Read/Write Digital Libraries for Musicology

Weigl, David M.; Goebl, Werner; Hofmann, Alex; Crawford, Tim; Zubani, Federico; Liem, Cynthia S. and Porter, Alastair. 2020. Read/Write Digital Libraries for Musicology. DLfM 2020: 7th International Conference on Digital Libraries for Musicology, pp. 48-52. [Article]

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Abstract or Description

The Web and other digital technologies have democratised music creation, reception, and analysis, putting music in the hands, ears, and minds of billions of users. Music digital libraries typically focus on an essential subset of this deluge—commercial and academic publications, and historical materials—but neglect to incorporate contributions by scholars, performers, and enthusiasts, such as annotations or performed interpretations of these artifacts, despite their potential utility for many types of users.
In this paper we consider means by which digital libraries for musicology may incorporate such contributions into their collections, adhering to principles of FAIR data management and respecting contributor rights as outlined in the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation. We present an overview of centralised and decentralised approaches to this problem, and propose hybrid solutions in which contributions reside in a) user-controlled personal online datastores, b) decentralised file storage, and c) are published and aggregated into digital library collections. We outline the implementation of these ideas using Solid, a Web decentralisation project building on W3C standard technologies to facilitate publication and control over Linked Data. We demonstrate the feasibility of this approach by implementing prototypes supporting two types of contribution: Web Annotations describing or analysing musical elements in score encodings and music recordings; and, music performances and associated metadata supporting performance analyses across many renditions of a given piece. Finally, we situate these ideas within a wider conception of enriched, decentralised, and interconnected online music repositories.

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Additional Information:

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme H2020-EU. -
Study European heritage, memory, identity, integration and cultural
interaction and translation, including its representations in cultural
and scientific collections, archives and museums, to better inform
and understand the present by richer interpretations of the past under grant agreement No. 770376. We gratefully acknowledge the
collaboration of our colleagues in the TROMPA consortium.


Music Digital Libraries, contribution, decentralisation, Solid, IPFS

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Computing > Intelligent Sound and Music Systems


28 August 2020Accepted
16 October 2020Published

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Date Deposited:

10 Nov 2020 11:18

Last Modified:

10 Nov 2020 11:18

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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