To start off this semester’s internship, I first met with my internship supervisor Misti Shaw to go over what I hope to gain out of this internship and her expectations of me for this internship. We agreed upon three project that would produce tangible results and experiences by the end of the internship.
The first project is to analyze reference statistics gathered at the music library between the years 2016 and early 2019. Although the sample size is relatively small, there would be plenty of information to gather from it, especially when examined in conjunction with changes made to the music library during that period, such as renovations that added a wall between the lobby and reference desk and the later relocation of the reference desk.
The second project is to create a reserves list database for the reserves coordinator at the music library. Because the reserves lists are only available online and by semester, there was no easy way to pull a comprehensive list for faculty members who requested their reserves lists from previous years. The goal of database would be to simplify this process for the reserves coordinator and to produce data that could be analyzed if necessary.
The final project of my internship is to create a digital exhibit for the music library which will feature special items at the music library, chosen by its staff. The goal of this exhibit is to help the music library further stand out among other music libraries in the nation through these special items and giving the music library staff a chance to speak about these items.
Now that I had a budget, a list of scores, and the necessary tools to purchase them in hand, I began the long ordering process. I ended up with 46 total works to order, which was quite substantial and took quite some time to complete. However, I felt an incredible feeling of satisfaction and pride, knowing that my research and training was finally paying off and that I was contributing not only my time and effort, but also my knowledge of the subject matter towards developing the music library’s already impressive collection of music. I reconvened with Dr. Cochran and we discussed my progress towards the final steps of my project and I briefed him on how I was doing. He seemed impressed enough with my work and that I had amassed a grand list of scores that totaled nearly $5,000 that he was gracious enough to allot another $500 towards my budget, bringing the total to $2,000 instead of the original $1,500. I was quite pleased with this, of course, and so I added some symphonies and larger orchestral works to the list that I believed would be a good addition to the music library. Reflecting back on my internship, I believe I’ve gained incredibly useful skills, while also contributing to the music library in a meaningful way. I’m extremely grateful for the time I spent doing my internship and I’m sure the music library will be well served with the scores it will receive.
With a cleaned up list of scores to order, I worked on two things this week: finding out what scores were actually available to purchase and creating a priority system to order the most pertinent scores within my given budget of $1,500. To find out what scores were available for purchase, I used a few tactics. The first was to go through the vendor websites that I grew familiar with through the ordering process earlier in the semester, and the second was to use Worldcat and find out where certain scores were published. I was fortunate enough that between Theodore Front and Harrassowitz I could find a good number of scores, but the search for the remaining scores through Worldcat proved to be quite laborious. Many scores had very minimal records and would not list complete publishing information while others did list publishing information only to find out that they were no longer in print. Not all the scores I looked up were out of print, so I managed to add a few of those to my list.
Now that I had a list of materials available for purchase, I then prioritized the works based on genre and likely usage. Vocal scores such as solo songs, concerto reductions, and solo instrument works were the highest priority since patrons would most likely check those out because they wouldn’t require coordination with more than 1 other person in order to play them. Smaller chamber works such as string quartets and wind quintets were a medium priority since that would require more coordination and thus patrons would be slightly less inclined to take them on the spot. Finally, large ensemble works such as symphonies and tone poems were the lowest priority, since they had the lowest likelihood of performance, despite those genres being the ones I was most personally interested in.
After a discussion with Dr. Cochran about the state of my research for my project, we decided that I would no longer focus my time on ordering scores for the library. It wasn’t the end of my purchasing duties for my internship since I would have to order the scores that I started to compile.
With the list of scores of each composer complete, I began the arduous task of cross-checking the music library’s holdings on IUCAT against my list. A few composers were already prominently collected that were also in my list, so I quickly removed the works that overlapped in those lists. Some of them were composers I suspected would already be on that list such as Kurt Atterberg, Hugo Alfven, and Rued Langgaard, but others were a bit more obscure yet still managed to find their way into the library’s collection.
Orders were beginning to slow down, which was a welcome relief for me. I enjoy the ordering process, but I wanted to spend more time working on my research since we were beyond the halfway point of the semester. I did come across a unique score for an opera that piqued my interest however, as it was one that is rarely performed. Not surprisingly, it commanded a price worthy of such a rare gem.
With half of my original list of composers completed, I began working on the second half. This list was comprised primarily of composers from Sweden and Norway, as I had worked on the list of composers from Finland and Denmark the previous week. I managed to find some very interesting works written by these composers, particularly when it came to compositions based on folk melodies. This was a particularly abundant area in 19th century and later Nordic composers so it wasn’t a surprise but fascinating nonetheless.
There were the usual orders that were waiting for me this week, so I took care of those without any trouble. I had become more efficient with the process, so I didn’t need to spend as much time on ordering as I did in the first few weeks of ordering materials. Nothing really caught my attention as I was ordering this time around, as it was primarily music of the common practice era from well-known composers.
The search for compositions began this week, which was a laborious ordeal. A simple Google search would often suffice, leading me to a Wikipedia page with a works list, but other times composers were under-researched and did not have much information about them in English. When that failed, I looked through their New Grove articles in hopes of finding more information. Sometimes I would be successful, other times I would come up empty handed. Having spent a considerable amount of time trying to find works by composers, I decided to put the search to rest until the following week.
Unlike the previous week, I received a large list of materials to order. None of the materials were requested by faculty, but were all hand-picked by Dr. Cochran from a monthly newsletter that wasn’t on an approval plan. While I was ordering the items, I decided to start a mental experiment of guessing how expensive an item was based on its genre, composer, prevalence, and age. There were some items in which I was able to guess somewhat accurately, but others left me completely confused as to how cheap (or expensive) it was.
Realizing that my research was becoming too focused and ended up leading to too many dead ends, I backtracked and worked on taking a broader approach to find more composers. Using a New Grove article on female composers, I was able to discover a few more female Nordic composers. I was a bit disheartened however, since the New Grove would have been my best chance at discovering new composers and I was only able to find 6 more for a total of 7. I decided to end my search for new composers at this point and focus instead on discovering what works they composed the following week.
This week I ordered just a handful of things from CD Source, most of which were left over from the previous week. I was given just a few new things to order this week from Harrassowitz and Theodore Front, so I didn’t spend too much time with ordering this week.
I spent more time focusing on my research as a trade-off, with an unsuccessful attempt at finding more information on Pauline Hill. One of the biggest issues that I’ve come across previously was that little information exists on Nordic composers in comparison to the rest of the Western art music canon. Of the information that is available, even less of it has been translated into English; however, This wasn’t a new obstacle for me so I had some tricks to overcome that, despite some difficulties.
This week, I was tasked with ordering from a new vendor, CD Source. Of course, that also meant learning a new ordering process, but fortunately it was fairly straight-forward. I was happy to learn another ordering process however, since it is part of the collection development librarian’s job after all. Much like ordering from Theodore Front and Harrassowitz, the processes for using OCLC and Workflows to order the materials was the same.
With a new approach toward my collection development project, I focused on looking for prominent Nordic female composers. I went and found a few more books with hopes of discovering some prominent figures, but many of the leads I chased led me to dead ends. During this process however, I was able to discover other relatively obscure Nordic composers, so it wasn’t a waste of time entirely.
For this week, it was business as usual. More scores were ordered from both Harrassowitz and Theodore Front, some of them at the request of music faculty. The other scores that I ordered were fairly interesting, but I noticed that none of them fit the area that I planned on developing. I wasn’t sure if this was done intentionally by Dr. Cochran since I would be focusing on developing that area or if it was because that area generally doesn’t get much attention, but I was leaning towards the latter explanation. This was a bit of a relief for me, as I felt that my decision to develop Nordic music was justified.
I also spent some time perusing the books that I found the previous week, reading more about Danish and Norwegian composers. From one of the books, I discovered the Norwegian composer Pauline Hall, which I jotted down to research in the future. She was a remarkable figure, though little about her is documented in English, and it gave me the idea to focus on collecting music from not only Nordic composers, but particularly female Nordic composers when possible.