Australian Challenges for Music Libraries and Archives of the Future

Article excerpt

Challenges for Music Libraries and Archives of the Future: Linking and Serving Musical Communities was an ambitious theme for the recent IAML (Australian Chapter) but one that seems to be a pervasive theme for those working in music libraries and archives across the globe at the moment. The conference was held 2-3 September 2010 at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music, Griffith University, in tropical Brisbane. Colleagues from Western Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, and New Zealand gathered to explore this theme.

Our esteemed IAML International President, Roger Flury (an honorary Australian in our eyes--as all NZers are!) gave the opening address, challenging us to consider the future through the past. Our heritage of collections should not be overlooked as we move into the digital environment. Equity and access are key to the future of music collections whether they are in public or educational institutions. Dr Brydie-Leigh Bartleet (Queensland Conservatorium) highlighted this in her paper (delivered by DVD as she was researching in the field), based on her research into music in Australian communities. She challenged music libraries and archives to interact more with our communities, whether in the city, country or remotest parts of Australia. She asked where were the music libraries in the communities she examined? There is the need for the recognition of western methods of collection and the need for oral traditions especially in our migrant populations and indigenous cultures. She also highlighted the need for spaces for musical activities and that libraries usually have appropriate spaces that can be offered for these activities, along with exploring connections with these activities and the collections that we house in our libraries. The report on the community music project Sound Links is available free at http://www.griffith.edu.au/music/ queenslandconservatorium-research-centre/ resourcessound-links-final-report

Prof Paul Draper and Nora Farrell (both from Queensland Conservatorium) provided some future thinking into what our libraries, collections and web environments might be, and how our users may want and expect to use information. Paul described the current academic knowledge exchange system as feudal and that a move to a more democratic form is imminent, especially in performance directed research. Nora highlighted how E-learning--the buzz word of the moment--is changing the face of publishing and distribution of information, via social networks and non-linear publishing platforms. And we must move with this, not fight it, with some big challenges for libraries to collect and archive this material.

Robert Davidson (University of Queensland) highlighted the importance of libraries and archives in his research and performance - describing them as a source for time travel and ensuring that individual personalities are preserved. Playing a recording of his own voice at age 6 highlighted how much is lost of people's personalities through the ages. Using recorded speeches, music, film clips, newspaper clippings, portraits patterns he and his performance ensemble Topology, have developed musical "voice portraiture" based on speech patterns. …