• Cataloguing Songs at the Marx Memorial Library Creating an identity for items of musical works within a non- music special collection

    Sarah E. Crompton (see profile)
    Information organization, Library science, Music--Social aspects, Music, Information retrieval, Music libraries, Orality
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    City, University of London
    Music cataloguing, political songs, use intentional, Knowledge organization, Music and Society, Music information retrieval
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    What do you do if a song appears in a box of library donations at a non-music library? This dissertation explores reasons why non-music libraries are the best place for some music items, but also why they might sink without trace by being ‘other’ to the main collection. It looks at how defining an ‘identity’ for a minority music collection and relating it to its wider collection could benefit a special collection otherwise known for its non-music subject areas. The methodology parallels an ‘evidence based library and information practice’ (EBLIP) ‘practitioner-research’ perspective to resolve questions. The research progresses through stages of ‘discussion, assessment, reflection, decision, action, revision’ towards eventual findings and practical outcomes. Focusing on songs, ‘people’s songs’ are defined, highlighting their many differences to the formally constructed forms of classical ‘art’ songs. The findings examine ‘people’s songs’ from the perspectives of documentation, information search and retrieval, and concepts of identity. Concepts of ‘borrowing’, ‘branding’, ‘currency’, ‘fix-ity’, ‘oral documents’ and ‘use-intentionality’ scrutinise the question of identity of this particular set of ‘people’s songs’ to its eventual conclusion. The work discusses how cataloguing systems and standards treat all types of music as one, using systems derived from the approach to classical ‘art’ music; explaining how the fluid creations that are ‘people’s songs’ defy cataloguing rules. The work suggests that as society increasingly values folk-art and other non-academy arts, library standards are showing signs of updating terminology. Looking to the future, with the development of RDA and cloud-based library management systems, could removing cataloguing rules be the answer to cataloguing music, by allowing cataloguers flexibility of judgement to select metadata elements bespoke to the ‘house’ style and resources of special collections?
    Last Updated:
    4 years ago


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