Cataloging music is not as easy as systematically organizing literature. There are many formats across hundreds of genres and subgenres of music. Different arrangements, variations of the same song, and reductions of particular music can also make it especially difficult to catalog music.
The medium of performance also has to be taken into consideration, including the voices and instruments and the different uses for each. There are different languages and specialized vocabularies to think about, too. Thankfully, there are guidelines that help musicians and artists catalog their work. The following are 10 of the best practices for music cataloging.
Each set and series should have separate descriptions.
Each volume of music work should have its description as per policy in the Program for Cooperative Cataloging Policy Statements (PCC PS) of the Library of Congress (LC). This is regardless of whether the volume comprises different sets and / or series of judiciously notated musical pieces or not. Each set or series should also have its own description.
The description should include the original script of each work. The elements should be in their transliterated form.
Transcribe the music work information as is, unless a policy is in effect.
Cataloging requires the transcription of accurate information about any piece of music. The current recommendation by the LC-PCC PS is to transcribe whatever information you see in the music piece or resource. An alternative will be to apply LC-PCC PS’s Appendix A guidelines, especially if the local policy calls for it.
The cataloger himself can also use his professional judgment in the transcription of the music information. You can always transcribe the caption and follow it with a thematic index number or an opus. Make sure to put a space between these two elements.
Identify the most appropriate resource for transcription.
Music works come in different kinds. This can include multi-disc recordings, sets of musical parts, and scores issued with musical parts, among others. Treat each part of a multi-part audio recording as an individual collective source. The same is true when transcribing information from musical scores with parts.
If the information comes from musical parts without a score, then the cover can serve as a source of information. This also applies to scores or books with video and /or audio carriers. When in doubt, the cataloger should always make his decision based on the publisher’s perceived intent. He can also assess the relative importance of the different components.
Title information can be either ‘generic’ or distinctive.
The title of the music work is an important element in effective cataloging. The generic type of titling applies if the source contains the medium of performance, the number, the key, and the date of composition.
An example of a generic title is “00 Quintet in B-sharp Major for violin, transverse flute, viola, oboe, and bassoon, op. 5”. If the source does not contain this information, you can use a distinctive title.
Transcribe all other relevant and important title information.
Music materials can also have other information that may be present in other sources. For example, the spine of the CD or its cover can contain information not present in the media itself. If these pieces of information can aid in the identification of the material or improve its access, then this information should also be transcribed. It is necessary to encode these ‘subtitles’ as variations of the title proper. You should use indicator values to denote their relationship to the title proper.
Catalog the statements of responsibility of each individual material.
The statement of responsibility for any given music material includes identifying statements that pertain to the performance, interpretation, recording, or execution of music. Include only the statement that relates to the title proper.
Other statements are optional. For popular music and jazz, the statements should include more than the performance statement. “00 Adam the snake slayer / $c lyrics and book by Sheryl Smith and Henderson Tyndall ; music by John Silverstone” is an example.
Edition statements should include musical presentation statements and voice range.
New guidelines call for the inclusion of statements that describe presentation. It also includes a specific format for music that has been notated as well as a particular voice range.
Chorus and vocal scores always contain two elements: type of arrangement and format of notated musical work. You will also have to include both pieces of information in your cataloging. It is also crucial that a comma separates multiple edition designations and edition revision designations.
Catalog the production, publication, manufacture, distribution, and copyright of materials.
The cataloger should always organize these pieces of information in the same numerical category of 264. It includes information about the name of the publisher, the place of publication, and the publication date.
The same information can be used for the distribution, manufacture, and copyright statements, unless there is no publication statement. For audio recordings, it is important to catalog the phonogram date, the recording date, and the copyright date.
Record all identifiers of the musical material.
Catalogers should always identify and record standard identifiers present on each music material for cataloging. This can include ISBN, EAN, UPC, ISMN, Issue number, Video recording number, and Matrix number, among others.
You also need to record any qualifying information right after the identifier. If there is more than one identifier, then it is important to record only the identifier present on the recording. You will have to indicate its location in the identifier. For example, if the qualifier is in the container, then you should include this information in the record.
Record the numbers of both the publisher and distributor for each music material, if any.
Most music materials come with a publisher’s number and / or distributor’s number. You should also record this information if present. The basic rules for recording identifiers also apply in this case. However, it is essential that you do not write the number after the name of the agency or the trade name. The number should always be written before any qualifying information.
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