Making Concert History: Performance Data and Archives in the Digital Age

An Invited Symposium at the British Library (Foyle Room, Conservation Centre)

Saturday 29 November 2014, 10.00 – 5.00

A symposium bringing together musicologists and historians, librarians and archivists, data analysts and computer scientists, to discuss issues of mutual interest around musical performance history.

While there have been many database projects over the past decades, each has developed its own structure and methodology; and often the sheer volume of material, both physical and online, has presented seemingly insuperable challenges and questions about cost-benefit. At the same time, librarians and archivists face increasing demands and expectations from scholars and from the general public, against a background of diminishing resources (in this connection, IAML has set up a Working Group on Access to Performance Ephemera). At a more conceptual level, the very term ‘concert programme’ represents both an event and an artefact, raising immediate and intriguing issues around representation.

Technological developments and new ways of thinking about data open up new possibilities for ‘big data’ collection on a very large scale, as well as more flexible and sophisticated ways of interrogating this data, way beyond the simple ‘first performance’ or ‘my great-grandfather’ enquiries that are so familiar to us all. There are major implications both for how data is structured and for how artefacts themselves are preserved.

  • What are the most pressing issues for music historians and for archivists?
  • How might these issues be addressed by new technologies and approaches to data?
  • What kinds of projects are currently underway nationally and internationally?
  • How can we all benefit from collaboration and data-sharing?
  • What are the main barriers to future development?
  • How might we make use of crowdsourcing and the knowledge of amateur enthusiasts?
  • What issues arise in terms of quality assurance?
  • And around open access and intellectual property?
  • What can we learn from the experience of other disciplines?

As  one outcome of this symposium, we hope to establish some kind of network for the future, with the possibility of a major funding bid, and also to contribute to the IAML/IMS conference on Music Research in the Digital Age, to be held next June in New York.

Getting to the British Library


One thought on “seminar”

Comments are closed.

Towards a Collaborative Digital Archive of Musical Ephemera