Safeguarding a collection as rare and valuable as that housed in the Music Division is an incredible responsibility, and one that carries with it difficult challenges. In my opinion, the single biggest issue facing archivists and librarians today is how to best preserve our cherished materials while simultaneously providing access to the many performers and scholars who are interested in viewing and studying our collections. Thankfully, digitization of our collections is one way that we and other institutions have been fortunate to both protect our materials and share our content with users worldwide!
In February, the Performing Arts Encyclopedia launched a new tool called the Musical Treasures Consortium, a database that provides online access to many of the world’s most valued music manuscripts and print materials held at six participating institutions: British Library, Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library (Harvard University), Library of Congress, Lila Acheson Wallace Library (Juilliard School), Morgan Library & Museum, and New York Public Library.
You can browse the digital offerings from each of these renowned institutions or search the digitized collections of all six at one time by keyword (go broad with a composer name “Beethoven” to get 40 results, or be more specific with a search phrase like “Beethoven op. 109”). I’m incredibly excited about this online tool, because it provides a new platform to see more of the fascinating, individually digitized materials we have available online – particularly those items that are not featured in a Special Presentation on the Performing Arts Encyclopedia’s main page. Plus, the interface reminds us of the vast amount of rare research material we really do have access to online. Musicology students – make use of this digitized content and impress your professors!