United Kingdom and Ireland

By Chesser, Richard | Fontes Artis Musicae, October-December 2010 | Go to article overview

United Kingdom and Ireland


Chesser, Richard, Fontes Artis Musicae


Last year our membership rose on the previous year, and this year we are delighted that this increase has almost been maintained. Music librarians in the UK are evidently as committed as ever to their profession and the services they provide. As a result the UK branch has an inspiring list of achievements to report. One particularly successful new initiative we launched this year was our Excellence Award scheme, which recognised high levels of service, innovation, and development, and was open to libraries of all sizes from all sectors. The nominations were adjudicated by an independent, expert panel, including Martie Severt, our own President, and we were delighted that 12 awards were made. These can be seen on our website (http://www.iaml.info/iaml-uk-irl/awards/ citations_2010.html). The panel was chaired by Professor John Tyrell, the wellknown Janacsek scholar, with a celebratory presentation ceremony at our Annual Study Weekend in Nottingham in May.

In addition the Annual Study Weekend had its usual impressive mix of presentations and seminars on important and topical issues. This year we covered the provision of audio-visual materials in libraries, inter-library loan, and heard of the Music Pathways to Learning scheme in Ireland, which aims to facilitate access to music information and materials across a broad range of 27 libraries and archives of all types. We also had technical sessions on the latest developments in music information retrieval and facetted browsing. These issues are all the more important as more and more catalogues join up, raising issues of conflicting standards, data quality and user education, points which were all to the fore when we had a brainstorming discussion on the feasibility of a national music catalogue in the UK.

Other projects within the branch continue to prove their importance to our daily work. Cecilia, our online database of music collections in UK and Irish libraries, archives and museums, is visited about 25,000 times per month, while the Concert Programmes Project's usage statistics are equally healthy, with visitors coming worldwide from 139 countries. This latter project was initiated by a scoping study by the Music Libraries Trust, the charitable arm of the branch, which has just commissioned a similar study of musicians' letters held in institutions in the UK and Ireland. …

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