Limited Corporation for Information Management and Documentation

Structured registration and classification of the documents in the historic stock of a sheet music archive

Project examples


GIMD’s responsibility was the structured registration and classification of the historic stock or a southern German sheet music archive on the basis of catalog cards and orchestra folders.

Project duration: 12 months

The sheet music archive of our client held about 11,000 catalog cards, which, however, often only provided incomplete information. For formal cataloging and classification of the collection, they were unusable. The archive therefore provided us with starting materials in the form of photocopies of the relevant pages of the orchestra materials, supplemented, if necessary, by a photocopy of the catalog card, if it had further information. In our house in Wuerzburg, these photocopies served in formal and subject cataloging according to ARD music regulations and in-house rules. Formal cataloging involved the structured registration of the title pages of the orchestra folders – composer, arranger, lyricist, translator, title, parallel title, original-language title, superordinate work title, publisher, year of publication, occasion of the composition (e.g. the death of English king George V.), dedication, commissioned composition and principal, first performance and performers, etc.

Content-based cataloging and classification involved:

  • categorization of sheet music materials according to musical or functional aspects – serious music (e.g. symphonic music, chamber music, early music, i.e. music from before 1600, opera, ballet, sacred music, vocal music), light music (entertainment music like Pop, Rock, Jazz, operetta, musical), music from outside these areas (e.g. European folk music), background music (radioplay music)
  • performance information – vocal, instrumental, vocal/instrumental, other (e.g. sounds)
  • scoring information: exact listing of the instrumentation of a vocal or instrumental ensemble; this was primarily necessary with works of chamber music

During processing, some particularities had to be observed, for instance, differences in the printed forms in the orchestra folders, depending on the dating of the original. Due to this, the instruments involved were listed in different sequences. All relevant information was structured and presented in standardized form. Other particularities were handwritten entries and additions, partially in old-style Sütterlin script, which most Germans today can no longer decipher. The finished data was submitted in the database format of the client.

Contact Show all