Monday, 25 November 2013

Vacation borrowing

Books and scores needed for the Christmas break?

Week-loan books and music may be borrowed for the vacation from next Monday, 2nd December, and will be due back on Tuesday 21st January.

Do you need something from the Short Loan Collection?

We need to keep one copy of all Short Loan Collection books here for the vacation so that people who stay in Oxford have access to the whole collection.  However, you CAN take Short Loan items if there are two copies of the item that you need on the shelf.  From next Friday morning, 6th December, duplicated Short Loan books will be available for loan until Friday 17th January (Week 0).  You will need to bring two copies of the book you want to the library counter to prove that there’s a spare to leave on the shelf.  There’s usually a bit of a rush, so come early if you want to take one of the “doubles” available. 

You will need to be here in person if you want to do this; you may not just renew online a Short Loan that you have already borrowed. Don’t despair if there is only a single copy left on Friday morning.  By Saturday (we’re open 10am till 1pm), all two day Short Loans will have to have been returned and often you can harvest a "double” on the Saturday.

Are you going to be around for some or all of the vacation?

Here are details of the MFL's vacation opening hours:


Friday, 22 November 2013

Business as usual at the MFL

We are delighted to report that the essential maintenance work in the library has now been completed. Access to the CD collection and the Multimedia Resource Centre has been fully restored and we expect both PCAS printers to be returned to their homes in the photocopying room early next week.

We'd like to thank our readers for their patience while the works were being carried out and hope that they didn't cause too much inconvenience.


Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Essential building works in the Music Faculty

Last week a small flood in the Music Faculty led to the discovery of major plumbing and heating problems affecting the whole building. This has necessitated some fairly major building work throughout the Music Faculty for the next 4-5 weeks, affecting the library in the following ways:

1. The lower ground floor will be inaccessible until the work has been completed. There will therefore be no access to the MRC including the iMacs and listening facilities and no access to the CD collections. There are PCs with Sibelius software on them in the main library, please ask staff if you can't find them.

2. One of the photocopy machines/printers/scanners has been relocated to the ground floor of the main library, near to the composer collected works. There will only be access to this one machine in the MFL so please plan ahead in case of high demand.

3. There will be some degree of noise in the library while the work is being carried out.

4. There will be no heating in the MFL for at least the next 2 weeks. The temperature is fine at the moment but please bear in mind if the weather takes a turn for the worse that it may get a little chilly in the library.

We will keep our readers updated as and when we find out any more details about the works but we apologise in advance for the disruption they will cause. If you have any questions about the works and how they might affect you, please email the library and we'll do our best to answer them.


Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Bodleian Music card catalogue now searchable online

It is now possible, for the first time, to browse the card catalogues for the Bodleian’s printed music collections without having to come to the Library. The cards have been scanned and the images made accessible online as a kind of ‘virtual’ card catalogue here. This is part of a project which will eventually see brief records for this material loaded into SOLO.

Since 1992, all music scores acquired by the central Bodleian have been catalogued online and are therefore accessible through SOLO, the online catalogue for most of Oxford’s libraries. Additionally, several retrospective conversion projects over the years have meant that a significant quantity of earlier accessions have been recatalogued, notably opera scores, a large proportion of our pre-1800 editions, music hall songs and a selection of important 20th century composers and collected editions. However, that still leaves approximately 75% of the Library’s music holdings represented only by the bulky card catalogues which used to dominate the old Music Reading Room and now line the central aisle of Duke Humfrey’s Library.

The card catalogues in Duke Humfrey's Library

A full recataloguing job was deemed to be prohibitively expensive but, back in 2011, the Library was fortunate to receive a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to fund a more economical approach to making the rich Music holdings of the Bodleian more widely accessible. Teaming up with the Maps section of the Library (who have a similar problem to Music) we arranged for 536,400 cards to be scanned and sent the card images away for the information on them to be keyed into a database. This task was outsourced to a company in the Philippines whose work is currently being checked and enhanced by a small team of editors based in the Bodleian’s Osney One Building in Osney Mead. Once that work is complete, by the summer of 2014, most of the data will be converted into brief MARC records and loaded into Aleph (the integrated library system) and will become searchable and the items requestable via SOLO.

A catalogue drawer
The ‘virtual’ card catalogue is a by-product of this project. An interface has been developed to make the card images accessible online using ‘flipbook’ technology which allows access to the card ‘drawers’ at frequent index points. Once you have entered a ‘drawer’, you can browse the cards until you find what you are looking for. Each card image comes with an e-mail icon which will bring up a web form to enable registered Bodleian users to request the item from the stacks. After entering your name, library card number and contact details, the form automatically captures the filename of the image and sends it to library staff for ordering to the Music reading room in Duke Humfrey.

A sample card from the Main card catalogue
In fact, several distinct music catalogues are included in this project. In addition to the main card catalogue (begun in the 1920s but incorporating much earlier material), the hand-written supplementary slip catalogue (now containing mostly minor Victorian editions received under legal deposit) can be found, along with composer and title indexes to popular music (ca. 1953-1991), and a partial index to printed music found in journals or non-music publications. Included also are a small number of cards for microfilm sets and some individual music manuscripts available on film, along with a partial index to music manuscripts catalogued between about 1965 and 2009, but the legibility of some of these hand-written cards leaves much to be desired. Please ask music staff if you need help in deciphering them.

One of the supplementary slips
Items from the old catalogues which have already been recatalogued online were removed from the drawers so duplicate entries between SOLO and the scanned cards should be minimal. Links to the ‘new’ catalogue can be found on the SOLO homepage. SOLO should always remain your first port-of-call when looking for any music scores but remember to check the card images if you can’t find what you need in SOLO, if it was published before 1992. If you still can’t find what you need, it may be worth asking Music library staff as cataloguing practices over the years have often been quite obscure and what you want may not always be filed where you might expect to find it!

A card from the Light Music catalogue
While this solution falls short of the ideal – the complete recataloguing of all music scores in SOLO which would see everything fully and consistently described and indexed – it is hoped that the result of this more pragmatic approach will be a considerable improvement on the present situation. The new interface has been released in its ‘beta’ phase and currently works best in Firefox and Chrome browsers. Functionality issues with Internet Explorer are being addressed and a few other minor improvements are planned for the coming weeks. For more information on the coverage of the card catalogues and help in using them, please see the music LibGuides. Comments are welcome to


Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Graduating this summer..?

If you're a music student graduating this year you're most likely coming to the end of your written exams this week. We hope they went well and that you'll be able to enjoy your last couple of weeks as undergraduates!

Before you disappear for the summer please make sure you've returned all your books, scores and recordings to the library and that you've paid off all of your library fines. Otherwise you may not be able to graduate, which would be a shame after having put in so much work over the last 3 years...

You can pay off fines owed to a Bodleian Library in any Bodleian lending library.

If you have lost something don't worry, just let us know as soon as possible and we can sort it out.

Don't forget to use up any PCAS credit you have left if you don't think you'll be coming back to the Bodleian Libraries to use the printers or photocopier any time in the next 2 years. Refunds are not available but credit can be transferred to another account if requested. Email: It can also be used to pay for Bodleian Library Postal Photocopying orders that can be requested by anyone, from anywhere in the world.

And finally, good luck to those of you doing recitals! I'll look forward to coming along to hear some of them!


Monday, 22 April 2013

Comb binding at the MFL

Since submission deadlines are fast approaching, this seems like a good time to remind you that the Bodleian Music Faculty Library offers a comb binding service. A4 (£2 per copy) and A3 (£3 per copy) binding is available. It is not necessary to book an appointment and we can bind while you wait. However, when bringing your submissions to the library for binding, please be aware of the following:

  • We can only bind submissions between 9am and 5pm during our fully staffed hours.
  • If the submission is A3 and portrait it may take us a little bit longer so please allow plenty of time and we may ask you to leave it with us and come back to collect it later.
  • On submission days we can be very busy and there is often a queue for binding. In order to avoid undue stress, please ensure that you allow at least an hour for binding if you're coming into the library in the morning on deadline day.
And remember: 
  • If you're intending to print a declaration form in the library you'll need to have a PCAS account with some credit on it.
  • You'll need a large envelope and a small envelope to place your work and declaration form in respectively.
  • You need to know your candidate number. If you don't know what it is, it's a good idea to find out what it is in advance of deadline day.
  • Don't put your name on your work!
Good luck!