Digitization Project at the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin
Among the distinguished treasures in the Music Department of the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin are the approximately 10,000 works in the autograph music manuscripts collection. The collection, part of the world's cultural heritage, consists of a broad spectrum of composers with pieces in their own hand, including the world's largest collection of autograph manuscripts by the Bach family, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, and Carl Maria von Weber.
As part of the project KoFIM Berlin (Kompetenzzentrum Forschung und Information Musik / Center of Excellence for Research and Information in Music), sponsored by the DFG (German Research Foundation), the core holdings of this collection of autograph manuscripts, namely those from the 17th to the mid-19th century, are to be cataloged with RISM's database Kallisto using scholarly standards and made searchable in RISM's online catalog. At the same time, the project reaches far beyond conventional cataloging methods, in that for the first time comprehensive digital documentation of copyists' hands and watermarks will be undertaken on the basis of a larger segment of manuscripts. Connections within these materials as well as to other valuable holdings of the department are expected to come to light, which will provide important information for determining the chronological and geographic origins of the works. This will give new impetus to researching paths of reception and transmission, as well as general biographic information.
Through this project, the Music Department at the Staatsbibliothek is breaking new ground for in-depth cataloging of music manuscripts. One way is that new digital opportunities are being used to enhance the RISM online catalog, developed cooperatively by the RISM Zentralredaktion, the Bayrische Staatsbibliothek (Munich), and the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, as a central reference tool for music manuscripts with the addition of visual information about copyists and watermarks. Digitizing samples of these features complements the digitization of complete music manuscripts in an effective way. At the same time, the Music Department of the Staatsbibliothek is strengthening its profile as a research site for music and partner for scholars interested in musical sources, whose research projects can be effectively supported by the expertise of its staff. Overall, the project contributes to the sustainable enhancement of the research environment for source-oriented musicology on site as well as digitally.
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