Information Technology Committee

By Gordon, Antony | Fontes Artis Musicae, October-December 2008 | Go to article overview

Information Technology Committee


Gordon, Antony, Fontes Artis Musicae


The IT Committee, by some curious quirk of fate, presented three sessions at the 2008 Napoli conference in addition to holding a working meeting.

The first session, National Projects: Cataloguing Codes, Indexing of Periodicals, Gateway, began with a paper from Virginia Danielson (Loeb Music Library, Harvard University) on 'Sound Directions: A Program in Digital Audio Preservation for Libraries'. This research and development project, was jointly conducted by Harvard University and Indiana University with funding by the US National Endowment for the Humanities to examine best practice for a large part of the audio digitization chain. Between February 2005 and May 2007, the project drew on European and Australian models and precedents and developments at the Library of Congress, augmenting previous work to produce interoperable audio preservation packages and sustainable, streamlined workflows for the entire digitization process. The project's three principal aims were:

* to develop best practices and to test emerging standards for archival audio preservation and storage in the digital domain and to report on findings

* to establish robust and sustainable programmes at both universities for digital audio preservation with the intention of producing interoperable preservation packages that include all the metadata necessary for long-term storage as well as resource discovery

* to preserve critically endangered, unique and valuable field recordings

The second paper of this first session, 'Digital Preservation of the Monterey Jazz Festival Recordings,' was presented by Jerry McBride of Stanford University, California. His paper had been submitted for the Audio-Visual Commission and included many examples taken from recordings made at the Monterey Jazz Festival since it began in 1958 and described processes used for digital preservation of the festival recordings, initially only audio, but later including video material. Some of this conserved material has been issued on commercial carriers. The third paper for the session was to have been on the EASAIER project but this unfortunately had to be withdrawn shortly before the conference began when the speaker was unable to attend.

The second session, Towards a Semantic Web, began with a presentation by Michael Finger hut from IRCAM in Paris on 'A Portal for Contemporary Music in France'. This portal, made publicly available in 2007, results from a collaboration between six institutions holding and/or producing resources that relate to contemporary music in France. During 2008, a further eight organizations are expected to join the project. The portal uses the internet as a means to bring the fruits of contemporary music production to a wider public, to encourage its dissemination and to facilitate access to performances and other events such as talks and courses through sound recordings and related documentation. As of early 2008, the portal included 120,000 references to resources, 20,000 of them in digital form. The presentation covered the initial setting up of the portal, the metadata model (MODS) that was used to describe documentary resources and events, and rights management aspects of access to content. In conclusion there was a look forward in the direction of further developments.

The second presentation of the second session entitled 'Topic Maps: Knowledge Organization for the 21st Century (With Special Reference to Italian Opera)' was given by Steve Pepper of Ontopedia, Oslo. Music librarians in common with all information professionals face the challenge of how to organize digital assets in such a way as to enable sharing of knowledge about them as well as making it easier for users to find what they are looking for. The new international standard called 'Topic Maps' promises to turn our understanding of information management inside out. In a lively presentation one of the world's leading experts on Topic Maps explained how they work and what benefits they bring. …

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