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Telematics for Libraries - Projects


Updated: 15 DEC 1997

Project Number and Title
2016 - Computer Access to Notation and Text in Music Libraries
Programme/Action line Call Topic(s) Start End Project Duration
in Months
FP 3/ IV Theme 16 January 1995 July 1996 18
music libraries; SMDL; HyTime; copyright

blue bullet Additional information is available from the CANTATE web site . (

Interfacing in library applications via client-server models (Theme 16)
Project description
The objective was to investigate how sheet music could be accessed from libraries using a networked approach, examining in particular the suitability of SMDL for encoding sheet music. This was carried out in conjunction with the design of a hardware and software system which led to the development of a working demonstrator.
The project has researched the current state of music libraries and music publishers, ascertaining the extent to which music is currently encoded and the coding programs used.
The project deliverables include a series of reports on the current context affecting the storage and transmission of printed music, a system specification and a demonstrator together with a plan for additional development work.
Technical approach
There were five workpackages, each divided into a number of tasks:
  • Needs and specifications from the Music Libraries;
    • Status report on European music libraries;
    • Requirements for access and delivery systems;
  • Needs and specifications from the Music Publishers;
    • Status report on European music publishing industry;
    • Publisher views on SMDL and access/delivery systems;
    • Copyright and royalties;
  • Encoding;
    • Examining SMDL;
    • Assessing HyTime in relation to SMDL;
    • SMDL implementation, with descriptions, target files and access operations;
    • Liaising with SMDL ISO Committee;
  • Computer interfaces and system specification;
    • Specification of prototype;
    • Development of prototype;
  • Model building;
    • Analysis of results;
    • Model for future practice for libraries and publishers.
Key issues
  • examination of user requirements
  • standards for music encoding and document delivery
  • development of a demonstrator.
Information was collected on the needs of users, librarians and publishers. The project liaised with the ISO working group responsible for developing SMDL as an application of the HyTime standard.
The aspects covered in the client-server approach included input, access to the encoded information from remote terminals, display, printing and payment of fees including royalties
The project has developed a demonstrator of the client-server part of this system (excluding the input stages and the scanning) to show access to a sample database, the downloading and display of the music file, its conversion to printed sheet music and the regulation of payment and royalties or rights.
Impact and results
The project has surveyed public and academic music libraries to assess the level of automation and their willingness to accept a system such as CANTATE, and has surveyed the music publishing industry assessing the level of encoding of scores, databases, territorial agreements, scanned images and coded files.
Music encoding methods have been studied leading to direct impact on the development of Standard Music Description Language although SMDL had not yet been adopted as an ISO standard at the end of the project.
A system architecture for a provider-server system was based on the use of distributed catalogues and databases, operating through the Web. A demonstrator was developed together with a sample catalogue and a database of scanned and encoded musical scores.
A model of how such a system could be further developed was produced, describing the problems still to be solved.
The prototype system has been the most important deliverable. Certain technical documents relating to this and to SMDL are restricted category, but publicly available now are reports on:
  • Survey of Music Libraries;
  • Survey of the Music Publishers.
  • Report on SDML evaluation
  • Second model report
  • Model;
  • Model evaluation;
  • Final report.
Documentation can be obtained from the contact below and from .


Name of Institution/Organisation Postal Code / City Country
Studie en Vakbibliotheek NL - 1016 GM AMSTERDAM NL
Title, First Name, Name Mr. Richard TUCKER Address: Molenpad 2
Tel: +31-20-626 64 65 Fax: +31-20-620 84 59
E-mail 1: E-mail 2:

Other Partners

Name of Institution/Organisation Country Role
Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam NL P
Shylock Progetti srl IT P
University of Bradford UK P

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