What's the score at the Bodleian?

Help us to describe the Libraries' digitised music collections


Cleopatra Galop (cover)The principal aim of the project is to investigate a cost-effective approach to increasing access to music scores from the Bodleian’s collections, to be achieved by a combination of rapid digitization and the creation of descriptive metadata through crowd-sourcing. A recent pilot study concluded that traditional retrospective cataloguing of the music collections would require extensive funding and would take many years to achieve, and it is intended that the methodology and outcomes of this project should be used to inform a more economical approach to creating access to other material in the Bodleian.

The approach will be two-fold: firstly to undertake all procedures associated with the online delivery of digital surrogates for a proposed selection of material (to include basic descriptive metadata, conservation, tracking, delivery platform and preservation); and secondly to create an environment which allows for, and encourages, the enhancement of the basic metadata through crowd-sourcing and additional features such as Music OCR and online performances.

A sequence of unbound and uncatalogued music scores will form the main body of material selected for the initial phase of the project, comprising 64 boxes of sheet music, mostly for piano, from the mid-Victorian period which includes dance music and other pieces designed for home entertainment, many with illustrated covers. The value of this material is explored in the Research Context page.

The crowd-sourcing interface, hosted by Zooniverse, has now been launched along with a companion website, produced by the Bodleian, containing the scanned sheet music and some metadata which will be gradually enriched by the addition of the crowd-sourced descriptions. Meanwhile, you can follow progress on the Project Blog.

Start describing

The project is being funded by Google and overseen by a number of Project Participants.

Image: Front cover of "The Cleopatra Galop" by Charles d'Albert.

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