Did you blog
today? What's a blog? Strangely enough, my first exposure to blogging came not
So what is a blog? Blog is short for "web-log," or a diary of interesting sites visited on the web. A blog is usually a compendium of digested news-bits, with a particular angle. Some blogs may focus on music, some on politics, some on technews. Most blogs combine the personal with the professional in a new way. Their appeal comes from the potential of creating an online community around a shared area of interest. You could think of your mother's family letter, sent weekly to all the siblings and cousins, as a sort of blog. Many blogs link to other friendly blogs in the way that websites do, so that the template for a blog (the html that gives a blog its visual identity) may carry dozens of links. Another feature that is common to blogs is a facility that allows readers to comment on the blog-postings, creating a dialogue with the blogger and with each other.
How to find out about a blog? There are blogs of blogs, which accept submissions and rate the blogs they visit. One example of this sort of blog is Blog of the Day (www.shrednow.com/botd/index.html). Bloghop (www.bloghop.com) allows surfers to rate the blogs they visit by submitting a form linked from the blog. The most common way is to search for a topic in your favorite search engine (mine is Google) which will take you to a hit from a blog on the subject.
The chronological aspect of the blog means that the most current info is always at the top. A library web presence might usefully combine a traditional static webpage for information that doesn't change very often, with a blog for breaking news.
across the Internet is commonplace at online music stores and other sites, such
Digital Orpheus technology allows faculty to place items on "digital reserve" that they would normally put on reserve in the music library. "Digital streaming gives the students in my courses access to reserve materials at any hour of the day or night, allowing them to spend an increased amount of time listening to required material. This allows me to use contact time with the students to cover supplementary material," says Chuck Dotas.
The statistics seem to concur—since its introduction in September 2001, there have been more than 65,000 user sessions by approximately 850 students in the four classes. More than 95,000 files have been streamed. And 16 of the over 350 digital audio excerpts have been listened to more than 500 times each.
The Music Library has always been a very busy place. So, not having to check out three hundred reserve items 95,000 times is a real benefit. There is less impact on an undersized music library, yet total access to course materials for students. While the low hours tend to be 3:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m., there is someone listening every hour of every day.
Faculty need only request the service, and music library staff will digitize the audio selections and make them available on the media server. All musical excerpts are cataloged and placed on reserve in the library's online reserve modules. Students look up the assigned titles, click, and listen.
While the Digital Orpheus interface is simple for students and faculty, the technology behind it is not. Using RealServer software, a robust server, and a digitization studio, Digital Orpheus can provide up to 100 concurrent streams to on- and off-campus locations. The unique Digital Orpheus player runs on Macintosh and Windows PC's through a range of browsers and will prompt authenticated users to upgrade their RealPlayer plugin if needed.
As most of you know, the Atlantic Chapter will be hosting the 2004 MLA Annual Conference in Crystal City, Virginia. Part of our hosting duties include the presentation of a skit inviting the 2003 attendees in Austin to visit the Washington DC region. Therefore, we need to come up with skit ideas and discuss them at our Fall meeting in College Park, Maryland. Please email me your ideas at email@example.com. See you in Maryland!
Following are portions of an interview with Bonlyn Hall. Bonny is several weeks away from retirement as Music Librarian at the University of Richmond. Please contact me at jep4f@Virginia.edu if you'd like to read the rest of the interview.
Jane Edmister Penner: You're about to retire and it's an occasion to look back and think about all of your accomplishments. I want to go even back further, to your childhood. Could you talk about when you were born, where you were born, growing up, your musical training?
Bonlyn Hall: I was born on June 28, 1936 in a little country town, Middlebury Center Pennsylvania, in the northern Pennsylvania mountains. My grandparents on my mother's side were musical. They were not professional—they were amateurs, but they were singers. And my grandmother played the piano, mostly by ear. My grandparents sang duets in church, in the Baptist church, always, and even into old age. I have a recording of them singing with cracked voices—I guess they must have been in their seventies.
JEP: That's wonderful.
BH: But they sang the old-time church music. My mother also was a singer and a pianist. She was a more accomplished pianist and she always sang in weddings in that area. She was very much in demand. She always had a long dress to wear for weddings because she sang and played. So I grew up with a lot of that kind of music around.
And in school, by the time I got to high school, of course I took piano as a child, by the time I got to high school, music became my point of reference for my social life. I played clarinet in the band and cello in the orchestra and I sang in all of the musical events that the chorus did. In fact I had a starring role in The Gypsy Fortune Teller.
JEP: The Gypsy Fortune Teller, a starring role (laughter).
BH: Big time, a big event, so that was my early musical life. And then when I graduated from high school, I decided to be a nurse. In fact, my mother had always wanted to be a nurse and so I always thought I wanted to be. I went to Johns Hopkins Hospital School of Nursing right out of high school, finished there in '57 and
married the same year and went to North Carolina. And there at Chapel Hill, after a couple of years of working as a public health nurse, I finished a degree. My undergraduate degree was a Bachelor of Science in Public Health Nursing, from Chapel Hill.
I worked a couple of years, but then I quit to have babies. And I really didn't get back into music until my children were partly grown up. And then as a faculty wife, I started using the University of Richmond Music Library and found it an interesting place.
And when I decided to go back to work part time, I looked in nursing things but didn't see anything that I wanted to do. So I got a part-time job here as a clerk in the Music Library and loved it from the word "go," from the first day.
JEP: So you really came up through the ranks, so to speak.
BH: I did. I say I came through the back door, because that's what I did. It was a nine-month, half time job, which suited me fine, with children. But I really wanted to know more about this immediately, and I started looking for ways to find out how to do this kind of job better, maybe how to become a music librarian. This was in a departmental library, you know, not part of the main library. And so I was assigned the job of cataloging the music, which was scores and recordings; that's all the library had. And I didn't know how to catalog.
JEP: Did somebody just sit you down and say "Catalog these?"
BH: Well, we had some NUC's that somebody had been smart enough to buy and so I would look in there for the closest thing I could find to what I had in my hand and try to use the principles that I saw being used there. But I did get to go to a workshop at Library of Congress that first year, which gave me some clues. I found out there was such a thing as AACR.
Then the next summer I started going to summer school at SUNY Geneseo. The first course I took was [a] Classification course, because that's what I thought was the name of what I was doing; of course, I needed a Cataloging one. But I didn't know that.
So I began to get smarter. And I went for summers from 1971 to '75. I finished a library degree there in the summers. And in the meantime, I started taking music courses, because I'd never had anything except music appreciation in college. I started taking theory and history courses here in the wintertime, for credit. So I made up the number of semester hours that University of Maryland required to go into the Master's degree program.
JEP: The Masters, to start the Masters in Music? In Music History.
JEP: OK. So you got your library degree at Geneseo. And then the Master's at Maryland.
BH: That's right.
JEP: Oh, that's neat. So when was the Master's degree?
BH: I took a year's leave of absence and was in residence there '80 to '81 and then I finished my thesis in '83. And got the degree, the second Masters.
JEP: I was noticing your "30 years of service" tray. That's beautiful. When was that?
BH: Two years ago. I finished my 32nd year this year.
JEP: That's great. So , the job has changed tremendously over time. What would you pick out to say how it has changed?
BH: Well, of course, we've taken on the teaching role while I've been here. There was none of that when I first came. It became very big once we became a branch library because our University Librarian was very much into librarians as teachers, librarians as faculty. He managed to get us faculty status in the '70s. And he took the model of…what is the school in Ohio that does so much of that? I can't think of the name of the school—anyway, of going in and teaching course-related instruction. He wanted us to do that. And I started to teach a little mini-course to the students about how to find things in the Music Library and how to use the basic reference sources. And I've kind of developed that through the years.
Another thing that's developed has been reaching out to the whole university campus. The Music Library, of course, when it belonged to the department, was only for the department, but once we became a branch, and after that, I began thinking more and more about serving the rest of the university campus. And in fact we've gotten a lot more service courses in the department through the years. So we have a lot more non-major use and non_music faculty use of the library than we used to have.
And I really work on outreach now, particularly because of the location of this newer library: we're off the beaten track, as you know. You have to be coming here to find it. You don't necessarily wander by. So we've done things like advertising in the Commons with big banners: "Come to the Music Library. You can borrow CDs," that kind of thing.
I've run a lunchtime concert series since the '80s in the spring and fall; a series of concerts that are sponsored by the Music Library where local musicians, who are professionals, come and perform for the university community. And I get some money every year. I have, every time I've asked for it from the Cultural Affairs Committee, which co-sponsors it with me. Then I use it to take a little cart of related materials down to the concert, which has been held in recent years in that outside atrium in the Modlin Center.
JEP: I bet that's lovely.
BH: It has good acoustics; it's visible, and it's beautiful. So our staffing now, Lynne Smith, who's my assistant, is three-quarters time year-round. And then during the school year we have about 15 assistants who keep the library open in the evening and weekend hours, two at a time, working together.
And I've taken on the editing of program notes for the department, partly because I can see that as developing out of my attempt to teach them. I've had a course for the last few years, which was six class sessions with music majors and minors in their beginning theory course because that's where the department could spare the class hours.
We had this little project we would do, each session I would give them—oh, one would be on basic music library reference books, just the big three: the Grove, the Baker's, and the Harvard. Those are the three we'd do in one class. And the next one, I would teach them how to use the catalog to find materials and teach them how to find material about a piece of music that you're going to be performing. I'd ask them to choose a piece they're going to be doing on rep because they're required to do program notes for their rep recitals. Then we would go into how to do a bibliography, a very short bibliography out of the materials, and then how to write a program note. I would use that as their final exam—they had to write a program note. So then I edit their program notes though the rest of their career as students. I see what they're doing.
JEP: Oh, so you edit all of the recitals for the students. You don't do the faculty ones. But still, that must be a huge job.
BH: It's a lot of work. At times, it's full time, you know toward the end of the spring semester.
JEP: Are there things you particularly liked about this position?
BH: I think it's a real good job, partly because it is so varied. You don't do the same thing all day most days. I do my own cataloging, which I like to do. I wouldn't want to do it full time, but I love doing it half time, to a quarter time, whenever I have time. I really enjoy reference work. It's a lot of fun. I think the most fun part of librarianship, because of the detective work, [is] helping people. And I enjoy the student assistants a whole lot. Sometimes they're a lot of trouble; I always seem to like the rascals best.
JEP: Oh, do you?
BH: Some little glitch in my personality. But anyway, I kind of enjoy all of that and will miss the students, I know. They wished me goodbye when they left in the spring with a big banner and a whole bunch of gifts that they had gotten together.
JEP: Oh my goodness! Isn't that lovely.
BH: And now when they come back, I guess I'm still going to be here. Because the search failed, did I tell you?
JEP: You said.
BH: They didn't find anyone, so I'm going to stay through the second week of classes. They're going to try again…to find someone temporary too. I don't know. It's a great job! If you know if anybody…
JEP: Well, we'll put that in the interview.
BH: Because it's a very pleasant environment as you can see. It's a relaxed kind of environment unlike many libraries I know. And it's well financed. It's a very nice faculty to work with. Our student body, for the most part: a really fine bunch of young people.
JEP: So, were there things you didn't like about this job? Or do you want me to turn off the tape recorder?
BH: No, you had that on the list [I'd sent a list of topics in advance—JEP] so I've had time to think about it.
BH: Really, there were only a couple of things I could think of. One is that, because we're staffed with students in the evening and weekend hours, I'm more or less always on call. Not that I get called very often. But there's always—when…it's right in the middle of something—that I really don't want to deal with it. And I've had to come over occasionally to fill a gap because somebody fell by the wayside. I will be glad not to have to do that anymore.
The only other thing that I think of that I don't love I've already mentioned, and that's classroom teaching. At times it can be very rewarding. When it works and they're with you, it's very rewarding. But to me, a lot, it's frustrating. Maybe it's only when you're only trying to teach library stuff which is, by its very nature, not exciting.
JEP: Is there anything you would want to say about the new library and the whole construction process? How it disrupted your life…
BH: It was quite a long, drawn-out adventure. It was well worth it now, from this side. But that kind of thing is exhausting and frustrating. You always lose some things you had hoped to get. But on the whole, we came out very well. Originally, I had suggested, and the faculty had agreed, that it would be good to think about the possibility of a fine arts library, because this was to be a fine arts center. The art department already had a slide library that they had asked me to take over at one time when I had just one little room for the music library. And there was no way that I could take on any more.
So we talked about that; in fact that's how we ended up in the bridge between art, theater, and music, because the architects still thought we might be going for an arts library. So that had to be given up. The provost nixed it, or maybe the art department nixed it—I've never been sure what happened. That didn't come through.
So we ended up with a music library. And that seemed like a loss at the time because I thought it would have been appropriate to have. That would have been a challenge; it would have been fun to take on. We had concern because we were in a corner of what is now the Booker Hall of Music, but right next to where this construction was going to be going on and we thought we probably couldn't survive there because of the noise.
They put up barriers on our windows. We had a contingency plan whereby if reserve listening couldn't be done in that room, they could take a portable player up, go someplace where they could hear it. But it never happened. We really didn't have that problem. We did have to move for a year to the main library while they renovated Booker Hall and finished this space. Two moves, a year apart. But we found a little space over there that worked out pretty well; really did not disrupt service much.
JEP: Librarians are resourceful people; we just seem to figure out how to make it work, I think.
BH: It's true. I think one of my strengths has always been for some reason, being able to make space work. I can sort of tell how much space you're going to need. I remember, because it was just mind-boggling to try to figure out how to shelve things, where to shelve things because we had all this more shelf space—we had all the books to add, we had all the material out of storage which would be inter-shelved with what we'd already had on the shelves…
JEP: …oh, boy…
BH: …and to try and figure out where to put which part of the collection as we took it out of boxes. We had to do it ourselves, by the way. We had to move ourselves, with the help of students. Anyway, I figured it out myself on paper, and it worked amazingly well. We didn't have to move things for a couple of years at all.
JEP: That's great.
BH: So I'm proud of that.
JEP: So are there any other accomplishments? I'd say that's a pretty decent accomplishment, right there.
BH: Well, the development of the library has been my proudest accomplishment. We were a little departmental hole in the wall when I came.
JEP: And now you're a real music library.
BH: And because I've made myself qualified, I think, I've gradually improved the image of the Music Library in the eyes of the faculty.
JEP: Let's switch and talk for a minute about professional associations. I don't know if you want to talk any about MLA? But certainly you were active in the Chesapeake Chapter, and now, Atlantic Chapter.
BH: When I first heard about MLA in 1971, I guess it was they were meeting in Puerto Rico.
JEP: Everybody talks about that meeting.
BH: Puerto Rico! And that's the first I ever hear of it. I thought "Oh heavens! I can never go to MLA meetings if they're all over the place like that." I was making, what, $2,000 a year. There's no way. And I thought, "Well that's the kind of organization this is." But then I found out that they usually don't meet so far off.
The first meeting I went to was I think in Boston. Then I learned about the chapters. And really, as an isolated music librarian with no other music librarians to mentor me or to work with me at all, MLA is where I learned how to be a music librarian in many ways—both the chapter and the national meetings. So I've never missed a meeting.
BH: Pretty much all of these years, whenever I could.
JEP: Well, I hope you'll keep coming.
BH: My other MLA activities: I chaired the Dynix Music Users Group. We were in Dynix, and we organized that first users' group at MLA for Dynix. I was chair of the Joint Committee for MLA Archives…
JEP: Of course, that's right.
BH: …before you, from '93 to '97. I served on the Nominating Committee one year for national MLA, I was president of the chapter, '85 to '86. I couldn't have told you the years without looking it up: Publications Committee for 10 years, from '84 to '94, co-chairing it '87 to '94. And I think that's mainly my MLA activities. But I've been a very faithful attender, note-taker.
JEP: So you're just going to see what strikes you for retirement. You're not going to come back and volunteer at the Public Services Desk?
BH: I don't think so.
BH: I have a list, a big list, of things I've always wanted to try and haven't had time to do that I need to do. And I've saved them for retirement. So I'm going to just look at my list and decide what appeals first. I actually have my name on a waiting list for a trip to China this fall.
JEP: Excellent. Well I wish you lots of luck and good health and to see you all the time. Maybe now you'll come over and have lunch with us at UVA sometime. You can visit us when you have a little bit more time.
BH: I'd love to. It makes a good day trip.
JEP: It's an excellent day trip. So, thanks so much, Bonny. It's been wonderful to talk to you.
BH: Thank you, Jane; it's been fun.
It's Ravel's Bolero,"
observed a staff member of the notational background of large departmental signs
In 1997 the Presser Foundation asked the publishing and retail operations to explore leaving the familiar green warehouse by the Main Line tracks in Bryn Mawr, PA that the Company had occupied since 1949. The Presser Company, which through its Ditson subsidiary traces its history to 1783, was founded in 1883 publishing The Etude magazine, and opened its first retail store in 1889 at 1704 Chestnut St. in Philadelphia. The store moved in 1893 to a larger building at 1708 Chestnut and again in 1903 when Presser's bought 1712-1714 Chestnut St.
The Philadelphia branch of the retail store is still on Chestnut St. at no. 1718 inside Jacobs Music. Presser Company President Thomas Broido noted that the search took him to 60 different buildings, which needed to accommodate the warehouse and retail store in a single location. They rejected one workable property in Folcroft, PA as too far off the retail path.
On February 15, 2001, professional movers began the monumental task of packing for the transportation of more than eight linear miles of inventory. Forty-four semi-trailer loads were moved using 1,390 rolling shelf units and 23.9 miles of stretch wrap. Tom Broido observed that Presser chose the highest-bidding company, Wayne Moving & Storage of West Chester, PA, because of its superior plan that minimized disruption of the businesses: the rental department stayed in operation throughout the move and the retail store was closed for only two and a half days. They had shipped everything ordered up to just three hours before closing. The move was completed on March 2.
Set a web browser to www.presser.com and click on Retail Stores for photographs of the bright, high-ceilinged King of Prussia store, which is 25% larger than in Bryn Mawr. In the warehouse, all-new 15-foot-high shelving divided into barcoded bins is accessed by electric lift truck and rolling stairs. Computer tracking of a stock item by the barcode number of its bin means no shelf-shifting. Any empty bin, regardless of location, can become the home for a new quantity of stock. The rental department occupies compact mobile shelving systems.
Moving from 50,000 square feet in Bryn Mawr to a more strategically used 31,000 square feet necessitated divesting some materials. The Library of Congress is the new home of the Theodore Presser archives, including company records, proof copies and engraving plates. The warehouse stock is limited to five years of inventory. The Presser Foundation consulted with Maryland-based EMG about the Bryn Mawr property resulting in its sale to Baker Properties for retail and office development.
John Anderies, Music Librarian
at Haverford College, was given the Gerboth Award by the Music Li-
Music information objects such as sound recordings, scores, librettos, videos, or literature about music, are useful objects in and of themselves. Yet in many circumstances, the value of a music information object is increased when it is used in collaboration with other music information objects, most especially with variant manifestations of the same work. A musical score is richer when it is used alongside a related object such as a sound recording of the same work. An opera video may make more sense if it is accompanied by a translation of the libretto.
These complementary items abound in music libraries, and a well-constructed library catalog will make something of these relationships, providing links from one object's representation to another. But fully to appreciate the possibility of the collocative ability of a catalog (and by extension, the collocative potential within a collection), the music information objects themselves should be connected digitally. They should be accessible online and in an interface that allows them to be used concurrently.
The Tri-College Libraries Project
The overall goal of this project is to bring together music information objects in an electronic environment. As usual, the goal is not hard to achieve—in theory. But it is the technological problems that must guide the project and lead to practical solutions. While the larger goal is to provide an interface for accessing many different types of music information objects (including, perhaps, multiple recordings that could be compared back to back, or streaming video with a corresponding textual element), the project will begin by exploring methods of combining streaming audio with scanned score images. At Haverford College, we have served digitized audio for course reserves since Fall 1999.
While the online reserve system for music has been quite successful in terms of student use, there is still much more that can be done to improve the pedagogical experience of our students in the classroom and in their individual study outside of class. Haverford's position as a member of the Tri-Co makes for an excellent opportunity to build upon our successes in digital audio by building a core collection of integrated digital objects that may be used in and out of the classroom by faculty and students from all three colleges. Opportunities abound for the exploration of sharing digital resources and serving digital content remotely.
Catherine Dixon, Chief of the Music and Recreation Division of the D.C. Public Library from 1995-June 2002 has recently accepted the position of Librarian/Research Specialist at the Music Division of the Library of Congress. She began at the Library of Congress in July 2002.
After twelve years serving Princeton University and its music department, the first eight in charge of the Music Listening Library, and the final four as Assistant Music Librarian at the new Mendel Music Library, Tom Moore moved a few miles down the road to become Music/Media Librarian at The College of New Jersey in Ewing, New Jersey. He joins fellow MLAers Taras Pavlovsky (now Dean of the Library) and Marlena Frackowski on a library staff with the highest density of music librarians on the planet.
Welcome to our new members
Jane Cross joined the United States Marine Band as a librarian in May 1997. Originally from Tennessee, she received her B.A. in Music and English from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. She's currently finishing up her M.L.S. at the University of Maryland. In addition to having freelanced with the National Symphony Orchestra Library and worked with Gillian Anderson, she occasionally plays clarinet in the D.C. area and enjoys anything outdoors, especially hiking and gardening.
Paul Frank came to the Library of Congress in 1993 as a Hungarian and Slavic languages library technician on the Central and East European Languages Team in the Social Sciences Cataloging Division. In 1997, he moved to the Music and Sound Recordings Team in the Special Materials Cataloging Division, where he became a music cataloger, working primarily with Slavic materials and Slavic language special collections. Paul is a member of MLA as well as the Library of Congress liaison to the MARC Formats Subcommittee of the Bibliographic Control Committee.
Thomas Pease has been the Music Librarian for Washington's classical/NPR station WETA-FM 90.9 since May 2000. His duties include auditioning new CDs, cataloging, reference and research, and database support. Thom obtained his undergraduate degree in music history from the College of Wooster in Ohio (B.Mus.) and has done graduate coursework in arts management at American University. He sings with the Washington National Cathedral Choral Society and is on their music committee. Thom is currently taking courses in multimedia audio recording and streaming from Northern Virginia Community College, and he hopes to return to graduate school in the future to obtain his M.L.S.
Beth Royall joined West Virginia University as Creative Arts Librarian in August 2001. Prior to this she enjoyed three years at the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana in the Art, Music and Audiovisual Department. Before throwing caution to the wind and attending library school at the University of Texas, Austin, she ran an independent piano studio in Topeka, Kansas. Beth holds a B.Mus. from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and an M.Mus. from Kansas State University.
Lisa Woznicki is currently working as a reference librarian at Towson University in Baltimore, Maryland. She serves as the library liaison to music and theatre and is responsible for bibliographic instruction for each of these departments. Lisa holds a degree in English literature and also went on to graduate school at CLIS at UM. She worked for a while in public libraries and is now thrilled to be working with the performing arts where her heart lies.
Send comments or suggestions to: Brian Cockburn