New from SAA and MLA: Archival Description of Notated Music

The Society of American Archivists (SAA) is pleased to announce Archival Description of Notated Music (ADNM), a new, online resource co-published by the Music Library Association (MLA) and SAA. Prepared by the MLA Working Group for Archival Description of Music Materials, ADNM is available as a free ebook via SAA’s Bookstore.

ADNM provides guidance intended for a wide readership and is helpful for experienced archivists with limited knowledge of music, music librarians with limited knowledge of archival practice, archival students, and others with responsibility for archival collections with notated music. It includes discussion of fundamental archival principles as applied to collections with notated music, recommendations for descriptive approaches based on the musical and non-musical content of a collection, a glossary, and an annotated resource list. In addition, included as an appendix are the Guidelines for Archival Description of Notated Music, which provide a standard for archival description of notated music and represent the first subject-specific supplement to Describing Archives: A Content Standard (DACS). The Guidelines, which were adopted by the SAA Council in 2019, are also available via MLA’s Humanities Commons repository and SAA’s Standards Portal.

The MLA Working Group consists of Sofía Becerra-Licha, Maristella Feustle, Vincent J. Novara, Matthew Snyder, Karen Spicher, and co-chairs John Bewley and Elizabeth Surles. The co-chairs wish to thank all of the Working Group members for openly sharing their knowledge and expertise throughout the process of writing the book and Guidelines, MLA and SAA for their generous support, colleagues who commented on the draft in its formative stages, and members of SAA’s Technical Subcommittee on DACS, who assiduously read and re-read drafts of the Guidelines to help shape them into a standard. This cross-organizational collaboration was essential to the successful outcome and will hopefully serve as a model for future DACS supplements.

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