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8, 2010 Project background: This past spring Donald Hart, the well-known business tycoon and amateur musicologist, donated his entire jazz collection to our institute, the Suaban Music Museum. We’re thrilled to receive this rich and varied collection. Hart’s jazz interests are far-reaching, and his wish is to open up his collection to researchers and enthusiasts alike, in order to bring about a greater understanding of and appreciation for jazz, both as musical genre and cultural movement. The Collection: Collection is physical in nature, with a major undertaking in process to digitize it in its entirety. Collection consists of a variety of mixed media: I. II. III. IV. V. VI. VII. VIII. IX. Audio Recordings (vinyl, cassettes, and CD) Video Recordings (reel-to-reel, VHS, laserdisc, DVD) Photographs Literature (letters, interviews, journal articles, newspaper clippings, books, etc.) Sheet music Souvenirs Instruments Paraphernalia (guitar picks, reeds, drum sticks, etc.) Posters
While the entire collection pertains to jazz in the 20th century, there are some special relationships within the collection. Some of the items are related in that they were owned by a particular musician or come from a particular region. There are also larger relationships created by the items belonging to a particular subgenre of jazz. The Users:
Possible users interested in the collection include: I. II. III. IV. V. Musicologists Faculty and students in music departments Scholars Jazz aficionados Musicians
Users needs will vary depending on their particular interests, including research and educational purposes, historical background, or just merely personal interest. The organizational system would be maintained by staff members of the jazz department within the museum, including curators, cataloguers/registrars, and a digital specialist. Collection will be used for cultural initiatives by organizing exhibits around the collection, and cultural events will be created to generate interest in this American art. These exhibitions will be recorded and eventually placed online for users who could not attend in person. Scholars, professors and students will be encouraged to use the online collection for research purposes. Aim of the collection is not only to attract experts and enthusiasts, but also to expose it to users who might not otherwise be aware of such a unique American cultural phenomenon. The Ideal System: Since we realize not everyone interested in this collection will have the means to visit our institution and see the exhibitions, we want all potential users to be able to connect with it as intimately as possible through an online environment. Our vision is to create a robust website that includes a catalog of the materials, a visual database, and an interactive timeline to place the items in perspective of the development of the various jazz movements. Wes plan to develop a faceted search within the catalog so that users may limit for artist, album, subgenre, era, and beyond.
The Challenges: Digitization of the entire collection will pose various challenges, such as appropriating funding to hire new staff to aid our current digital specialist. While digitizing some of the items, such as the literature, photographs, audio recordings, letters, and sheet music will be time consuming, the process is relatively easy. On the other hand, three dimensional objects will pose new challenges for our institution. Issues include generating funding for new technology, careful handling of the instruments, and discovering and creating standards to digitize the items. Issues with categorizations and descriptions might develop due to the size and variety of the collection. Preservation of sound and image quality on some of the older audio and video recordings may pose a challenge depending on the physical state of the materials. Since the aim of the institution is to create an interactive digital system, devising it will take a lot of creativity in order to enhance user-experience. These challenges will be addressed in various ways: I. II. III. Incoming technology grant to purchase equipment and hire new staff. Use of digital consultants. Professional development of current staff.