Bretherton, David, Smith, Daniel Alexander, schraefel, mc, Polfreman, Richard, Everist, Mark, Brooks, Jeanice and Lambert, Joe
Orchestrating musical (meta)data to better address the real-world search queries of musicologists.
At 5th IEEE International Conference on e-Science
The dispersal of musicology?s diverse array of primary and secondary sources across countless libraries and archives was once an enormous obstacle to conducting research, but this has largely been overcome by the digitisation and online publication of resources in recent years. Yet, while the research process has undoubtedly been revolutionised, the current situation is far from perfect, as the digitisation of resources has often been accompanied by their segregation?according to media type, date of publication, subject, language, copyright holder, etc.?into a myriad of discrete online repositories, often with little thought having been given to interoperability. Given that musicological research typically cuts across such artificial divisions, this segregation of data means that accessing basic factual information or running multi-part search queries remains endlessly complicated, needlessly time consuming, and sometimes impossible. This barrier to tractability is only exacerbated by the limited capabilities of currently deployed search interfaces. There is one seemingly obvious solution to this query dilemma: enable integrated real-time querying over all the available metadata from as many sources as possible, and allow users to use that metadata to guide their queries. This solution implies that all data that could feasibly be construed as useful, but which is buried in the records, is extracted in some way, and that there is an interaction approach that enables metadata to be explored effectively and allows for the formulation of rich compound queries. The musicSpace project has taken a dual approach towards realising this solution. At the back-end we are developing services to integrate and, where necessary, surface (meta)data from many of musicology?s most important online resources, including the British Library Music Collections catalogue, the British Library Sound Archive catalogue, Cecilia, Copac, Grove Music Online, ?axos Music Library, ??pertoire International de Litt?rature Musicale (RILM), and ??pertoire International des Sources Musicale (RISM) UK and Ireland. While at the front-end, in order to optimise the exploration of this integrated dataset, we are developing a modern web-based faceted browsing interface that utilises Semantic Web and Web2.0 technologies such as ?DF and AJAX, and which is based on the existing ?mSpace? codebase. Our poster outlines the approach we have taken to importing, enriching and integrating the metadata provided by our data partners, and gives examples of the real-world musicological research questions that musicSpace has enabled.
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