Academic journal article Fontes Artis Musicae

Spreading the Message: Teaching Music Librarianship by Distance-Learning

Academic journal article Fontes Artis Musicae

Spreading the Message: Teaching Music Librarianship by Distance-Learning

Article excerpt

For Wolfgang Krueger

Presentations about music librarianship education have been a feature of IAML's annual meetings for many years, and, since August 1975, the existence of its Commission on Service and Training has provided further stimulus to this area of the Association's activities. (2) Material originally presented at the Commission's conference sessions (including the current article) has regularly appeared in Fontes Artis Musicae. (3) Unfortunately, although a steady stream of articles on music librarianship education appeared in Fontes up until the end of the 1980s, since the mid-1990s there has been a considerable decrease in published material on the topic, while at the same time there have been some radical changes in the way music librarianship has been taught. Furthermore, over the past several decades there has been a trend in schools of librarianship to move away from offering specialized courses in music librarianship, and as a result some IAML branches have attempted to create short, non-credit-bearing courses of their own, usually at a fairly rudimentary level and aimed both at library staff who work in music libraries, and those who do not. (4) The US Music Library Association (MLA) has also recently taken an interest in this area: at its Annual Meeting in Newport, Rhode Island, in February 2008, MLA ran a workshop entitled Training the Trainers, at which MLA members who wished to participate in offering short courses in various aspects of music library work could learn about the best delivery methods for such courses. MLA initially offered three courses (in sound recordings cataloging; library acquisition of music; and music reference work), and has had some success in offering these in "non-traditional" venues--for example, to non-music professionals at state library association meetings. The present article reports on the online graduate-level course in Music Librarianship and Bibliography offered by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and examines some of the benefits and problems that result from teaching students at a distance.

Since this article is primarily about a course being offered in the United States, it might be useful first of all to say something about the number and scope of courses in music librarianship currently being offered there. Although the perception outside the US might be that there must be a great many institutions offering such courses (and while it is true that the US surely does have a larger number of courses in this subject than other countries), the following are probably the ones that are taught most regularly (sometimes annually, sometimes every other year): (5)

* Course no. L&IS686 at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

* Course no. LIS435 at Simmons College, Boston

* Course no. LIS776 at Dominican University, River Forest, Illinois

* Course nos LIS588 and LIS589 at the University of Buffalo

* Course no. S655 at Indiana University

* Course INLS746 at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

* Course no. LIS530ALE at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (6)

* Course no. LIS5367 at the University of North Texas

* Course LSC833 at Catholic University of America, Washington, DC

* Course SLIS744 at the University of South Carolina

Although the instructor delivering each of these courses has free rein over the course content and over course delivery, in practice the "learning outcomes" and content of the courses are fairly similar. At the moment, only the course offered at the University of Illinois can be taken wholly using a "distance learning" approach. This means that students enrolled on the course, whether actually living in Urbana/Champaign or outside it, log on each week to an online course site to listen to lectures, view resources, and participate in the class. In common with most of our courses at Illinois, students have to put in 30 hours of study time in order to qualify for 2 "credit hours" when they successfully complete the course. …

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