School of Library and Information Studies

LIS 596: Introduction to Music Librarianship

Course Outline
Fall 2016

Instructor: Sean Luyk, Music Librarian, University of Alberta Libraries
Phone: (780) 492-6779
Office: 1-01F Rutherford South
Office Hours: By appointment
Class times: November 4-6, 2016 (13 hours) Friday: 6:00 p.m.9:00 p.m., Saturday: 9:00 a.m.5:00 p.m., Sunday: 9:00 a.m.12:00 p.m.

Calendar Description:
This course introduces students to the discipline, practice, and scholarship of music librarianship. The Introduction to Music Librarianship course is designed to provide students with a broad overview of the principles and practices of music librarianship in a variety of library and information environments. Current issues, debates, and scholarship in the field will also be discussed.    

Course Objectives/Measurable Student Learning Outcomes:
By the end of the course participants will:

  1. Have an introductory understanding of the sources of music information

  2. Be aware of the current issues and debates in the field of music librarianship

  3. Have an introductory understanding of the provision of music reference and research services to users in a variety of information environments

  4. Be more confident in their ability to answer music reference questions

  5. Be familiar with the challenges and opportunities related to the cataloguing and description, acquisition, use, stewardship, and preservation of music resources.

Topics will include, but are not limited to:

The Practice of Music Librarianship

  • Music library environments (academic, public, archival, special, documentation centres)

  • Music library users: performers, listeners, students, music researchers

  • Music reference and research services

    • Music searching: issues and methods

    • Answering music reference/research inquiries

    • Serving the general public, listeners’ advisory

  • Music cataloguing and description

    • Special concerns for music cataloguing

    • Music metadata schema

    • Music discovery

  • Intellectual property rights (IPR) and ethics

    • Music copyright and neighbouring rights in Canada

    • Rights agencies (SOCAN, Re:Sound, ASCAP, BMI)

    • Ethical considerations

  • Special considerations for music library facilities

  • Music library administration

  • Music collection development

  • Music preservation

    • Print preservation

    • Media preservation

    • Digital preservation

The Discipline of Music Librarianship

  • Characteristics of music librarians

  • The history and development of music librarianship

  • The music printing, publishing, and recording industries

  • Sources of music information

  • Professional associations and conferences

  • Training and professional development

  • Current issues and debates

The Scholarship of Music Librarianship

  • Scholarly and professional literature

  • Major research and initiatives

    • Music information retrieval

    • Music Encoding Initiative (MEI)

    • Digital musicology

    • The “R” Projects (RILM, RISM, RIPM)

A combination of lectures, small group discussions, and hands on activities will be used throughout this course. Students will be provided with (short) readings which we will discuss the following class.  

Course Relationships:
No course prerequisites.

Required Readings:
TBA. Required readings will be provided in class, in addition to a suggested reading list and list of recommended resources.

Assignments and Weighting:

  • Participation: 20%
    It is expected that students are present, and participate fully in class discussions and activities.
  • Final Assignment: 80%
    For the Final Assignment, students have two options:
  1. Scenario-based writing assignment. You will utilize what you have learned in this course and scholarly and professional literature to write a proposal for a new (fictional) music library facility or music-focused library program.  

  2. A research paper (8-10 pages, double spaced) on a topic of current significance in music librarianship.   

More details on the Final Assignment (including grading criteria) will be provided at the first class. The Final Assignment is due by midnight on Friday, December 9, 2016.

School of Library and Information Studies Grading Statement:
Grades reflect professional judgements of student achievement made by instructors. These judgements are based on a combination of absolute achievement and relative performance in class. The instructor should mark in terms of raw scores, rank the assignments in order of merit, and with due attention to the verbal descriptions of the various grades, assign an appropriate final letter grade.

Academic Integrity:
The University of Alberta is committed to the highest standards of academic integrity and honesty. Students are expected to be familiar with these standards regarding academic honesty and to uphold the policies of the University in this respect. Students are particularly urged to familiarize themselves with the provisions of the Code of Student Behaviour (online at and avoid any behaviour which could potentially result in suspicions of cheating, plagiarism, misrepresentation of facts and/or participation in an offence. Academic dishonesty is a serious offence and can result in suspension or expulsion from the University.

Students should also be mindful of the SLIS Copyright Policy.

Inclusive Language and Equity:

The Faculty of Education is committed to providing an environment of respect for all people within the university community and to educating faculty, staff, and students in developing teaching and learning contexts that are welcoming to all. The Faculty recommends that students and staff use inclusive language to create a classroom atmosphere in which students’ experiences and views are treated with equal respect and value in relation to their gender, racial background, sexual orientation and ethnic background. Students who require accommodations in this course due to a disability affecting mobility, vision, hearing, learning, or mental or physical health are advised to discuss their needs with Student Accessibility Services.

Recording of Lectures:
Recording of lectures is permitted only with the prior written consent of the professor or if recording is part of an approved accommodation plan.

Policy about course outlines can be found in Section 23.4(2) of the University Calendar.