Contributor Newsletter 4

Technical updates

There are a number of updates to report:

• The problem of data being lost if you click outside the sub-form has been resolved (although you should still click Save when you’re ready to close the sub-form!).
• In the Source sub-form, the publication date (if known) auto-populates when a known source is selected.
• The Source sub-form now reuses internal LED data (not just external data from, say, British National Bibliography) – especially helpful when it comes to the publication details for letters/diary entries ‘published/as part of’.
• We’re trying out some improvements to the auto-completion of selected fields. In particular, we’re experimenting with auto-population of the performer and the genre as a "hint" of the most likely values. (The user is free to change them, in case the version in question is, say, a cover song or an alternative arrangement.)
• We can now upload scanned images/files, which means that we have the facility to supply you with scanned material to enter into LED (should you be short of sources to input!), or you can upload scans of your own documents if you want the database to hold a copy – click ‘Files’ in the Navigation menu.
• When you call up a record of a listening experience, you’ll now see a ‘copy and paste’ citation at the bottom. This is still in need of a bit of work– for example, it should always include a reference to the Listening Experience Database – so we’ll be refining the formula for Alessandro to implement when he gets back from leave.
• A reconciliation tool has been implemented for Helen and Simon so that we can remove duplication (of names, sources, etc.). At the moment we’re focusing on tidying up the duplicate people who appear when you ‘browse/by person’.

And in the pipeline – we're continuing to look into the taxonomies. In particular, we're considering using the MusicBrainz taxonomy for instruments; and we’re going to return to the ISCO 08 International Standard Classification of Occupations list to see if we can refine our category descriptions to be a little more sympathetic to historical occupations (ultimately, the aim is for none of us to have to grit our teeth and – for example – ascribe the category ‘service and sales’ to a nineteenth-century butler).


Ivan and Simon’s talk at the Cheltenham Music Festival provided an opportunity to inform the public about the project and ask for their help in suggesting sources or entering listening experiences into LED. A couple of promising leads were highlighted during the Q&A session. The first was in connection with the Cheltenham Festival itself, which is about to launch a project commemorating its 60th anniversary, whereby festival-goers are invited to describe their experiences of the festival (at any point in its history) via the festival website. They've kindly agreed to allow LED to use any relevant material. Secondly, Judith Serota - one-time director of the Spitalfields Festival - also offered to work with us in providing source material from their audiences.

Helen, Simon and Alessandro met with colleagues Byron Dueck and Daniel Allington from The Open University recently. Byron and Dan are working on an AHRC-funded project called Valuing Electronic Music, and we wanted to hear from them how they are mining data from SoundCloud ( and gauge whether there is any potential for LED in SoundCloud and other similar music websites that collate comments from their listeners. We concluded that it is indeed worth investigating further, and we're planning to do a case study so that we can take a properly informed view on the feasibility of using this type of listening experience. We’ll keep you posted.


Alessandro, Simon, Helen and Mathieu have had a joint paper accepted for The 1st International Digital Libraries for Musicology workshop (DLfM 2014) taking place on 12 September 2014 in London (see for more information and details on how to attend). The paper is titled 'Building listening experience Linked Data through crowd-sourcing and reuse of library data'.

We've also submitted a proposal for inclusion in the New Directions in the Humanities conference to be held in Vancouver in June 2015. The paper is called 'The Listening Experience Database Project: Collating the Responses of the Ordinary Listener to Prompt New Insights into Musical Experience'. We'll let you know whether we’re successful.

Project publicity

We are busy on Twitter and Facebook, and our following is steadily increasing, but we still badly need more volunteers if we’re to stand a chance of meeting our target of 10,000 entries by the end of 2015 (i.e., about ten times what we currently have!), so please tweet about us whenever you can, and mention the project to as many friends and colleagues as possible!

Helen and Simon