Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Happy new (academic) year - news from the MFL.

A very warm welcome to those of you who are new to Oxford and welcome back to those who are returning for the new academic year. It has been a busy summer for the Music librarians. Newcomers will not notice the difference but, for returning students and staff, the more observant among you will see that a lot of things in the Music Faculty Library have moved around.  Now that the majority of the books have been reclassified, we have combined the reference and lending books into a single sequence upstairs on the first floor. Reference books are still identifiable by the presence of a red stripe on the spine and the system will complain if you try to check them out but we hope that their presence on the shelves next to lending books with similar classmarks (rather than in a separate sequence) will be a useful development. The Short-Loan books remain on the ground floor, now concentrated in the bay by the window opposite the library desk. The shelves by the library entrance are in the process of being filled with oversize books, many of which were formerly kept in closed access behind the library desk, and DVDs.

The other big difference is that the sheet music collections, formerly kept in boxes on the top floor and hence divorced from the main sections of printed music on the ground floor, have been united with their main sections so, for example, the boxes of unbound keyboard music from the top floor have been moved downstairs and are now kept with the more substantial bound volumes of keyboard music on the ground floor. The top floor now contains the remnants of the print periodical (journal) collection. 

While the ground floor now contains all the instrumental music, along with the full and miniature score sequences, all the vocal music is concentrated on the first floor (opera/oratorio vocal scores, songs, part songs, etc.) in the bays to the left of the door from the staircase. The lending sets of collected editions have been moved from the first floor to the ground floor and are shelved in alphabetical sequences before the reference set sequences begin.

We apologise for the fact that it may take a while for you to get your bearings but we hope you’ll eventually come to agree that the resulting arrangement, in which we have sought to reduce the number of sequences, is an improvement on the previous system. We have done our best to complete as much of this work as possible before the beginning of term, including the relabelling of the shelves and updating of the floor plans, but please be patient while we continue to fine-tune the arrangements. If you are struggling to find what you need please don't hesitate to ask at the library desk and we will point you in the right direction.

Another development to have taken place in the last few months has been the inclusion of data from the card catalogues for the Bodleian Library’s music collections in SOLO so practically all the Bodleian’s printed music scores can now be located through SOLO rather than through the card catalogues which were latterly searchable through the separate online ‘flipbook’ viewer. We hope that this will be a welcome improvement.