Centre staff represented at international music conference and workshop

Centre staff represented at international music conference and workshop

Senior Researcher Dr Kevin Page co-chaired the 3rd International Digital Libraries for Musicology workshop with Dr Ben Fields (Goldsmiths University of London), which took place on Friday 12 August at the Avery Fisher Center for Music and Media, part of the Bobst Library of New York University.

The Digital Libraries for Musicology (DLfM) workshop presents a venue specifically for those working on, and with, Digital Library systems and content in the domain of music and musicology. Research Associate Dr David Weigl gave a talk at the workshop, reporting on 'In Collaboration with In Concert: Reflecting a Digital Library as Linked Data for Performance Ephemera', co-authored with Dr Kevin Page, Centre visiting academic and Lecturer (Digital Humanities) at Australian National University Dr Terhi Nurmikko-Fuller, and Professor Alan Dix (University of Birmingham).

The paper outlines how diverse datasets in the area of Digital Musicology expose complementary information describing works, composers, performers, and wider historical and cultural contexts. The earlier InConcert research collaboration brought together such datasets focused on performance data and concert ephemera, enabling new digital methods of scholarly investigation. The paper describes the re-publication of InConcert as Linked Data, whereby the datasets were merged with each other and opened up for enrichment from other sources on the web via conversion to RDF. The authors outline the main features of the constituent datasets, describe conversion workflows, and perform a comparative analysis. Their findings provide practical recommendations for future efforts focused on exposing legacy datasets as linked data – such bridging presents challenges when working with legacy tabular or relational datasets that do not natively facilitate linking and referencing to and from external sources.

Drs Page and Fields founded the DLfM workshop in 2014, arising from their participation in the AHRC-funded Transforming Musicology project. More recently the workshop has also been supported through the EPSRC Fusing Audio and Semantic Technology project (FAST). This year's workshop, the third, which attracted over 45 attendees, focused in particular on the use of MIR methods and technologies within Music Digital Library systems when applied to the pursuit of musicological research. Previous years have been held in different locations and in conjunction with Digital Libraries (London, 2014), and the Joint Conference on Digital Libraries (Knoxville, 2015).

The workshop was this year linked to the International Society for Music Information Retrieval (ISMIR), which ran from 7-11 August in New York. The annual conference is the world's leading research forum on processing, searching, organizing and accessing music-related data.


Three Centre posters were accepted to the Late-Breaking/Demo Session of the conference on 11 August at NYU Media and Games Network, which presents preliminary results that are of interest to the MIR community and was also open to members of the public this year:


'Dynamic Semantic Notation: Jamming Together Music Encoding and Linked Data', co-authored by Dr Weigl and Dr Page, describes a project that incorporates elements of musical notation expressed in the Music Encoding Initiative (MEI) framework within a web of Linked Data, by employing semantic technologies including RDF, JSON-LD, SPARQL, and the Open Annotation data model. This fusing of music and semantics allows the creation of rich Digital Music Objects supporting contemporary music consumption, performance, and musicological research.

  • 'Numbers into Notes' (De Roure, Willcox and Weigl), relates to an online tool developed at the e-Research Centre which was recently used to accompany a performance of Dr Emily Howard's short operatic work 'Ada Sketches' in Manchester.  The software is an interactive web application tool which generates a number sequence. This is then reduced using clock arithmetic and mapped to notes, and the music explored by selecting fragments to play.

Both Numbers into Notes and the MEI have been developed as part of the Centre's participation in the Fusing Audio and Semantic Technologies (FAST) and Transforming Musicology projects, which are fostering new ways for professionals to work with music and for consumers to engage with it, and investigating how advanced computing can alter the way music historians, theorists and psychologists approach their research.

  • Dr Weigl will also report on work undertaken during his PhD and which is now being taken forward as part of the FAST project. 'MIR Studies through the lens of relevance: Promoting the Impact of MIR user research'  (Weigl, Bartlett, Steele, Guastavino), presents findings identified during a systematic analysis of MIR user studies in relation to the impact of formal investigations of user information needs and information behaviour on MIR system design.


Further information
A special issue of the DLfM-linked International Journal of Digital Libraries is currently in production, guest edited by Drs Page and Fields, which will feature content from previous workshops. The proceedings for DLfM 2016 will be published through the Association for Computing Machinery's International Conference Proceedings Series.

Follow the workshop and conference on Twitter: #dlfm2016 and @ismir2016.