For music scholars conducting research online, there is a dizzying array of resources that are literally at their fingertips. The challenge is in determining which to use. To help make sense of the flood of information, and assist scholars in identifying resources with the most extensive and academically-rigorous material, Loeb Music Library has revitalized an old tool.
The new Online Resources for Music Scholars is a searchable, sortable, annotated bibliography of more than 300 websites that have been evaluated for academic quality and the strength of their digital archival collections. Each annotation summarizes what kind of information can be found on a site – scores, biographies, digital audio, etc. – meaning researchers will know whether the site holds the material they need even before they visit it.
In addition to using keywords to search the bibliography, scholars can use subject tags to sort the listings with a single click. Rather than scrolling through more than a dozen pages listing nearly 300 sites, a user can simply click on the “jazz” tag to see a list of all jazz-related sites.
The database is also compatible with the iSites platform, which hosts the course websites for Harvard College and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. The new guide can be customized based on preselected keywords or content tags. That version of the guide can then be embedded into course sites, giving students immediate access to the type of resources faculty deem important for their coursework.
“The ability to customize the view of the database is particularly useful if we want to give students a list of sites that are immediately relevant,” said Kerry Masteller, reference and digital program librarian at Loeb Music Library, who, along with reference and research librarian Liza Vick, maintains the bibliography. “Students can explore those limited resources, but also have the ability to browse the full database for additional materials.”