Registration is free, and the meeting is open to all (regardless of chapter affiliation or membership). Please register for the event using the following Google Form:


Although registration will be open throughout the day of the meeting, the priority deadline for registration isWednesday, October 6 for planning purposes. Zoom links for the meeting’s sessions will be e-mailed to registered attendees closer to date of the meeting.


Meeting Agenda October 8, 2021 10am-4:45pm

All times are in Eastern Daylight Time (GMT -4).

10:00 am – 10:15 am: Opening Remarks

10:15 am – 11:00 am: The Music Encoding Initiative: Projects for Discoverability, Access, and Performance, Maristella Feustle, University of North Texas; Anna Kijas, Tufts University

The Music Encoding Initiative (MEI) is an international, open-source system to encode notated music as structured, machine-readable data. Encoded music offers many possible uses and benefits, including the creation of performing editions in a portable, non-proprietary format, encoding incipits for discoverability in library systems, and the ability to seek analytical insights into the structure and content of music compositions.

This presentation demonstrates the range of possible projects that music encoding facilitates with current use cases from Tufts University and the University of North Texas: from Tufts, encoding incipits in the Rebalancing the Music Canon project to bring wider exposure to under-represented composers, and from North Texas, encoding baroque operas from the Jean-Baptiste Lully Collection in their entirety. Presenters will include references to resources for attendees who wish to investigate their own potential MEI projects.

11:00 am – 11:15 am: Break

11:15 am – 12:00 pm: Moving Beyond World Music: An Exploration of Non-Western Music Cataloging Practices in Higher Education and Where to Go from Here, Alastair Canavan, Alexandria Public Library

The term “world music” has been used for decades as a catchall genre to describe any form of music outside of Western classical. As a byproduct of the eurocentrism pervasive throughout academia, its use furthers a bubble that others or ignores Non-Western cultures and their music. By examining the public-facing catalogs of 13 university libraries across 10 different countries to determine to what extent Non-Western music is included in their collections, how it is cataloged, and if the term “world music” is used to do so, the specific cataloging practices and norms that perpetuate a bias toward Western classical music can be identified and highlighted. Revealing the extent of these biases serves as a necessary first step in ultimately correcting the problem and creating more global and respectful collections. Reform will require university libraries to both collect a larger volume of Non-Western music materials and alter how their entire music collections are cataloged. Populating separate fields for the genre and the country of origin will no longer withhold the term “classical” from the classical music of Non-Western cultures. Cataloging norms can be altered in a way that will not impede the discoverability of Western classical music, yet a few key changes will both dramatically increase the visibility of Non-Western collections and afford Non-Western music and associated cultures the same level of respect as their Western counterparts.

12:00 pm – 12:30 pm: Lunch

12:30 pm – 1:15 pm: Music in the Margins: Advancing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Through the Music Library, Tim Sestrick, West Chester University

This presentation will address diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives undertaken by the Presser Music Library at West Chester University. These initiatives include creating blog posts and web resources to highlight marginalized composers and musicians; hosting a panel discussion to address issues related to the mostly-male, Euro-centric classical music cannon prevalent in music schools; and partnering with the University School of Music to encourage exploration and performance of works by composers from under-represented groups. The presentation will emphasize the role students have played in developing these initiatives, and the Music Library’s efforts to lead, rather than simply reflect, DEI advancement efforts in the School of Music. 

1:15 pm – 2:00 pm: Lightning Talks

The Directory of Digital Scholarship in Music: reconciling usefulness and sustainability in an online directory, Francesca Gianetti, Rutgers University New Brunswick

What does it take to put together a crowdsourced, online bibliographic resource? How much time and infrastructure support is required? And how to know when the labor and maintenance costs outweigh the potential value to users? This lightening talk will discuss the still-in-process “Directory of Digital Scholarship in Music” (, its humble beginnings at the 2018 Music Library Association annual meeting, and the work that has been done to make the project useful, findable, and maybe even appealing, although this may be the lesser of user experience requirements. I draw heavily on previous work in digital humanities directories and will discuss some additional complexities that come up in the music space, like the matter of definitions (what is and is not a digital scholarship project in music), meaningful genre classification that is legible across academic fields (e.g. ethnomusicology, historical musicology, music theory, music librarianship, etc.), and support for interdisciplinary, digital work when scholarship remains grounded in a print paradigm.

Increasing Music Accessibility for Patrons with Print Disabilities, Blaine Brubaker, Kristin Wolski, and Sabino Fernandez, University of North Texas

Over the past year, the University of North Texas Music Library has been exploring new technologies and software to help assist patrons with print disabilities. This lightning round presentation seeks to discuss the usefulness and importance of technologies and software such as the GOODFEEL suite and braille displays within a music library. We will provide an overview of the equipment and further outline the process of setting up an accessibility workstation for students with print disabilities. We will also highlight the difficulties involved with promoting these materials to underrepresented groups and receiving feedback. Our intention is to spread awareness of this equipment and provide a process for other music libraries wishing to install a similar station for their patrons with print disabilities.

We Cosset Our Special Collections: But Who Cares?, Donna Arnold, University of North Texas

The University of North Texas Music Library, founded in 1941, has a remarkable history of obtaining special collections, most having been donated. Since we are a state institution without the financial backing available to private universities, they provide resources we could never have afforded. Their scope varies widely; for example, we have a player piano with 5,431 piano rolls, Schoenberg correspondence and music manuscripts, three Duke Ellington collections, vast sheet music libraries from early radio, over 2,000 Stan Kenton manuscripts, and sixty years of Dallas Opera memorabilia. When I arrived at UNT decades ago, some of these collections were already present. Then for a long time I was able to witness Morris Martin’s relentless, almost super-human efforts in obtaining many more. So great was the need that we now have a music special collections librarian to care for them. Strangely, however, most members of our own community have tended to know little about them and have remained oblivious to their great potential for supporting original research. Nevertheless, there have always been a few faculty members who were interested. In this presentation, I propose to give a brief overview of the collections receiving the most attention from teaching faculty, explaining how they assigned their students to research them. I will also describe how scholars from elsewhere in the US and abroad have come to our library and filled in the gaps left by local indifference, creating significant scholarly work that depended on our holdings. I will conclude by advocating for increased outreach to our local scholarly community and beyond. For our special collections to survive with library support, it is critical to raise awareness of the unique treasures we and many other libraries have to offer. 

2:00 pm – 2:15 pm: Break

2:15 pm – 2:45:  Value Added: Music Teaching and Scholarship with MIT Special Collections, Jonathan Paul, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

This talk will highlight two special collections as primary sources for producing scholarly work, and for teaching music history, theory, and/or performance. The two collections, the Herb Pomeroy Jazz Collection and the Music at MIT Oral History Collection (MMOHC), are housed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Libraries.

These collections supplement others within the Boston Area Music Libraries (BAML), a cooperative of 18 institutions (listed at the bottom of this page) which collaborate on collection development. One example of BAML’s collaboration is the Boston Composers Project, which documented, collected, and preserved art music and jazz by resident Boston area composers.

2:45 pm – 3:15 pm: Maybe You Should Talk to a Music Librarian: Introductory Thoughts From Librarians Supporting Music Therapy Programs, Karen Berry, Jessica Abbazio, Brendan Higgins

In this lightning round session, several MLA members from across the country who support teaching, learning, and research in music therapy will share reflections on how music librarians can assist each other as we explore ways to work with the students and faculty in these programs. Providing library support for academic work in music therapy presents unique challenges for music librarians, who may feel more comfortable with humanities tools and methodologies and less confident working with the social sciences. Though this topic has received little attention in the music library community, we have much to offer music therapy students and faculty – from advising and collaborating on systematic reviews to designing tailored information literacy sessions that incorporate health science and psychology resources.  Music librarians can provide specialized support and connect music therapy practitioners with crucial resources in our libraries and relevant colleagues in professional organizations. 

The goal of this session is to begin to build a community around teaching, learning, research, and collection development work for music therapy. We will share updates on the conversations about music library support for music therapy research and systematic reviews that are currently occurring in our own networks, and we hope to inspire further discussion (both informally and/or through the future establishment of an official MLA interest group) of the ways that music librarians can help each other to develop proficiencies in this area.

3:15 pm 3:30 pm: Break

3:30 pm – 4:30: Atlantic Chapter Business Meeting

3:30 pm – 4:30: Texas Chapter Business Meeting

3:30 pm – 4:00: New England Chapter Announcements**

4:15 pm – 4:45: Listening Party, Peter Laurence, Harvard University

** The NEMLA Business meeting will be held, as usual, at the spring meeting. Committee meetings, normally occurring in the fall, will be held during the week following the Fall meeting. Committee meetings are open to all NEMLA members. To attend a meeting of a particular committee, please contact the Committee Chair. A list of NEMLA committees and their members may be found here.