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IU Receives $3 Million Grant to Create Digital Music Library

Sept. 20, 2000

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University announced plans today (Sept. 20) to create a groundbreaking digital library to support research and education in the field of music using a $3 million grant from Digital Libraries Initiative-Phase 2, a multi-agency federal program with funding from the National Science Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

With the click of a mouse, students and faculty will have access to a collection of music in a variety of formats and from a range of musical styles and types. For example, students will be able to listen to sound recordings while displaying images of musical scores, or they may listen to computer generated music while viewing computerized score notation or even improvising a new part on a computerized music keyboard.

The four-year grant will allow IU information technology specialists, researchers, librarians and music experts to establish a digital music library testbed, develop computer applications for education and research in the field of music and seek answers to the thorny issues surrounding music-related intellectual property rights. IU will develop software tools and applications to support music teaching, learning, and research. More information about the project is available on the Web at

"Information technology is changing the landscape of modern universities," said IU President Myles Brand. "This project will help expand the impact of technology beyond its traditional core in the sciences by developing innovative applications for teaching and research in music.

"Information technology provides a wealth of opportunities to advance the frontiers of knowledge in the arts and humanities," Brand said. "Indiana University is pleased to receive this award and applauds the collaborative efforts of the School of Library and Information Science, the School of Music, the University Libraries, and the Office of the Vice President for Information Technology."

"Digital libraries are among the university's top priorities for information technology," said Michael McRobbie, IU vice president for information technology, chief information officer and principal investigator for the project. "This project will combine development of a state-of-the-art digital library system with the creation of software that uses the digital music library in research and teaching. Underpinning and helping steer this project will be essential research in the areas of intellectual property and human-computer interaction."

Applications using the digital music library for music instruction will be designed and developed by faculty in the IU School of Music, widely respected as one of the world's leading institutions for the study of music.

"The digital music library project will make possible major innovations in the use of computer technology and digital media for music research and education," said Gwyn Richards, interim dean of the IU School of Music.

"This project builds on the strengths of Indiana University," said Suzanne Thorin, Ruth Lilly University Dean of University Libraries. "The university's digital library program seeks to make the university's unique resources broadly available and to build on university strengths. Creating a world-class digital music library to complement the world-class School of Music is a perfect fit."

IU's development and demonstration of the digital music library for access and instruction will significantly advance the state of knowledge and practice in digital libraries. The project will seek to move digital libraries into a new phase beyond creating, organizing and disseminating digital objects -- the immersion of digital content in the education and research processes.

"How do we create a digital music library that is useful and usable?" asked Blaise Cronin, dean of the School of Library and Information Science. "What kinds of needs do users have? What sort of functionality do they expect? How do we design for optimal usability? And how do we protect intellectual property rights in distributed environments? These are some of the research questions we'll be tackling in this project."

The digital music library will be available to students, faculty, librarians and library patrons at IU. High-speed national and international networks will make the system available to selected users at remote locations in the United States and overseas who are assisting in the research: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Massachusetts-Amherst and Northwestern University in the United States.; King's College, Loughborough University and Oxford University in the United Kingdom; and Waseda University in Japan.

Faculty researchers on the project have a variety of academic backgrounds, including computer science, information science, law and music. The project is an outgrowth of IU's Digital Library Program, a university-wide collaboration of the IU Libraries, the Office of the Vice President for Information Technology, and academic researchers led by the School of Library and Information Science.

IU is one of 23 members of the Digital Library Federation, a consortium of research libraries that are transforming themselves and their institutional roles by exploiting network and digital technologies.

(Karen Adams, UITS, 812-856-5596,