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HARMONICA began Phase 2 of key music support activity

Updated 22 NOV 99
Project Number and Title
PROLIB-HARMONICA - Harmonised Access & Retrieval for Music-Oriented Networked Information Concerted Action
Programme/Action line Call Topic(s) Start End Project Duration
in Months
FP 4/ Accompanying Measure 1, 7 and 8 December 1996

Keywords : bibliographic records; multimedia; music libraries; networking; standards

blue bullet Additional information is available from the Harmonica Web site . (

Accompanying Measure

This is a concerted action in the area of networked music services in libraries, potentially covering all action lines.

Call topic(s)

Call Topic 1. Integration tools and interfaces for library systems in the local network
Call Topic 7. New scenarios for distributed libraries
Call Topic 8. User services based on resource discovery and retrieval

Project description

While music has always been an integral component of the traditional library environment, it has not always received the attention it deserves, probably as a result of the complexity of the issues it involves. Difficulties in handling music have been compounded now that it has evolved from scores and printed literature to include recorded music and, more recently, the use of new media and networks for text, sound and images.
HARMONICA aims to improve access to music collections of different types, through libraries, while taking into account the needs of various groups of users in the evolving world of networked information and interactive multimedia. The measure provides a solid strategic framework for networked access to music and related multimedia services.

Organisational approach

Libraries, as a key part of the information world, must address many difficult issues, ranging from copyright to cataloguing and the varying needs of different users groups, from professionals to users of public library services whose main interest is leisure or entertainment.

Many players are involved in the area of networked services for music, including research centres, publishers and related market-oriented suppliers, networking interests, performance rights agencies and standards bodies. Key representatives of these sectors must be identified and possibilities for co-operation must be carefully examined in order to foster better collaboration in the music sector. Task groups have been created to co-ordinate work on catalogues and collections, on user needs and interface requirements and on networks and digitisation.

Key issues

HARMONICA looks at issues such as:

  • State-of-the-art technology and practice for access to digital music and related multimedia services.
  • Application of existing standards (e.g. ISMN and ISRC).
  • Emerging standards issues for encoding sheet music (SMDL), digital music (including compression), incorporating music in multimedia products (CD-ROM), and interfaces with commercial products and services.
  • Networking options.
  • User-friendly interfaces (GUIs) for search and retrieval services, integrating requirements such as the drafting, editing and printing of sheet music, copying/downloading of recorded music.
  • Integrated services giving librarians and end-users access to digitised musical resources of all types.
  • Cataloguing requirements and integration of music catalogues into OPACs.
  • Fostering consensus between music publishers, music libraries, rights holders, broadcasters, etc., for sheet music, sound and reference.
  • Consideration of copyright issues and mechanisms for covering copyright fees (and related costs) in networked access.

Actions and results

The measure is being conducted in two phases.

During phase one, completed at the beginning of October 1997, three studies and a range of concertation activities were used for mapping out the current state of the art and defining priorities.

Phase two, lasting 26 months, concentrates on achieving consensus in the priority areas selected as a means of developing an infrastructure for further research and development.

Conferences and workshops are being held to obtain advice and feedback from other experts on the developments and ideas emerging from the concerted action and related activities.


The main impact of HARMONICA will be provision of a more robust framework for the development of networked music information services in libraries.

Additional information is available from the Harmonica Web site . (


Name of Institution/Organisation Postal Code / City Country
Title, First Name, Name Mr. Richard TUCKER Address: Molenpad 2
Tel: + 31 -20 62 66 465 Fax: + 31 20 62 08 459
E-mail 1: (email removed) E-mail 2:

Other Partners

Name of Institution/Organisation Country Role
Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Kommission für Schallforschung AT A
Dansk Musik Informations Center DK A
Bibliothèque Nationale de France FR A
Institut de Recherche et de Coordination Acoustique - Musique FR A
The Friends of Music Society GR A
Discoteca di Stato IT A
Donemus NL A
Musikkaliska Akademins Bibliotek SE A
Key issues

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