Academic journal article Notes

Music Library Association Guidelines for the Preparation of Music Reference Works

Academic journal article Notes

Music Library Association Guidelines for the Preparation of Music Reference Works

Article excerpt

These "Guidelines" are designed to assist authors and publishers with the preparation of music reference works. They comprise a checklist of contemporary best practice, identified through tapping the collective experience of reviewers and music librarians, and the opinions of selected authors, editors, and publishers. Reviewers and library selectors should find the "Guidelines" of use when evaluating sources. In addition to providing suggestions on the content and organization of music reference works, we have included a list of readings on citation style, bibliographic theory and practice, and indexing.(1)

The "Guidelines" have been prepared by the Subcommittee on Bibliographic Standards for Reference Works, Reference and Public Service Committee, Music Library Association, which currently comprises David Hunter, chair, Ann Basart, Harold Diamond, Jane Gottlieb, and David Lasocki.(2) Previous members of the Subcommittee were Joseph Boonin, George Hill, Geri Laudati, Deane Root, Dorman Smith, Judy Tsou, and Diane Parr Walker.

Part I, General Guidelines, applies to all kinds of works. It is based on the American Library Association's "Guidelines for the Preparation of a Bibliography," RQ 22(1) (Fall 1982): 31-32, modified to suit music reference works and changing publishing trends. It should be used in conjunction with the appropriate section of Part II, which provides guidelines for specific kinds of music reference works: bibliographies and catalogues, thematic catalogues, discographies, indexes, and dictionaries and encyclopedias. Bibliographies and catalogues are the most complex kinds of music reference works. The principles of their construction extend to thematic catalogues and discographies, which are types of catalogue; to indexes, which convey brief bibliographical information about a particular subject or material; and to dictionaries and encyclopedias, even though the primary purpose of such works is not the provision of bibliographical data.

The Subcommittee focused on the intellectual aspects of the preparation of reference works, except for section 9, Presentation, in Part I, so that the "Guidelines" are of use regardless of the format of publication.

Table of contents

Part I: General Guidelines

Part II: Guidelines for Specific Kinds of Music Reference Works A. Bibliographies and Catalogues Descriptive Bibliographies Enumerative Bibliographies and Catalogues B. Thematic Catalogues C. Discographies D. Indexes to Material in Collections E. Dictionaries and Encyclopedias

Part III: Suggestions for Further Reading



1.1 Fill a significant need.

1.2 If similar works exist, review them and ensure that the new work makes a unique contribution.


2.1 Define the scope clearly.

2.2 Provide a title that clearly sets forth the subject.

2.3 Develop and state a clear policy for the inclusion and exclusion of items.

2.4 Strive for completeness within the work's stated limitations, such as period, geographical area, form, language, library holdings, quality, audience.

2.5 Cover the subject consistently, strive for balance, and avoid bias.


3.1 Supply a list or overview of the sources consulted and information on the method of compilation.

3.2 Work directly with the sources whenever possible. Identify all the items not examined.

3.3 Distinguish clearly between the intellectual substance of the items cited and their physical manifestations.


4.1 Principles of Organization

4.11 Organize the material in a manner appropriate to the subject (e.g., alphabetically, chronologically, by name, by subject, by instrument or voice, or by classification scheme).

4.12 Arrange the main section so that the work can be used from at least one approach without consulting an index.

4.13 Provide multiple means of access (e. …

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