|The Sibley Muse|
Newsletter of the Sibley Music Library
THE SIBLEY MUSE is published three times a year by the Sibley Music Library, Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester, 27 Gibbs Street, Rochester, NY 14604. Jim Farrington, Editor. ISSN: 0161-1690
INSIDE THIS ISSUE:
Among all the subjects taught at academic institutions, librarians know that the most difficult material for which to provide access is music. Couple that fact with the sheer size of Sibley (with nearly three-quarters of a million items on our shelves, we are the largest academic music library in North America), and it’s easy to see why the people who use Sibley can become confused, even discouraged trying to find what they are after. Further, while online catalogs such as Voyager are powerful once you know how to use them properly, they are not necessarily intuitive.
These issues have existed for many years. Indeed, library instruction has been a feature of an Eastman education since the days of Ruth Watanabe, Sibley’s second librarian. The forms that bibliographic instruction takes today are many. MM/PRL students have a required course in Music Bibliography (MHS480) taught every semester by Sibley staff.
Most often, though, we have perhaps a single opportunity in front of a class to give some basic information. For example, for the past two years Jim Farrington has had an opportunity to teach one class of the Freshman Colloquium. While not an “introduction to Voyager” kind of session, various library issues about editions of scores are examined. This fall he also had a chance to talk to each Humanities 101 course about what non-music-specific resources are available here at Eastman and through Rush Rhees Library. Similarly Linda Blair has often met with Music Education classes. This kind of instruction is readily applicable since students were able to use this information to prepare term papers on the topics covered.
A very effective method of showing students some of the riches in Sibley has been when studio classes have spent a session in the library. After an introduction to reference works and periodicals that are core to their instrument or field of study, students are introduced to the arrangement of Sibley and how to find out what music we own. A tour of the library typically concludes with some time in the Ruth T. Watanabe Special Collections where David Peter Coppen shows some of the rare and special items from the vault related to their instrument. Most recently William McIver’s studio took advantage of such a session, but we have also had the harp, horn, viola, and other studios here over the past few years.Contact Jim Farrington to set up future sessions.
Perhaps the most effective instruction we do is at the reference desk. People who need help finding something ask highly trained staff and students and are shown not only how to find that item or kind of information, but by extension how they can use these techniques and sources for future searching. In the end, whatever method students and faculty are most comfortable with to become more efficient users of Sibley and its resources we are happy to accommodate.
The Fall 2002 Student Services Survey included the following observation among the Sibley-related comments: “Voyager is difficult to use . . . I am often skeptical of the results that I receive on any given search.” My own observation is that online catalogs of all types (not just Voyager) can, in fact, be difficult to use—until one has received some basic instruction and then thought carefully about the best way to construct a search for a particular item. There are search options, and a single type of search, e.g., keyword, does not necessarily work well for all types of retrieval possibilities. The problem is not so much with online catalogs as it is with two of the issues that we musicians inevitably face when searching for scores or recordings: 1) composers who are voluminous in terms of their artistic production (e.g., Vivaldi, Telemann, Haydn, or Liszt), and 2) genre-based titles such as “concerto,” “sonata,” or “symphony.” In short, we frequently deal with large files and titles that may not be distinctive, e.g., 893 items under Vivaldi—many of them bearing the title “concerto,” or 2,208 items under Joseph Haydn. So how does one find an efficient path through such mazes?
First, realize that these searches are by their nature complex, requiring time, patience, and a willingness to be thorough.
Second, at the “Search by:” menu on the Voyager screen, scroll down to the search type labeled “Author—Sorted by Title.” This search type—more than any other—arranges the generic titles of voluminous composers in a way that brings various manifestations of a single work (regardless of their published titles—“concerto for piano,” “piano concerto,” “Klavierkonzert”) together under a single “uniform” title, e.g., “Concertos, piano, orchestra, K.467, C major.” This artificial title serves to bring together all manifestations of this work—whether in score or recording—held by Sibley Music Library. Searching the catalog in this fashion goes a long way toward eliminating that feeling of skepticism: “Am I really finding every version the library has of this work?”
Third, ask for help! Reference desk staff are trained and eager to help you construct the best search strategy when using our online catalog. For some searches the option described here may be most efficient; for other searches a “keyword” search or a “title” search may be best.
No matter what libraries or online systems we encounter as musicians, we need to realize that music presents some difficult and even unique retrieval problems. Patience and the willingness to ask for help will go a long way toward getting that score or recording in hand. Finally, take advantage of the various opportunities for bibliographic instruction that our Head of Public Services, Jim Farrington, describes elsewhere in this issue of the Muse.
Please join us in welcoming Mary Peters as our new Acquisitions and Serials Assistant. Mary has filled the position recently vacated by Brenda Robak, who left in September to take a viola position with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra. Mary comes to us from the Rochester Public Library where she worked in Interlibrary Loan and Circulation. Mary was a music major at SUNY Fredonia with a concentration in music history and literature. Her primary instrument was the violin. We are pleased to have Mary on our staff.
Jennifer Kim will join the Technical Services Department later in December as the new cataloger for the Eastman Ensemble Library. Jennifer, a student at the School of Informatics, SUNY University at Buffalo, will be receiving her M.L.S. in February. She has experience cataloging at the Rush Rhees Library and at the George Eastman House, and many years of experience as a performing flutist. Jennifer's position, currently half-time, was formerly held by Claire Michelle Viola, who is now the Eastman School Audio Archivist.
At the International Society of Bassists’ conference in Richmond, Virginia in June 2003, Igor Pecevski will present "Bass and the Library". The lecture will feature resources relevant to the double bass players interested in finding the music, articles, books and other bass related resources in the library, and the on-line tools that could benefit bassists. In addition, he will be joining the early music panel during the same conference.
In October, Jennifer Bowen participated in a four-day library management workshop at Syracuse University presented by the Association of Research Libraries' Office of Leadership & Management Services. She also was one of five presenters from the University of Rochester at a plenary session of the Mid-Atlantic Voyager Users Group meeting at Cornell on October 28th. Slides from the session, entitled Visioning Voyager, are here.
Jim Farrington was busy with sound recordings during early November. Over the first weekend he chaired the Board of Directors meeting of the Association for Recorded Sound Collections (of which he is President), and the following week went to Washington, DC for a meeting of the National Recordings Preservation Board. The latter meeting featured a stimulating discussion of the most historically, culturally, and/or artistically important sound recordings made during the past 125 year history of the medium. The purpose of this discussion was to help guide Dr. James Billington, the Librarian of Congress, as he makes the choices for the first fifty selections of the National Recordings Register.
Also in October, David Peter Coppen, Jim, Gerry Szymanski, and Dale Vargason attended the annual New York State/Ontario Chapter of the Music Library Association conference held at SUNY Potsdam. The two-day event included several interesting sessions, including Gerry’s presentation entitled Fit for a Queen: Music for the Coronation of Elizabeth II, which he also presented here at Sibley in November.
The Eastman Audio Archive regularly showcases recordings from the collection that are of particular interest to the musical community through its Take-Note Series. Beginning in January 2003, the latest in this series, “William Warfield at Eastman,” will be available at Sibley Music Library’s Recordings and Reserves desk.
It was with deep sadness that the Eastman community learned of the death of William Warfield on August 25, 2002, at the age of 82. This special addition to the Take-Note Series is intended to allow friends and admirers of Warfield to listen to and remember an extraordinary musician and human being. Hopefully it will also open the eyes of those not yet familiar with Warfield to this amazing, world-renowned performer. The recordings comprise 17 separate concerts on which William Warfield sang from 1941, when he was an undergraduate student, all the way to the year 2000, when he returned to Eastman to narrate Joseph Schwantner’s New Morning for the World and be presented with the Distinguished Alumni Award.
Recordings of these 17 concerts may be checked out individually along with a copy of the concert program at the Recordings and Reserves desk, and listened to in the adjoining Listening Room. Brochures available at the Sibley Music Library and elsewhere at Eastman list the pieces Warfield sings and notes his accompanist for each concert. Please take the time to listen to and remember William Warfield.