Interlibrary Communication

This research project examines how to access the music data once they are stored. This problem arises even for new digitally-born materials.

Since we cannot expect thousands of libraries worldwide to agree on the same database system or query system, the potential for applying the emerging technology called Web Services, which is designed to exchange information between different systems, will be investigated. The technology includes: Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP), Web Services Description Language (WSDL), and Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration (UDDI). Based on the XML format, UDDI is used to register each institution’s services; WSDL is used to describe the type of service, access protocol, and its location; and SOAP is used as the protocol to exchange information.

The attractiveness of this technology for application in distributed digital libraries is that it assumes that each system (library) will be different. Web Services provide users with the “what, where, and how” to access information from disparate systems. This will be one of the key principal components in creating distributed digital libraries. This technology allows libraries to interconnect, rather than relying on one institution to collect everything (Lagoze and Fielding 1998).

The final result will be easy access for library patrons through a library portal that is connected to other libraries via the Internet. Patrons will be able to access content such as score images, searchable score content, sound and video recordings without being concerned about the physical location of the digital object (Cruz and James 1999).

Incorporation of Web Services for interlibrary communication has started with the development of protocols such as Metadata Encoding & Transmission (METS), Metadata Object Description Schema (MODS) (Guenther and McCallum 2002), and Search / Retrieve Web Service (SRW). With the computer resources of the infrastructure, further research and software development can be supported to integrate libraries and especially music libraries seamlessly.

Metadata Infrastructure for Sound Recordings project

This project is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Image, Text, Sound and Technology (ITST) program. The project aims to facilitate the formation of national and international networks of librarians, archivists, researchers, educators, and technologists to design and implement new models of digital multimedia archives and libraries. This prototype deals specifically with metadata of sound recordings. Although the project is limited to the domain of sound recordings and their accompanying material (album covers and liner notes), the solutions found in working with these complex materials will be applicable to other domains such as music scores, movies, and popular magazines.


Cruz, I. and K. James. 1999. A user interface for distributed multimedia database querying with mediator supported refinement. Proceedings of the International Database Engineering and Applications Symposium. 433–41.

Guenther, R., and S. McCallum. 2002. New metadata standards for digital resources: MODS and METS. Bulletin of the American Society for Information Science and Technology 29 (2): 12–5.

Lagoze, C., and D. Fielding. 1998. Defining collections in distributed digital libraries. D-Lib Magazine 5 (11).