Academic journal article Notes

Music Discovery Requirements: A Guide to Optimizing Interfaces

Academic journal article Notes

Music Discovery Requirements: A Guide to Optimizing Interfaces

Article excerpt


Music materials, particularly scores and recordings, pose unique demands that must be considered for their successful discovery. Some of the discoverability challenges of music materials in public search interfaces can be addressed simply by ensuring that needed bibliographic description fields are appropriately displayed and indexed in discovery interfaces. Other problems are more difficult to solve. This Music Discovery Requirements document explores the issues and gives concrete recommendations for discovery interfaces. Given that most libraries will be dealing with databases containing large bodies of legacy data recorded according to AACR2 and encoded in MARC, particular attention is paid to MARC data and to AACR2; RDA is addressed to the extent possible. The discussions and recommendations will be useful to those creating or guiding the development of discovery interfaces that will facilitate access to music materials. Furthermore, because the document identifies areas where deficient data create particular problems for discovery, those inputting or creating standards for data can use this document to identify areas with particular needs for fuller, more consistent data.


"Discovery" has become a library buzzword, but it refers to a traditional concept: enabling users to find information and materials. Discovery was first facilitated by print indexes and card catalogs, then later by online library catalogs and search engines. Today, the discovery environment is changing rapidly, and FRBR (Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records), RDA (Resource Description & Access), Web-scale discovery, and faceted browsing are key factors related to changes in the way our users navigate searches and encounter library data. The newest discovery interfaces aim to remove barriers between different types and sources of data, and incorporate aspects of nonlibrary online searching environments familiar to users. When discovery interfaces work well, everyone benefits: the library's collections are more fully exposed, and users do not have to adhere to nor struggle with complicated search vocabularies and strategies. Discovery is optimized.

In the midst of this changing environment, music materials pose unique demands that must be considered for successful discovery. There is exciting potential for new discovery interfaces to ease the difficulties users face when searching for music materials. However, in reality, the specialized discovery needs arising from music materials are often overlooked. This document serves as a guide to meeting these unique demands for vendors, librarians, and anyone developing or implementing discovery interfaces of all kinds.

This work was initiated by the Emerging Technologies and Services Committee of the Music Library Association (MLA) in February 2011, with official support of the MLA board of directors given in June 201L Group membership was drawn from both that committee and the broader ranks of MLA members. The group includes a liaison to MLA's Bibliographic Control Committee, which provided many thoughtful comments and suggestions. A first draft was made available for public comment 16 November-5 December 2011. A second draft was made available for public comment 9 February-16 March 2012. The final version was approved by the MLA board of directors on 8 August 2012.

This document has roots in earlier work by Lenore Coral (1) and by the MLA Automation Subcommittee; (2) however, it is not a mere revision of either document but a wholly new document reflecting today's environment. Given the rapidly changing bibliographic landscape and the immediate need for a document to aid discovery interface implementations, this document is not a standard. Instead, it gives recommendations and possible best practices, in conjunction with discussion of the factors and discovery needs that precipitated the recommendations. As the bibliographic landscape changes, this document will need revision. …

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