Music Collection Development Policy

September 2005

I. Academic programs served

A. Departments served: School of Music , College of Visual and Performing Arts. For other departments with an interest in this field, see section II., below.

B. Degrees offered:

1. Bachelor of Music: A comprehensive major in music with emphases in music education, performance, or composition.

2. Bachelor of Arts: A comprehensive major in music for students pursuing a broad, liberal education.

3. Master of Music: Majors in music education, performance and pedagogy (for all instruments and voice), or an individualized area of study.

4. Performer's Certificate: A highly concentrated program of performance studies.

II. Clientele served

While the majority of the university population served by these materials is in the School of Music , considerable interest also comes from such diverse departments as Anthropology, History, Physics, Psychology, and Education, as well as other divisions within the College of Visual and Performing Arts. Anthropology and English, for example, share interests in ethnomusicology; Physics and Arts (architecture in particular) in music acoustics; Philosophy in aesthetics; and Theater Arts in dance and musical theater production. The various language departments are also linked to music through literature as well as through folklore. Campus offices such as Programming, and musicians in the community, also utilize library resources in this field.

III. General collection policy considerations

A. Languages: Music, both in print and in sound, is collected for its intrinsic value, regardless of the language of its texts or notes. When a publication consists mainly of musical notations, language and alphabet are relatively unimportant. Works on music, however, are primarily collected in English. Publications in other languages will be acquired when a need is evident.

B. Chronological emphasis: There are no chronological restrictions in the collecting of music materials. The collection covers the field from antiquity to the present.

C. Geographical coverage: Music, both in print and in sound, and works on music are acquired on a worldwide basis, with emphasis on Europe , the United States , and Canada.

D. Formats of material collected:

Serials, periodicals, monographs, sound recordings, and scores (including anthologies and "monument" editions) form the bulk of the collection. Among the books, standard reference works, including musical encyclopedias, dictionaries, and bibliographies, are widely collected. Music is acquired as scores and/or parts: i.e., miniature scores, sets of parts for performance, full-sized scores, and piano-vocal scores. Microforms and dissertations are purchased selectively.

E. Publication dates of materials collected: No restrictions. In many areas of music research, access to primary and secondary source materials from all periods is a necessity. Subsequent editions and reprints, including facsimile reprints, can also fill this need.

F. Special considerations, comments, and notes:

1. Treatment of subject: Juvenile treatments are not desired. Biographies are collected widely with scholarly treatment preferred, but popular treatments are acceptable when nothing else is available. Textbooks are generally not collected, though exceptions are made in theory and analysis, music education, and applied music.

2. Scope of music: Music will include collected works, scholarly editions of music written up to 1750, and all reputable or requested editions of music after 1750 (including some arrangements and simplifications) and contemporary music. See also section IV. B., below.

3. Multiple copies of method books: More than five copies of any one title will not be purchased except where long-range or special use is anticipated. See also section IV. B., below.

4. Music scores and parts are collected primarily for the purpose of research and limited, short-term needs in applied music; it is assumed that music students will purchase their own collections of performance materials.

5. Sound recordings are collected with the aim of complementing the collection of printed music, and parallel selection criteria apply; i.e., any work that would, in score format, be a desirable acquisition would also be desirable in recorded format. The compact disc (CD) format is preferred. Because variant performances of a musical work have value for comparative purposes, new recordings of works already represented in the collection will occasionally be purchased.

IV. Collecting levels

  • Subject: Music
    LC Class(es): M
    Volume Count: 25,000
    Present Collection Strength: 3c
    Collecting Activity Now: 3c
    Desired Strength: 3c
  • Subject: Music (Sound Recordings)
    LC Class(es): M*
    Volume Count: 21,000
    Present Collection Strength: 3c
    Collecting Activity Now: 3c
    Desired Strength: 3c
  • Subject: Music Literature
    LC Class(es): ML
    Volume Count: 16,000
    Present Collection Strength: 3c
    Collecting Activity Now: 3c
    Desired Strength: 3c
  • Subject: Music Instruction
    LC Class(es): MT
    Volume Count: 5,000
    Present Collection Strength: 3c
    Collecting Activity Now: 3c
    Desired Strength: 3c

*Roughly 60% of the sound recording collection is classified using a locally-developed system; the remainder is arranged according to LC classification numbers. The volume count shown here combines these two sub-collections.

B. Special observations:

1. Programs in music education, performance, pedagogy, and composition draw upon the collection of musical materials in a multifaceted manner. Each cannot, therefore, be linked to only a single segment of the collection, as outlined by Library of Congress classifications.

2. Collecting activity for materials in the broadly defined area of music and multiculturalism will be increased to WLN Conspectus Level 4 beginning in the fall of 2005. This area includes folk and popular music scores of all cultures, especially those found in the United States and Illinois and in particular, K-12 instructional materials that include music, and monographs that treat these subjects, sound recordings, and dissertations.

3. Guidelines for the acquisition of musical scores are further delineated below. See also section III .F., above.


Buy collected edition and/or complete works of significant composers (items generally classed as M2-M3); this represents current collecting activity at WLN Conspectus Level 3c. Because these sets circulate on a highly limited basis, duplicate copies of major works should be purchased (in study score or performing edition format as appropriate).

Buy individual works of significant composers.

Buy performing editions of standard chamber works for up to ten parts as resources for applied music. Sets of parts for large ensembles – e.g., band, orchestra, and chorus – are purchased and maintained by the appropriate ensemble library, not by the Music Library.

Multiple copies and selected different editions of works in the above categories may often be desirable and necessary. See also section III .F., above. Buy important folk music collections, jazz collections, and scores of non-Western music as requested.

Music before 1750

Buy significant anthologies and "monument" editions. Avoid buying simplifications or poor arrangements of this music.

Music after 1750

Miniature scores are preferred when they are considered an acceptable substitute for large scores; otherwise, purchase large scores. Both piano-vocal and full scores are desirable for oratorios, cantatas, operas, operettas, and important musicals. For major works in this category, full or miniature scores are essential. For lesser works, piano-vocal scores should be acquired as first priority and full or miniature scores as second priority.

V. Other resources

A. At NIU:

Founders Memorial Library (Reference; Academic Media Center; Rare Books and Special Collections; Government Publications; Southeast Asia Collection; education, history, and psychology collections; Film Library; Regional History Center.)

B. Off campus:

Center for Research Libraries (Chicago); CARLI member institutions; DeKalb Public Library.

VI. Special remarks

Most library materials acquired within the guidelines of this policy are housed in the Music Library, although some exceptions do occur. A rare item, for example, may require the security afforded by the Rare Books and Special Collections department of Founders Memorial Library.

Contact Us

Dean Fred Barnhart

Phone: (815) 753-1995

Founders Memorial Library
Northern Illinois University
217 Normal Rd
DeKalb, IL 60115-2828

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