Contributor Newsletter 8

Technical update
This evening, the LED development team will be applying updates to various aspects of the site. These include changes to how the search results are displayed and the titles given to each listening experience. Minor cosmetic changes are being made to the homepage (such as the font size and layout). Whilst further work is anticipated once we’ve consulted with KMi’s web designer, the main change that you will see is how an individual record is displayed for each listening experience. We are also introducing support for the linked data set, MusicBrainz. This should increase the usability and ease of inputting music-related details into the music sub-form.

Upcoming developments and improvements include a more controlled vocabulary for music genres. This is an attempt to restrict the descriptions that are being entered. Further work will be carried out to align the entries that are already in the database with this new list. The socio-economic classifications will be replaced with a more simple, ‘upper, middle or lower class’ dropdown menu. The occupation field will then auto-fill a more precise socio-economic classification behind-the-scenes, which will appear within the listening experience search result. There will also be further enhancements to the search facility.

Some new web pages
We have recently added a couple of pages to the LED website. The first is in an attempt to attract more volunteers, and is titled ‘How to join our community’. The second is titled ‘Search terms’, and is aimed at people searching electronic sources such as databases. What we’re aiming to do is create a list of useful search terms that have yielded positive results. So if you’ve done any work for LED that involved online searches and you came up with any particularly fruitful search terms, please send them in to us. Similarly, please let us know if there are any other pages or features that you think we should include on the website.

Music MA study day at the Royal College of Music, London
Thanks to the OU MA students who attended the study day – it was great to meet you. For those of you who don’t know what this was all about, the OU’s Music MA, which was new in 2014, features LED as a case study. To coincide with the point where the students begin to look at this case study, we held an event for them at the RCM on Friday 23 January.

After a guided tour of the RCM museum, there was a library session introducing some of the RCM’s collections and how to handle primary source material. At lunchtime we went to a delightful ‘Music in the Museum’ concert featuring Baroque violin sonatas. The afternoon – as you can see from the photos: http://led.kmi.open.ac.uk/node/88/ – was spent working in the library on primary source material, identifying listening experiences and entering them into LED.

The feedback was so positive that we’re hoping to organise a similar LED workshop event at the RCM, aimed not just at OU Music MA students but any LED volunteers who are able to come, in the late spring/early summer – we’ll keep you posted.

Publicity and networking
Simon’s article about the project, ‘The Listening Experience’, which was published last year in Viewfinder, the journal of the British Universities Film and Video Council, is now available online at: http://bufvc.ac.uk/articles/the-listening-experience

Next Friday 13 February, Simon will be attending the THATCamp British Library Labs event, which is described as ‘an unconference: an open, inexpensive meeting where humanists and technologists of all skill levels learn and build together in sessions pitched and voted on at the beginning of the day’. Together with David King and Francesca Benatti, colleagues from the OU, Simon has pitched a proposal for a session entitled ‘Getting experienced’, based on LED and RED – you can read it and find out more about the event at http://britishlibrarylabs2015.thatcamp.org

Source bank
We want to ensure that we have plenty of suggestions for sources that volunteers might like to input into the database for us, so if you can think of particularly rich and/or interesting texts that you don’t necessarily want or have time to input yourself, please send us the bibliographical references and any links to them.

In particular, we’re keen to identify sources for working-class listening experiences, popular music, non-western music and early music. Ease of access is also important – the ideal source is one that is freely available on the web. But we’re happy to take any suggestions!

And please do carry on putting in entries whenever you can – we must meet our ambitious 10K target, and we need all the help we can get!

Your LED profile
We would like to find ways to acknowledge your involvement with the project, and one of our ideas is to have a page where we can include a brief profile of you – who you are, why you’re interested in LED, your own research interests, and, if relevant, your institutional affiliation(s). If you’d like us to include your profile on this proposed new page, write a few sentences and send them to us at arts-listening-experience@open.ac.uk – include a photo too, if you like. If enough of you respond, we’ll post them up on the site.

Helen and Simon
06/02/15

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