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About the Creation of the Chopin Early Edition Digital Collection

The Chopin Early Editions collection was digitized in-house at the University of Chicago Library. It is the result of an inter-departmental collaboration which drew on staff from the Cataloging Department, the Digital Library Development Center, the Music Collection, the Preservation Department, and the Special Collections Research Center.

Digitization: Creating the Images

The goal of the project was to produce digital images which would serve the needs of Chopin scholars interested in the publishing history of the scores, music scholars interested in analyzing the scores, and performers wanting to play the scores. The online scores were not intended for detailed, artifactual research which is best supported by viewing the originals.

Capture and conversion decisions were made with these potential needs in mind. The following functionality was identified as being of high priority for supporting these needs:

Images were saved as uncompressed TIFF files and edited in Adobe Photoshop. Slight borders were left on images so that the entire artifact can be viewed. Covers and blank pages were included. The TIFF images are stored on CD as well as a tape backup system.

Several derivative files will be produced for online viewing. Two JPEG images of different sizes have been created and are currently available for those scores which have been scanned. In the future we will also be providing a DjVu file for each score. The JPEG images, one of medium resolution and one of high resolution, will provide easy access to the images since browsers natively support the JPEG format. The DjVu file, which requires a plug-in on the user's machine, will be created to support additional functionality such as online zooming as well as scaled and batch printing, saving, and emailing. A sample DjVu file is available for preview in a static interface.

Intellectual Access

The collection is made available to the public through a variety of access points.

Chopin Early Editions Web Site

The primary point of access to the digital collection is through the Chopin Early Editions web site. This site provides both searching and browsing configured to support the particular needs of the collection, such as searching for dedicatee and plate number or browsing by musical genre.

The web site was created using Greenstone Digital Library software, developed by the New Zealand Digital Library Project and made available as open-source software under the GNU General Public License.

The metadata which drives the website was derived from several sources and converted to MODS (Metadata Object Description Schema) and METS (Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard). The bibliographic data were extracted from MARC records for the print scores in the Library's online catalog. The structural metadata were originally recorded in a Microsoft Access database during the scanning process and later extracted for import into Greenstone together with the bibliographic data.

The University of Chicago Library's Online Catalog

Persistent hyperlinks to the digital scores were added to the records for the print scores in the Library's online catalog. Thus a user can search the online catalog for a particular score and jump from there to the online version.

Other Catalogs

A hyperlinked collection-level record was contributed to OCLC's WorldCat. URLs for the online versions will be added to the existing records in OCLC for the paper versions of the individual scores. Dublin Core records will be created for items in the collection to support record-sharing using the OAI (Open Archives Initiative) protocol for metadata harvesting.