based in Paris, Monaco, and now Melbourne, (which published explorative sound recordings and monuments of music, assisting in the revival of early music in the mid-twentieth century) was founded by an Australian. Louise Hanson-Dyer lived much of her life in Europe yet maintained her connection with Australia by making many visits and supported the British Music Society in Melbourne, her city of birth. Its fascinating library is now located in the State Library of Victoria and Daniela Kaleva provides insight into the collection. Australia's close connection with Asia is highlighted in the unique media collections of Norodom Sihanouk, the former King of Cambodia. The Norodom Sihanouk Archival Collection is held at the Monash University Library. Aline Scott-Maxwell's paper highlights the surprising musical components of the collection which includes manuscripts, sound recordings, and video of the King's compositions. Reis Flora's paper travels to the sub-continent with his intriguing research into Ragamala paintings held at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne. The European connections delve further back than the arrival of British explorers and settlers on Australian soil in the late-eighteenth century with two papers by Jane Morlet Hardy and Kathleen E. Nelson, focusing on medieval manuscripts held in the University of Sydney Library.

For those who travelled to Sydney I hope these papers provide memories of a successful conference full of interesting papers and discourse. And for those who were unable to be present, the papers should provide an overview of the state of Australian music librarianship and bibliography in the early twenty-first century.

Thank you to all authors and reviewers for their work in creating this Australian issue.

Guest Editor: Georgina Binns (1)

(1.) Georgina Binns is the Victorian College of the Arts Librarian, University of Melbourne, Australia.
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Author:Binns, Georgina
Publication:Fontes Artis Musicae
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Jan 1, 2008
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