100 Days of Muscat
We've reached a Muscat milestone: we have been using our specially developed music cataloging program for just over 100 days! Over 150 contributors around the world have Muscat and over 3,700 records have been added to the RISM online catalog since the release in November 2016.
Muscat continues to be developed. Italian guidelines have been added since the release and a Spanish version is in preparation.
What's Muscat like from the perspective of those who use it every day? Here we offer you a point of view from a colleague in the United States:
Christina Linklater from the U.S. RISM Office writes:
Now that we have been using Muscat in the United States RISM Working Group for a few months, we thought it might be interesting for our colleagues at home and abroad to learn about our experience with the system.
Most aspects of our RISM cataloging were already web-based, even before November 2016. We track our work in Google Drive, use email to communicate with one another and with our colleagues at Zentralredaktion, and catalog remotely using digitized scores. Performing our cataloging in Chrome, rather than in a separate utility, lends seamlessness to our workflow.
Despite the inconvenience of toggling between browser and module, Kallisto was a beloved tool and one with which we were slightly reluctant to part, as we were so accustomed to its capabilities (and quirks). One feature of Kallisto cataloging that was particularly cherished was the option to use keystroke combinations for nearly every function, an ergonomic alternative to mousing. Learning to exploit shortcuts in Muscat has been quite easy, though, and we are constantly improving our efficiency.
Library systems are generally moving towards web-based operations. Harvard University, the institution at which the U.S. RISM Working Group is based, will be phasing out its server-based Aleph library management system in 2018 and joining the Alma community, shifting all functions (cataloging, circulation, reserves, serials, acquisitions and the public interface) to a cloud-based solution. This represents a radical shift for Harvard, yet because we’ve already implemented web cataloging here at Harvard’s RISM office, we’re uniquely able to share our perspective of online cataloging.
On February 24th, 2017, two members of the U.S. RISM Working Group, director Sarah J. Adams and cataloger Christina Linklater, traveled to the Music Library Association’s annual meeting in Orlando, Florida to give a short presentation on Muscat and to offer hands-on training in the test database. We were pleased to find that our MLA colleagues are as excited as we are by the potential of Muscat; the real-time rendering of incipits in Muscat was particularly well received by the audience.
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