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"Guidance to Help Date Printed Music Scores." C. Small. F. Gibb. Department of Computer and Information Sciences, University of Strathclyde. 2012. Download PDF (BibTeX) MSc Information and Library Studies

Due to the lack of dates on printed music before the introduction of the Copyright Act of 1911, librarians cannot catalogue an item properly and this is a great bibliographical concern of the period of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. This case study aims to provide supportive information to guide librarians in their search for a publishing date to help create more accurate catalogue records.

Printing methods, problems faced when trying to date printed music, tools recommended by other authors and the history of music publishing as well as problems within music cataloguing have been researched. From this a template was created to aid in the collection and organisation of data taken from studying printed music scores to help identify useful elements when trying to date material.

The investigation part of the study took place at Newcastle City Library and Newcastle University Library where it was found that the most useful elements for dating were plate numbers, changing company names and branches of the company listed on the title-page. Results were dependant on the publisher in question as some elements were more useful in some cases than others. Some publishers were difficult to date due to a lack of elements, such as company addresses and plate numbers, and gaps within the history of the firm.

Typography was identified as a useful tool to help date printed music but the sample size for this study was too small to be able to produce any concrete results. It can be useful for some publishers such as C. F. Peters as it is sometimes the only thing to change between editions and therefore provides clues to when it was published if a pattern can be established. Notation proved a particular problem especially with Novello as the same plates were used for many editions which means if they span over so many years then a true picture cannot be established of a particular style used.

By looking for any differences between AACR2 and ISBD rules for cataloguing music scores and the elements used within the template to record information it was found that RDA had not affected music presently in a big way and typography was the biggest description element that appeared missing from the existing rules.