By reinventing the wheel I mean that the geeks at Wired seem to think that there have never been any listings of recordings before on-line music services, and that they probably have never heard the word discography or have ever seen one. The line about making a list of songs and using a "unique identifier" is what really set me off. "Music services already apply their own unique identifiers to songs in their catalogs" and that these geeks think that unifying these numbers is THE way to go, is frightening. The records already have their own unique identifiers -- they are the matrix numbers and the company catalog numbers, not numbers made up by the music services. I also doubt that they realize that there were recordings before CDs. I also wonder if they know that before computers there were things known as books. And while most of the great discographies of the world are not on databases that can be seen on computer screens, I sometimes find it much easier to do research with eight or ten discographies spread out open on a table then having to click from window to window to window on a computer screen. I agree that Rigler-Deutsch is a rats nets, because although my signature is on the title page of the final report (I just happened to be ARSC president when it was completed -- I didn't have anything substantial to do with compiling it) I couldn't convince the librarians of the AAA who controlled the RDRI, that record collectors without library science degrees might be capable of cleaning up the files created by the minimally trained data entry personnel. I had proposed distributing the label films to expert collectors who could clean up the computer entries, but they didn't think that people who have spent their entire lives with records could do things like "attempt a controlled vocabulary of songs, artists" etc. Yet that is what collectors have done for more years than there have been library catalogs of records. I had a group of experienced collectors just salivating at the thought of getting a couple of films for a year or so and correcting the database -- for free, I might add -- but there was an aversion among the professionals to let the amateurs correct their work. The wheel was already invented by Brian Rust, Tom Lord, John Bruninx, Charles Delauney, Michel Ruppli, Frank Andrews, Pekka Gronow, Tim Brooks, Ross Laird, Julian Morton Moses, Carl Kendzioria, Walt Allen, George Blacker, Malcolm Rockwell, Allen Koenigsburg, Steve Barr, Robert Dixon, John Godrich, Tony Russel, Bill Moran, Ted Fagen, John Bolig, Reiner Lotz, and yes, Dick Spotswood among many, many others. And I might add that most of these names are people who were from the collectors community. Tom Lord's Jazz Discography is available on line or CD-Rom, and Rockwell's and some of Ruppli's are on CD-Rom. There are all sorts of on-line discography projects including the Victor Project, Brian, JazzDiscography.com, national discography projects in Sweden and several other countries, and many others that slip my mind right now. (Steve Barr can probably name them all.) There had been an ARSC computerized project about 10 years ago that fell through, utilizing a program which made data entry unified and was going to be based on existing discographies like those mentioned above. It is when "outsiders" like the Wired geeks recommend starting over with the sources being the on-line music service lists without knowing what has already been compiled by experts, that is most problematic. Mike Biel [log in to unmask] -------- Original Message -------- From: Joel Bresler <[log in to unmask]> Hi, Mike, could you please amplify a bit on your answer? I thought the Wired article was thought provoking. WorldCat, perhaps the largest repository of discographic information, is not a database. It grows willy nilly, and there is no attempt at a controlled vocabulary of songs, artists, and so forth. No tying together of 78s with their re-release on LP, CD, etc. The Rigler-Deutsch database is a worthy try, but the contents are a rats nest. Dick Spottswood's wonderful EMOR is in print form only, and is not a database per se. If they are talking about reinventing the wheel, please point us to the wheel!! Thanks, Joel Joel Bresler, Publisher www.sephardicmusic.org -----Original Message----- From: Michael Biel Reinventing the wheel. What is needed is a knowledge of DISCOGRAPHY among these computer geeks who think that nothing has happened outside their little world. Mike Biel [log in to unmask] -------- Original Message -------- From: "Schooley, John" <[log in to unmask]> http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2009/12/4-ways-one-big-database-would-help-music-fans-industry/ 4 Ways One Big Database Would Help Music Fans, Industry "The solution to this and other problems dogging the music industry could be forehead-slappingly simple: one big, free, public database with, at the very least, song titles in one column and unique identifiers in another. When online and mobile music services build their own content databases out of the labels' catalogs, they would have incentives to use the same numbers to identify each song, for the reasons laid out below. Music services already apply their own unique identifiers to songs in their catalogs, so the use of numbers is not the issue - they just need to be the same numbers. This database would have to be free, readily available and totally transparent, visible to music fans and industry people alike, because the barrier to entry for startups to use the system would have to be zero. Open source software making use of the data set, available on the same website, might encourage services to use the numbers."