TITLE: Beethoven Bibliography Database

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This is a little jewel of a bibliographic database, 3000 records strong at present and counting. The Beethoven Research Center (**) at San Jose State University, which operates administratively as a special department of the College of Humanities and the Arts, has undertaken the project of creating an internet accessible database to provide universal access to their collection. This collection consists of comprehensive holdings of scores, secondary literature and manuscript materials relating to Ludwig van B eethoven. Secondary literature indexed is both monographic and periodical, in all languages and for all time periods. Periodicals indexed include not only music periodicals but those from other fields such as medicine, art and literature. The Center's net is spread as widely as possible, in other words, in the ocean of print. Recorded sound is not collected by the Center, nor are there any plans at present to collect MIDI files. Center staff indicate that this is the largest Beethoven collectionin the United States.

The project has been underway for a year with NEH funding, and retrospective conversion is expected to take until 2004 and to result in about 22,000 records. At that point the database will be maintained with records for all new additions. Records for printed secondary materials are being created in phase one. Phase two will include first editions of scores and important early editions. The Center will attempt to include records for important editions that they do not themselves own with information on where they are held. The third phase will create records for the Center's manuscript collections. As with any special collection, loans of whole items are not available, but Center staff will willingly photocopy for remote researchers at 20 cents per page, even from scores. A telephone number for accessing the center is included in the brief introductory information online.

The database search engine is the library's INNOPAQ public catalog and the project is well staffed, so that the inferface is wonderfully professional. All usual library access points are available for records and some additional ones as well. Music specialists benefit from access to special composition numbers, standard numbers musical genres and even RISM location, as well as from the ability to browse for related editions through the shelflist. Researchers from all fields working with this time period can use the enhanced indexing to satisfy quite specific information needs and curiosity, for example on Beethoven's suicidal episodes, patrons, romantic relationships or health. In addition, contents notes are being entered for documents, which consist of tables of contents as well as an abstract for books, and abstracts for articles, searchable through keyword searches of the notes field. For a multi-language database keyword searching has to be used

judiciously, but it surely extends the user's options to retrieve references on very specific topics. Center staff are readying a user manual for sale in February,1994 at a cost of approximately $40.

This is a wonderful resource, one which I hope will inspire many similar efforts on other important figures in music and other areas of the humanities.

Mary H. Kay
Acquisitions/Collection Development Librarian
Humboldt State University
January 22, 1994

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