The Anatomy of a Bibliographic Search System for Music

Ryan Scherle and Donald Byrd

Digital Library Program, Indiana University


Abstract: Traditional library catalog systems have been effective in providing access to collections of books, films, and other material. However, they have many limitations when it comes to finding musical information, which has significantly different, and in many ways more complex, structure. The Variations2 search system is an alternative designed specifically to aid users in searching for music. It leverages a rich set of bibliographic data records, expressing relationships between creators of music and their creations. These records enable musicians to search for music using familiar terms and relationships, rather than trying to decipher the methods libraries typically use to organize musical items. This paper describes the design and implementation of the system that makes these searches possible.