Thursday, February 10, 2011

A few of my (new) favorite things

UPDATE 2011/02/16: After hours of trying one thing or another and finally contacting support, I finally figured out how to link directly to a specific bib record in Library World! I updated the links in the text to reflect the changes.
UPDATE 2011/02/17: Library World and I are not on good terms. The solution I had did not work. So, I've developed a two step system that may or may not work depending on the settings for your computer. I promise nothing. I can only say that this is the last time I am editing this post. I will move on to other things and probably never share any other catalog records as long as I am using this system. Before you proceed, click the following link to get you set up with the Anton Brees Carillon Library catalog. Then make sure you come back. 

Be prepared... there's a librarian post ahead!

For those of you who know me personally, you also know that I recently started a new job as a music librarian. I suppose there are many things that have prepared me for this job. I learned how to read music before I knew how to read words. That's pretty young since I was reading independently in Kindergarten (back before that was the norm). I started on the violin when I was 5 and switched to the piano a year later (there are many times that I've wished I would have stuck with the violin. It's so much more portable than a piano!). In addition to the instruments, I've always been a singer. I can carry a tune and stay in key without accompaniment, but I am no Mariah Carey with her crazy multi-octave vocal range.

My previous position as a catalog librarian also prepared me for the complex original cataloging that I now do on a daily basis. For you non-librarian readers, quite a bit of effort goes into creating a quality record for a score including all sorts of traceable entries so users of the catalog can co-locate the same piece in different publications (not that our particular catalog handles that real well, but I'm getting us ready should we ever be able to move to something more flexible). For an example of one of my records, check out this collection of music by noted carilloneur LaSalle Spier. All those added entries at the end take time, and they take even more time when the people arranging the music do a poor job of notating the designation/title for the original pieces. Or if the work in front of me is in a different language.

Just as a side note, here's a link to my favorite composition so far: For the planet with the smallest voice. I'm a little obsessed with Pluto (it's still a planet in my mind), and I think it is very cool that Gabriel Lubell combined two passions--astrophysics and composition--to create this piece. Granted I haven't heard it played, but it's still awesome.

For today's post, I wanted to share some of my favorite online resources, most of which I use on a daily basis to get my job as a music cataloger accomplished correctly. The list is in no particular order, and, even though most are geared toward librarians, some of you may find some new favorite online places, too.

  • Library of Congress Authorities - Where I go to find all the official ways to record people's names, titles of works, and subject headings (you know, all the things that help you find something in the library catalog)
  • OCLC Bibliographic Formats and Standards - Where I go to remind myself how to correctly enter all the information into the records
  • IMSLP/Petrucci Music Library - New favorite! This site has a great selection of scores online that I can reference to see if the arrangement I have in hand matches one particular piece or another. And they are free!
  • Virginia Tech Multimedia Music Dictionary - I use this site to find definitions for all of those music terms with which I am unfamiliar. I have yet to have this dictionary fail me!
  • Washington State University keyboard shortcuts for special characters - I'm dealing with many different languages in my new position, and this site helps me accurately record many of the special characters I encounter
  • Yale University's Types of compositions for use in music uniform titles - This is a useful site if I have a question about how to form a uniform title for a piece of music
  • Yahoo! Babel Fish - My favorite translation site, although it doesn't always handle those obscure music terms. For those I walk over to the shelf and open a real dictionary.
  • Wikipedia - I know what some of you are thinking, but this site is great for quick checks of composer biographies and composition lists. I also find myself using other language versions for their entries on other national composers.
And just for fun, a Virtual Piano Keyboard when I find that all other methods of discovery have failed.

What are some of your favorite websites that help you get your job done?


  1. I couldn't get any of the links to open! Thanks for sharing,

  2. Thanks LuAnn. I'm about ready to throw the catalog out the window, so to speak. It should not be so difficult to link to a record.