The Archivist’s Nook: Audio Capture – NOW That’s What I Call Music

“Our old friend Ludwig Van, and the dreaded Ninth Symphony.”
Our old friend Ludwig Van, and the dreaded Ninth Symphony.

The Archives has several different media types in its holdings, and some of these, such as magnetic tape, are much more susceptible to degradation than paper. Audio cassettes and open reel tape can, over time, become sticky and difficult to play without causing irreparable damage, if stored in less than perfect conditions. They can also suffer data loss when exposed to magnetic fields (this can happen just by storing cassettes close to high-powered speakers), and digital media can suffer data rot. CUA Archives decided to get ahead of the game here; since our audio materials are still in good condition, why not duplicate them for preservation and access while we still can?

Remember that technology graveyard I mentioned in my digital curation blog? Well, it contains more than just computer equipment. Think cassette decks, reel to reel players, turntables, and, yes, even minidisc and DAT players. Continue reading “The Archivist’s Nook: Audio Capture – NOW That’s What I Call Music”

“Sights & Sounds: The 50th Anniversary of the Benjamin T. Rome School of Music” – May Gallery, March 22 – May 18

1967 Ward Hall Dedication with Justine Ward
Justine Ward with His Eminence Patrick Cardinal O’Boyle and Vice Rector Monsignor James A. Magner at the dedication ceremony of Ward Hall, October 4, 1967. Courtesy of University Archives, University Libraries.

The exhibit “Sights & Sounds: The 50th Anniversary of the Benjamin T. Rome School of Music” will be on display in the May Gallery from March 22 through May 18.

Maintaining a tradition of excellence from the studio to the Broadway stage, from singing at the Met to teaching piano in Afghanistan, faculty and students of the Benjamin T. Rome School of Music have served as ambassadors for The Catholic University of America. This exhibit highlights some achievements and the people behind those efforts.

Met Opera on Demand: Free Trial of Database – Extended through 1/30

Until January 30, CUA Libraries has a free trial to the database Met Opera on Demand.  The database delivers streaming audio and video of more than 500 full-length Metropolitan Opera performances from the ‘Live in HD’ series, the classic Met telecasts from 1977-2011, and over 250 radio broadcast performances that dating back to 1936.

Librarians are evaluating the usefulness of these resource.  Try it out and let us know what you think.  Email your comments to Maurice Saylor, Music Librarian at

Library of Essays on Renaissance Music

We are pleased to announce that the Music Library has purchased and will soon have available on the shelf:

A Library of Essays on Renaissance Music
Series Editor: Stanley Boorman, New York University, USA

‘…an extensive library of essays focused on crucial aspects of the music and the musical thought of the period…Taken together these volumes represent an indispensable resource for serious study of the music of the Renaissance’ -Renaissance Quarterly

The field of Renaissance music has been central to the interests of musicologists for at least a century. In recent decades a wealth of important writing has not only explored traditional issues but also vastly expanded the range of topics and approaches under consideration, so that our understanding of the music itself and of its uses and reception on the part of the Renaissance listener and performer has broadened.

This series brings together a selection of classic articles on key issues written by leading scholars and musicologists. Each volume is edited by an expert in the field, whose selection of reprinted articles is accompanied by a specially written introduction and detailed bibliography. The volumes are arranged thematically beginning with a study of what we now understand, in musical terms, of the concepts involved in the words Renaissance, Reformation or Counter-Reformation, and followed by volumes which focus on a single set of topics, for example theory, sources, patronage, and secular or religious music.
This series of six volumes on Renaissance Music is a major resource for specialist music libraries and academics.

Click here for more information!

Music Library Survey Response

Students and Faculty of the School of Music,

Thank you so much for taking time to complete our patron survey! The feedback we received is invaluable, and we plan to make good use of it.

We would like to provide answers to some specific questions and concerns that were raised in some of the responses:

Why don’t you have…?

Patrons have lamented that we do not have the following items in our collection. However, we actually do have all of them. Please don’t hesitate to ask us for help finding something. In each of these cases, we have a pretty good idea what may have gone wrong in a catalog search.

Complete recordings of Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas – We have recordings of the full cycles by Alfred Brendel & Artur Schnabel. There are also over two dozen complete sets available through the Naxos Music Library.

Choral Scores – We actually have a rather large Choral Music Collection that is separate from the regular stacks (which only contains large scale choral works). This collection is housed in a cabinet in the Listening Room, and the catalog can be found on our homepage under Special Music Collections.

Recent Music Theatre Scores – This one is complicated: We do our best to obtain all musical theater vocal scores and vocal selections when they are published. If you are aware of a score we have not yet obtained, please send us an e-mail or stop by. We can usually obtain a copy and have it ready for use in about a week. However, some musicals are not published or are only offered digitally. In both of these cases, there is simply nothing we can do to legally obtain them. Still, we are able to make suggestions as to how performers might be able to obtain legal copies.

Why aren’t the student employees more knowledgeable about music?

Reference services are available Monday through Friday from 9 am to 5 pm by the full time staff (Maurice, Thad, and Rachel) in person, by e-mail, or by phone. Our student employees are not trained for reference work. They are, however, trained to check items in and out, find items based on titles and call numbers, help with the copier, and shelve returned items. Also, because music students have busy schedules, we must hire non-music majors to keep the library open extended hours.

Is there really that much that needs to be done to have three full-time staff members in addition to the student assistants?

Let us answer that by explaining what everyone does.

Maurice is the Music Librarian and manages all activities of the Music Library. Though a great deal of his time is spent providing reference and research assistance to users, he is also responsible for developing the collection (evaluates, selects, weeds, and conducts inventories of the collections), budgeting, selecting gift material, and ensuring the accuracy of online records. He participates with the other subject librarians in collegial decision-making and planning, including active involvement in committees. He also is an instruction librarian for the First-Year Experience program. In short, he’s a busy guy!

Thad is the Music Library Assistant (not technically a librarian, though he will soon have his Library Science degree). His major duties include supervising the student employees (including hiring, scheduling, and training them), making sure the computers and equipment work properly, and keeping the stacks in order. Thad handles more in-person reference questions and issues with circulation, including fines. He also plays an active role on the Library Programming and Marketing Committee.

Rachel is the Music Library Technician. She does all of our in-house processing, cataloging, and reserves, and orders items approved by Maurice. Rachel works three days a week. As an actively performing soprano, she’s perfect for vocal performance questions. She’s also the most knowledgeable about sacred and church music.

I often don’t ask for help because I feel like I would be a nuisance.

Many of you chose this answer when asked what you do when you can’t find something you need in the library. We’re sorry that you’ve felt that way, and we’re going to try to change that. We are often busy at our desks doing some of the tasks listed above while we wait for you to ask for our assistance, so please interrupt us. That is why we are here!

Why does our subscription to RIPM not provide full text?

Currently, our subscription to RIPM is index only, not full text. Because the cost for RIPM’s online resources is rather high, we decided to subscribe to the index only and see if the usage warranted upgrading to full text. At present, our statistics show that usage of RIPM has been rather low. However, the University of Maryland, George Mason University, and the Library of Congress all have full text subscriptions that can be accessed by guest patrons.

Why is the LAMC (Latin American Center for Graduate Studies in Music) so difficult to use? Why are those scores kept separately?

The LAMC is not actually a part of the Music Library. The Music Library owns Latin American materials of library quality (published, good condition, larger items) while the LAMC collection is primarily archival in nature (manuscripts, copies of manuscripts, sheet music, rare materials, etc.) We do host the LAMC catalog on our website as a convenience, and our staff is happy to assist you in finding materials, but the actual collection is owned and managed by the School of Music.

New Rotating Monitors in Listening Room

We are happy to announce that the three computers in the Listening Room now have rotating monitors!

Using MagicRotation, the orientation of the screen can be changed from wide view to tall view.  This allows entire pages of musical scores to be viewed at once–ideal for score study while saving paper!  See the photos below.

  • To convert a monitor to tall view, gently rotate the monitor clockwise 90 degrees.  Then, press Control, Shift, and the “9” (nine) key in simultaneity (CTRL + SHIFT + 9). 
  • To convert back to wide view, gently rotate the monitor counterclockwise 90 degrees.  Then press Control, Shift, and the “0” (zero) key in simultaneity (CTRL + SHIFT + 0).

Nineteenth Century Collections Online: Primary Resources

Nineteenth Century Collections Online  (NCCO) provides full-text, fully searchable content from a wide range of primary sources for the “long” 19th century, 1789-1914. NCCO indexes the full text of books, newspapers, pamphlets, manuscripts, maps, diaries, photographs, statistics, literature, government reports, treaties, and other kinds of documents in both Western and non-Western languages.  Released incrementally beginning in 2012, NCCO’s first four topical collections include: British Politics and Society; Asia and the West: Diplomacy and Cultural Exchange; British Theatre, Music, and Literature: High and Popular Culture; and European Literature, 1790-1840: The Corvey Collection.


New, Improved Access to EJournals and Databases

From this Summer, we changed the system behind the “FindIt” button , and have a new page to access our online databases and e-journals. Please see below for the summary:

Before Now
FindIt button
The page after clicking “FindIt” button    
Articles Databases and More
CU’s e-Journal

We also have a new ticket system set up for you to report the problems related to our online services. We are looking forward to bringing you a better service!