From the Library’s Announcement:
Members of the public are being asked to help describe 4,000 music pieces from the Bodleian Libraries’ collections, as part of a new project launched today.What’s the score at the Bodleian? (www.whats-the-score.org) is the first crowd-sourcing project undertaken by the Bodleian Libraries. About 4,000 pieces of popular piano music from the mid-Victorian period have been digitized and made available online. The music was mostly produced for domestic entertainment, and many of these scores have illustrated or decorative covers and advertisements. The collection has never been included in the library’s catalogue, and its exact contents are therefore unknown.
By visiting the website, ‘citizen librarians’ can help with describing the scores and contributing to the creation of an online catalogue. It takes about 10 minutes to fill in the online form which constitutes the description of an item. No knowledge of reading music or playing an instrument is required to get involved. People just need to look at the images of the scores and write down the information they see. However, the project also encourages performances of this music and hopes to provide links to audio or video recordings.
The Bodleian’s printed music collections comprise over half a million items, but only about 20% of these are represented in the online catalogue. For the most part, this large body of material is therefore difficult to explore and use, and some of it is largely unknown. The library is looking for ways to make this rich collection more easily discoverable. A recent study has shown that creating professional library-standard records for the items would be prohibitively expensive and would take years to accomplish. It would also only make information about the material available, while the scores themselves would remain on the shelves in the book stacks and be available only to those who can make the journey to Oxford. By digitising the scores and making these available online, the collection will be opened up and made available to anyone who has an internet connection and an interest in nineteenth-century music.