Volunteers wanted to describe Bodleian music scores online
Oxford - Members of the public are being asked to help describe 4,000 music pieces from the Bodleian Libraries’ collections, as part of a new project launched today.
What’s the score at the Bodleian? (www.whats-the-score.org) is the first crowd-sourcing project undertaken by the Bodleian Libraries. About 4,000 pieces of popular piano music from the mid-Victorian period have been digitized and made available online. The music was mostly produced for domestic entertainment, and many of these scores have illustrated or decorative covers and advertisements. The collection has never been included in the library’s catalogue, and its exact contents are therefore unknown.
By visiting the website, ‘citizen librarians’ can help with describing the scores and contributing to the creation of an online catalogue. It takes about 10 minutes to fill in the online form which constitutes the description of an item. No knowledge of reading music or playing an instrument is required to get involved. People just need to look at the images of the scores and write down the information they see. However, the project also encourages performances of this music and hopes to provide links to audio or video recordings.
Sarah Thomas, Bodley’s Librarian, said: ‘Making our collections accessible for the purposes of teaching, learning and research, both within and beyond Oxford, has become increasingly possible over recent decades due to the great strides we’ve seen in the creation of tools for retrieving and manipulating data. We endeavour to apply these technologies to our music holdings as well, wherever possible. We hope that What’s the score at the Bodleian? will represent a way for people to help us to make the Bodleian’s music collections more accessible to the wide range of people who use them, or who would do if they knew they were there.’
Martin Holmes, Alfred Brendel Curator of Music at the Bodleian Libraries, said: ‘The Library has never turned away music of this type but it is interesting that this body of what might be termed ephemeral music was not considered worthy of being fully incorporated into the collections or catalogued at the time of receipt – or since. In making the scores available online, they will not only be accessible for academic study and research but will also be there to enjoy for anyone who is interested in various aspects of Victorian music, culture and society.’
The project was partially funded by Google and is developed in collaboration with Zooniverse who are world leaders in crowd-sourcing technology.
More about the project: www.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/bodley/library/specialcollections/projects/whats-the-score
Twitter at #whatscore
Project blog: http://whatsthescoreatthebodleian.wordpress.com