AUSTRALIA IN THE 21ST CENTURY -
More of the same or something completely different?
is an abbreviated version a paper presented at IAML Australia’s 1998
Conference in Sydney. The original paper traversed a number of issues and
events, including organisational change, information industry trends, the
closure of the Dennis Wolanski Library of the Performing Arts and the
establishment of the Wolanski Foundation as contexts for the development of
IAML in Australia.
on the role and potential of arts library, archival and museum associations, Merging
Arts Information Associations
(which attempted to provoke a debate) and Scratching
(which explores some of the issues) were published in 1998 and 1999. A fourth paper in the series, Serving
the Arts, (which will attempt to provide some answers after deeper
research and reflection),
will be published in October 2000. A paper on the Dennis Wolanski Library, From
Grand Vision to Corporate Services Casualty,
will also be published in 2000.
1967, five librarians met informally at the Library Association of Australia
Conference to discuss the possible formation of a regional group of IAML.
Further tentative steps eventually led to a seminar at Adelaide in 1970,
organised by Werner Gallusser and Andrew McCredie, and to the formation of an
Australasian branch. The first official meeting of IAML was held a year later
in conjunction with the Library Association of Australia conference.
dominant personality of the 1970 seminar was Roger Covell, who at the time was
charged with the task of completing his report on music in Australia. In the
report, sixteen recommendations on music library resources, repeated in a
separate report, commissioned by AACOBS and assisted by the National Library
of Australia, proposed improved coordination at a national level, production
of tools to assist rationalisation and access, development of resources in
existing libraries and the creation of new libraries.
Since the inaugural meetings,
IAML Australia has provided a link to the international body and stimulated
the development of music library services in Australia, mainly through the
have been held biennially since
1971, including a period when they were held as joint conferences with the
Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) and the
International Association of Sound Archivists (IASA). They have acted as
milestones, facilitating the conduct of business, providing opportunities
for people to get to know each other and creating forums for the
expression of experiences and ideas.
projects and publications.
Our magnum opus has been The Union
Catalogue of Orchestral Performance Materials. Other compilations have
included union catalogues of collected scores and serials and a directory
of Australian music libraries, published in RISM. The regular
publications, Continuo and Intermezzo, have reflected the style, substance and development of
projects and publications.
IAML Australia has played a peripheral, tracking role as a form of
participation in the international projects RILM, RISM, RIdIM and RIPM.
Australia’s interest in developing music library services is shared by other
organisations here and overseas. Their goals and operations are relevant to
parent organisation (IAML) and the Music Library Association (MLA) in the
United States both offer frameworks and ideas for local action. The
imagination, scope, structure and activities of MLA deserve special scrutiny
The performing arts
information management and curatorial industry is represented in other special
interest groups in Australia – the Arts Libraries Society/Australia and New
Zealand (ARLIS/ANZ), the Performing Arts Special Interest Group of Museums
Australia (PASIG) and the Australian Sound Recording Association (ASRA).
groups, in particular, have complemented the work of IAML - the Music
Reference Group (MRG) and the National Networked Facility for Research in
Australian Music (NFRAM).
MRG was formed in 1995 as
tank to work on major issues relating to music…generate and empower
activities in the areas of collecting, bibliographic control, preservation,
access, national coordination and copyright.
The formation of the group
was stimulated by two initiatives of the National Library of Australia – the
Towards Federation 2001 conference and the Survey of Music Collections in
Australian Libraries. Meetings were held in 1995 and 1996.
These forums produced a long list of current music library issues
relating to bibliographic control, collection development, networking and
collaborative mechanisms, electronic opportunities, preservation, copyright,
training and advocacy.
The future of the group is
uncertain, although the National Library has indicated informally a
willingness to engage in further discussion and, possibly, to contribute to
projects generated by the group.
NFRAM was established with
assistance from the Commonwealth Department of Education, Employment and
Train’s Research Infrastructure (Equipment & Facilities) Program to
modes of access to Australia’s scattered and often hidden documentary
sources and to build structures that will provide access to, and knowledge
about, all our music-related resources.
include the Canberra School of Music, Australian Centre for the Arts and
Technology, Monash Department of Music and Music Resource Centre, Australian
Music Centre, La Trobe University School of Arts and Media, National Library
of Australia and National Film and Sound Archive.
IAML Australia reached the end of its first sigmoid curve? Does it need to take stock of its role, its relationships
and its contribution to the management of music resources in Australia? Do new
directions, modus operandi and connections need to be forged? Let me start the
Make a better blueprint
organisations, including library associations, need a business plan.
Written language is a useful tool for articulating purpose and
direction. Writing a business plan is a useful process for grappling with
environments, stakeholder interests, financial issues and marketing
possibilities. IAML Australia’s statement of purpose, composed in the 1970s,
is lost somewhere in our archives.
is considerable overlap in the objectives of IAML, MRG and NFRAM. Their roles
need to be differentiated. The tributaries may run more powerfully in one
groundwork for a business plan has already been laid. The long list of issues
identified at the first Music Reference Group meeting provides a ready-made
force field analysis and a starting point for further thinking.
processes and decision-making could also be examined.
The system of decision-making through executive responsibility and
general meetings provide the operational framework for decision-making in the
future, but the information age ushers in new ways for structuring issues,
widening the level of participation in the process and speeding up decisions.
Create a bigger family
and single discipline librarians and libraries in kindred interest groups may
benefit from a more streamlined approach to the management of strategies and
activities. The time may be ripe to consider some kind of merger with ARLIS/ANZ,
PASIG and ASRA - particularly at a state level – or other forms of
is represented on the Music Council of Australia. The Music Council of
Australia’s directory includes almost 100 music organisations, which in turn
represent a larger music constituency. Is there scope for stronger links with
other music groups? Are there
more effective ways to transfer our messages through these groups?
How well do we understand music library users and non-users? How would
a better understanding of their needs affect what we do? Could IAML serve as a
more effective R & D service for member libraries?
Swim with the big fish
major institutions that are charged with national coordination and networking
responsibilities theoretically create opportunities for more effective
representation of the needs of a special interest group. Since the National
Library has informally indicated interest in continuing some form of
engagement with music libraries, the door is open for a productive
relationship - providing a IAML business plan confirms the desirability of the
link and demonstrates how the link could work.
participation in peak body organisations and technical committees prompts us
to think about possible local applications of the MLA model.
state libraries have led the development of music library services in
Australia and have played a central part in the history of IAML. Is there a
need to strengthen the involvement of all state libraries in the development
of music services – possibly through the establishment of state library
Be clever with money
Australia sends 80% of its fees overseas to the international body even though
the level of participation in the affairs of the international body is minimal
and the benefits are questionable. Should the proportions be the other way
the lead from the American music librarians, should we create an Australian
Music Library Association? The Australian sound archivists adopted this
approach over a decade ago, when they formed the Australian Sound Recording
Association, rather than continue as an Australian Branch of the International
Association of Sound Archivists. The formation of ASRA has not prevented
Australians participating in the affairs of IASA.
merger with kindred special interest groups may increase the membership money
pot and create economies in managing publications, Websites and conferences.
Arts marketing consortia have demonstrated the value of pooling funds to
produce benefits for contributing arts organisations. Is there scope for
elevating the importance and contribution of institutional membership and the
creation of a IAML slush fund to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes?
Make the most of people
of our organisational thinking in the past has focussed on collections of
music and related materials – how we acquire, organise and make them more
accessible. The theory of knowledge management encourages us to create greater
value out of the people who acquire, organise and use music information by
making their knowledge more visible.
Music Library Association, which provides links to subject experts on its
Website, leads us to the water.
also provides a model for the practices of recognition and reward. Awards for
distinguished service, noteworthy projects, and quality articles and reviews
are certainly deserved by some of my colleagues. They could also act as a
modest form of incentive to shy Continuo contributors?
you accept Charles Handy’s advice that forced discontentment is desirable,
the tools of quality management and benchmarking offer guidelines for making
the most of the exercise. We could look with profit at
other organisations of any size in any field, not just organisations
representing music librarianship.
Light the small fires in the darkness
Handy concluded The Empty Rainbow
with these thoughts:
Change comes from
small initiatives which work, initiatives which, initiated, become the
fashion. We cannot wait for great visions from great people, for they are in
short supply at the end of history. It is up to us to light our own small
fires in the darkness.
Think big, but be
prepared to eat the elephant one mouthful at a time. Pop the champagne cork if
an ARC grant is secured for a major project, but also create other ways of
achieving the same end with smaller amounts of money from other sources.
We did no less, for example, with the Union Catalogue of Performance
IAML moves into the 21st century and up the next sigmoid curve, it
carries forward the seeds of its future.
1970-1996. [Various places]: International Association of Music Libraries,
Archives and Documentation Centres.
in the Digital Age: challenges for libraries, museums and archives.
Seminar outline. IFLA conference 1998. <http://www.nlc-bnc.ca/ifla/IV/ifla64/64pre.htm>
Roger. Music in Australia: needs and prospects. Report fro the Australian
council for the Arts. Kensington, NSW: Unisearch, 1970.
Charles. The empty raincoat. Milsons Point, NSW: Arrow Business Books,
Association of Music Libraries Archives and Documentation Centres Website.
Information Technology Centre Website. <www.sbu.ac.uk/litc>
Library Association Website.<http://www.musiclibraryassoc.org>
Reference Group. Archived minutes of meetings are available from the
National Library’s Website – eg <http://www.nla.gov.au/archive/dnc/music/121295.htmlare>
Facility for Research in Australian Music. <bttp://nfram.anu.edu.au>
hoc task force on conceptualizing a basic manual series
music library personnel characteristics
and Public Libraries: Bibliographic
; Electronic reference services
sharing and collection development
Musicological Society, Joint Committee on RISM
Joint Committee with Uni of Maryland
Publishers Association/Major Orchestra Librarians Association
Office Governing Board
TO OTHER ORGANISATIONS
Information Standards Organisation (Z39)
OCLS Users Group
member to attend first meeting
bibliography in music
article on music librarianship
review published in Notes
service to the profession of music librarianship over a short period of time
& INTEREST GROUPS
and popular music
in Music Librarianship
in Black Music
List Serve + archive