Concert Programmes Database

By Wells, Veronica A. | Notes, September 2011 | Go to article overview

Concert Programmes Database


Wells, Veronica A., Notes


Concert Programmes Database. Cardiff University. http://www .concertprogrammes.org.uk/ (Accessed February 2011). [Requires a Web browser and an Internet connection. Pricing: Free].

Concert programs can provide a wealth of information for historical research. Musi cologists, such as Jann Pasler, have used this type of ephemera as an integral part of their research methodology.1 However, primary source materials such as concert programs are seldom consistently collected or preserved in libraries, museums, or archives. The March 1981 issue of Notes contains an article by James J. Fuld entitled "Music Programs and Posters: the Need for an Inventory." In it, Fuld pleads with the library community to recognize the inherent value of collecting and preserving music programs. Fuld states, "Music programs and posters . . . do not seem to have achieved a status in music libraries comparable to their usefulness. While libraries are presumably happy to receive these materials, they may not be well organized, preserved, or completely catalogued." 2 More than twenty years after Fuld's article, the Concert Programmes Project (hereafter CPP) was established in 2003 to address this issue on a national level in the United Kingdom. The Concert Programmes Database (hereafter CPD) was the result of this project.

Work on CPD officially began in 2004 with funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council of the U.K. CPP's mission is twofold: to help researchers locate valuable primary source material relevant to their research, and to assist librarians with determining priorities for collection development and preservation. CPD contains records of concert program holdings in libraries, archives, and museums of the U.K. and Ireland. In 2007, the database was officially launched and is currently hosted by Cardiff University and the Royal College of Music. In order to provide users with valuable collection descriptions and to ensure interoperability with similar databases, CPP implemented a collection-level metadata schema developed by the U.K.'s Research Support Libraries Programme. The schema is also used by Cecilia (http://www.cecilia-uk .org/), an online guide to music collections in archives, libraries, and museums in the U.K. and Ireland. Cecilia's scope is much larger than CPD.

According to Rupert Ridgewell, Curator of Music at the British Library, CPD indexes 5,525 collections from fifty-three institutions. 3 The Royal College of Music, the British Library and the Royal Academy of Music are the three largest contributors to the database. The collections contain programs from the seventeenth through the twenty-first centuries from eighty countries. Although this is an impressive number of collections, the database does not include every institution in the U.K. and Ireland with music program holdings. Each collection has a database record that contains three main sections: "Collection Summary," "Location Details," and "Additional Col - lection Information." The "Collection Summary" contains fields for Collection Title, Unique Identifier, Description, Date Range, Suggested Audience, Associated People or Organisations, Associated Places, and Associated Times. The amount of detail under the "Description" field varies widely from collection to collection. The "Collection Summary" also includes a field entitled "This collection is about," which is pulled from a limited set of subject headings such as "Annotations," "Analytical notes," and "First performances." "Location Details" provides contact information on the institution holding the collection. "Additional Collection Information" provides information on the collection's status, related publications, management information type, owner, creator, collector, custodian, and any associated collections.

Users can browse the database using five criteria: Time, People, Place, Subject, and Institution. "Time" is broken down into fourteen categories and includes time spans such as "17th century-late 1676- 1699," "19th century-late Victorian 1876- 1899," and "World War I-1914-18. …

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