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Music Cataloging Project
by student worker Amy Zhang
he Music Resource Center in Benton Hall once
housed approximately 4,700 music scores, 1,700
CDs, and a few dozen music-related DVDs and
VHS tapes. However, the catalog of this collection of
music materials was only available in Benton Hall via an
Access database, and though OSU owned the pieces, they
did not appear in our library database. In the summer of
2011, the Music Department and The Valley Library
reached a decision to transfer all of these music materials
to the libraries’ existing music collection. The team for this
project consisted of seven people including me, a student
aide with a musical background. We began training for and
working on the project in September 2011, but it wasn’t
until June 2012 that every last piece of the music collec-
tion was cataloged, processed, and shelved in its proper
place in The Valley Library.
One important outcome of the music cataloging project
is that all of OSU’s music materials are now consolidated
in one place. Perhaps more significant is that each indi-
vidual score and CD at OSU is now represented in the
OCLC WorldCat Database, a database of library materials
that is accessible by anyone over the Internet. In addition,
the entire collection has been cataloged in our local system
at OSU. Essentially, this project has made the university’s
music collection available to everyone, everywhere.
Our team spent a great deal of time searching within the
OCLC WorldCat Database for each individual piece,
whether it was a compilation of piano compositions by
various composers, the score and parts for a Beethoven
quartet, or a CD recording of Gershwin’s
Porgy and Bess
This required not only comparing basic information such
as the title of a composition or the names of the composers
featured on a CD, but also included sifting through details
such as pagination, dimensions, dates, publisher numbers,
and more. Sometimes, there would be more than one
record that matched all the criteria, and in these cases, we
had to rely on our judgment — and occasionally, my
knowledge of music — to determine which record was
ultimately most complete or of higher quality.
Some of the pieces from the collection did not have any
existing records in the OCLC database, indicating that
they were unique to OSU. They included an original
transposition of an existing composition into a new key for
a different instrument, and a CD recording of a concert
performed by an OSU music group. For pieces such as
these, we created original records for the OCLC database,
including information such as the compositions per-
formed, the date and location of the concerts, and specific
OSU performers and conductors. Because of these new
records, anyone can discover a collection of OSU
Choralaires performances ranging from 1947–1974, or a
2006 Corvallis-OSU Symphony Orchestra concert featur-
ing soloist (and OSU’s own director of piano activities)
Rachelle McCabe. Not only did this project improve the
availability of our music collection in general, but it also
has the potential to increase awareness of both current and
past OSU musicians.
The music cataloging project may have been a daunting
task to take on, but it was well worth the effort. Our team
not only unified OSU’s entire music collection, but we
found or created records for each of over 6,400 individual
pieces, cataloged them and gave them barcodes, and sent
them out into The Valley Library stacks. Now, anyone can
discover and access the music collection, from music schol-
ars, to music students, to music enthusiasts. And as a
bonus, we even won a group project award in May 2012
for all of our work. If you’re interested, do a quick search
to see what we have. Jazz, opera, and Native American
flute — we’ve got you covered!
Amy Zhang was thrilled to be a part of the team working on the music
cataloging project.
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