The Moravian Music Foundation preserves, shares, and celebrates Moravian musical culture.
I hope you’ve been keeping up with the good stories arising from GemeinKat – the Moravian Music Foundation’s project to convert all our catalog to electronic records accessible world-wide! To follow the fun details, see the GemeinKat blog.
Let’s be clear – this project isn’t digitizing the whole collection; you’re not going to be able to download the manuscripts themselves. But you do have growing access to the catalog records – you can see just what we have! Barbara Strauss at work
There are many, many steps to this project, and the results are growing in three areas:
- GemeinKat is an online catalog, which includes records for all manuscript and printed music under custodial care of the Moravian Music Foundation. It is a component part of OCLC’s WorldCat Discovery family of online catalogs.
- RISM: The International Inventory of Musical Sources – Répertoire International des Sources Musicales (RISM) – is an international, non-profit organization which aims for comprehensive documentation of extant musical sources worldwide. These primary sources are manuscripts or printed music, writings on music theory, and libretti. They are housed in libraries, archives, monasteries, schools and private collections. Cataloging musical sources is financed and carried out by various national and international institutions. RISM documents what exists and where it is kept. RISM documents reside in the RISM catalogue.
- Finding aids describe a wide range of formats, including card indexes, calendars, guides, inventories, shelf and container lists, and registers. A finding aid is a single document that places the materials in context by consolidating information about the collection, such as acquisition and processing; provenance, including administrative history or biographical note; scope of the collection, including size, subjects, media; organization and arrangement; and an inventory of the series and the folders.
You can access GemeinKat right from this web page – start here… and follow the links.
Barbara Strauss has been GemeinKat Project Manager since December of 2014, but her involvement predates that by many years. A specialist in catalog conversion projects, Barbara has been leading the MMF staff and board in setting the vision and seeking funds for this project for nearly 20 years now, and it is a wonderful experience to see it coming true. She works with Project Cataloger (and now MMF Research Librarian) Dave Blum, setting project strategies, training and supervising part-time catalogers and incipit writers (we have 3 now – Jill Bruckart and Jan Harke in Bethlehem, Donna Rothrock in Winston-Salem; we have had quite a few more over the years, some of whom began as student interns and just stayed around!), and providing the long-term vision of the entire project. As of early in 2019, we have completed the cataloging of nearly all the major collections and a number of the smaller collections; incipits have been written for the majority of the Bethlehem holdings and a number of the Winston-Salem holdings; and I am faithfully writing the text of the finding aids.
An expected consequence is an increase in the number of research requests – and that’s happening indeed! For many researchers today, the thought of traveling to a library or archives just to see what they have is inconceivable; so that if it’s not accessible online, it’s often pretty well overlooked by many students and scholars. As we continue to bring more collections online, Dave is getting more requests – and that’s a good thing, as the Moravian Music Foundation continues to preserve, share, and celebrate Moravian musical culture!
For those who have contributed to GemeinKat, we thank you very, very much! We are still seeking contributions to help us reach the finish line of this very, very important project in MMF’s history and future!