At the start of the project, Sibley compiled a list of over 10,000 scores and monographs that were suitable candidates for scanning under the current project. To be added to the list, a particular score or monograph had to be in public domain in the United States (i.e., published before 1923), belong to the general collection at Sibley, and be held by very few libraries worldwide. This list was used as the basis for an in-house database, and it is here that the day to day work on the project begins.
From the database, Digitization Department staff generate a pull list for a particular section of Sibley’s collection; for example, the M800’s (octets). Staff will then gather all the indicated scores from the M800’s and prepare them for digitization.
To facilitate the scanning and storage procedures for these scores, they are first carefully disbound. This involves cutting scores free from their current binding and separating all pages, resulting in a stack of loose leaves. During this process, markings are also removed from the scores, and any necessary mending is conducted. Circulation records and any other additional materials with the score are saved as well.
The scores, now in the form of disbound leaves, are ready to be scanned. For most scores, Digitization Department staff are able to use a sheet fed scanner; a flat bed scanner may also be used for scores of a larger size, or those that cannot be disbound. Using the scanners, a PDF format image of each score is created. Music and text are scanned as simple black and white images, but covers or title pages are often done in color. Some editing of the PDF’s may be necessary; staff work to ensure images will display as clearly as possible, and that no intended information has been lost. Margins may also be adjusted to facilitate subsequent printing and binding of the images.
Sibley reference desk staff receive the finished PDF files and upload them to the UR Research site, an online repository for digital content generated and hosted by the University of Rochester. The site is accessible to the general public, and resources in Sibley’s Digital Scores Collection are free to download. The PDF files are described using information from Sibley’s catalog, and are available immediately. Online subscribers to Sibley’s Digital Scores Collection receive an email the following morning with a list of all new scores added during the previous the day.
Corresponding bibliographic records in WorldCat and Sibley’s Voyager catalog are enhanced and updated to show the availability of a digital holding, and a permanent link leading to the digitized resource at UR Research is included.
With a digital surrogate in place and freely accessible, the disbound scores are carefully secured in acid-free press boards, labeled, and shrink wrapped. The scores are gathered into trays and delivered to Sibley Library’s offsite storage location, where they can be retrieved again if needed.
Photographs by Gerald Szymanski