You bring up some interesting points. It is very important to base the
description on the needs of the researcher, whether the archival (for
whom I would use EAD) or the musicological (for whom I would not).
We're getting ready to use EAD for a musical archival collection, but
we'll be very careful to not confuse this as a vehicle for providing
research aids for musicologists. Liz Shaw is right about the tag abuse
issue. Cramming musicological description into random, non-specific EAD
tags will do nothing to improve the lack of standardization for digital
library initiatives focused on musical resources.
Given that musical description is as complex as it is, I rather hope
that MLA and ISMIR can come up with their own standard(s) as opposed to
latching onto an existing general descriptive specification. I know the
International Music Metadata Projects Working Group is about to work on
these issues. Not only is musical description complex, but it has
numerous other issues and related data sets that can (and do) surround
it. There could be room for modularity in music-specific standards for
things like notation, administrative rights/technical metadata, file
specifications of associated audio files (midi, mp3, ogg, wav, aiff,
etc.), and perhaps most importantly, transliteration of authorities. So
I'm not sure making EAD even more flexible and general for another
sector of the library world is the best solution. The best approach is
probably to develop music-specific extension schema for use with METS.
> I gave a talk about EAD and music description at the last annual
> meeting of the Music Library Association. Briefly, I think the
> primary issue that needs to be resolved is how to reconcile EAD's
> strengths with the expectations of music researchers.
> The conflict arises out of the nature of archival research. Archival
> researchers want to look through large amounts of material--as
> Elizabeth said--ideally in hierarchical arrangement, whereas music
> researchers OVERWHEMLINGLY want specific information for individual
> works. In the archival world, providing item-specific description is
> generally viewed as being too labor intensive, whereas for people
> wanting music, it's viewed as a *fundamental* necessity.
> On the other hand, cataloging individual musical works according to
> library standards is not just labor intensive but also expensive, so
> EAD can serve as suitable shortcut if one is comfortable in replacing
> the complexities of library retrieval systems with the as yet still
> rudimentary retrieval systems available for EAD. (I have done this
> with numerous finding aids I've processed/encoded for the Music
> Division of The New York Public Library.)
> After I finished my talk, Judy Tsou, one of the people who served on
> the original task force in formulating EAD, mentioned that it is
> probably possible to make EAD more attentive to the needs of music
> description. One only need look at the Anglo-American Cataloging
> Rules (2nd. ed. rev.), to realize that not only does music take up an
> inordinate amount of space, but in many ways the issues of cataloging
> music have guided cataloging in general (no doubt because some of the
> important leaders in creating AACR2r are music catalogers).
> So if music catalogers/archivists were to commit themselves to
> becoming part of the EAD development task force, there probably would
> be further refinements that might alter the course of EAD development.
> Bob Kosovsky, Ph.D., Librarian
> Music Division -- The New York Public Library
> Listowner: [log in to unmask] ; [log in to unmask]
> My opinions do not necessarily represent those of my institutions.