Open-Access Digital Dissemination of Rare Sheet Music from a Special Collection
Gerber, Steven K.
The International Music Score Library Project (“IMSLP;” imslp.org) is an open-access digital repository of downloadable public-domain music. Its holdings, uploaded primarily by volunteer librarians, include high-quality scans of manuscripts and early imprints held in special collections around the world, which can be of interest to musicologists and performers alike. Among other musical rarities, George Mason University Libraries own a set of six owner-bound volumes of sheet music collected and played by American writer and reformer Julia Ward Howe between approximately 1835 and 1855. Some of the imprints represent musical compositions that are undiscoverable in any other WorldCat library. In collaboration with Special Collections staff, I have begun the process of digitizing selected compositions and uploading as PDFs to IMSLP under Mason’s siglum. This project illustrates open, digital dissemination of primary resources for scholarship in history and biography without the need for populating and maintaining a server for these images at the university.
Short illustrated paper given at annual conference of Virginia Library Association (VLA) in Norfolk, VA, on October 24, 2019.
Music, scores, digitization, open-access