Moravian Music Foundation

Bring your hidden resources to light

Researcher at the Moravian Music Foundation

"Working with OCLC, we have been able to meet our principal need for a discovery service with WorldCat Discovery, which displays our local holdings information, whether that is a book in our research library, a shelf number for a music manuscript in our vault or a microfilm reel number."

Barbara Strauss
Catalog Project Manager, Moravian Music Foundation

Stewards of the Moravian Church have maintained collections of music important to this tradition, including everything from sacred music by Moravian composers to popular music by contemporary composers, through the Moravian Music Foundation (MMF). In the 1970s and 1980s, musicologists cataloged the MMF's major collections, but the records remained in a card catalog unknown to most people. As Project Cataloger Dave Blum explained, "These collections have been sought out by scholars who have heard about them by word of mouth or who have read about the collections through footnote references."

According to Catalog Project Manager Barbara Strauss, the staff wanted "to make the collections of the Moravian Music Foundation known to anyone anywhere in the world." WorldShare® Metadata Services and WorldCat® Discovery have brought them closer to their goal. MMF is now working with a third-party group to scan MMF's physical cards and create MARC records to meet Barbara's specifications. They then upload the records to WorldCat, and the MMF librarians add notes from their deep knowledge of the Moravian Church. "We use WorldShare Record Manager to create local holdings records for each item we catalog," Barbara explained. "We created LHR Constant Data profiles to indicate the item's location and specific custodial and provenance statements."

"The implementation of WorldCat Discovery is allowing the same musical works located in dispersed locations—in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and Bethlehem, Pennsylvania—to come together in the catalog."

Dave Blum
Project Cataloger, Moravian Music Foundation

The MMF calls their catalog GemeinKat, as Dave explains, because "Gemein is from the German word for 'community' or 'fellowship,' and Kat is for 'catalog.'" As the library continues to contribute its holdings to WorldCat, Barbara noted, "preliminary assessment shows that we hold many unique musical works from the 18th century and many rare printed scores and parts." These unique items are now discoverable to the world through WorldCat Discovery.

"Our plans for discovery," she continued, "include having records for manuscripts and early printed music represented in RISM … the ultimate resource for music scholars." The library staff has begun successful experiments to deliver RISM records into WorldCat and to contribute WorldCat records into RISM, thereby enhancing both resources. They also look forward soon to making Moravian Music Journal and other similar newsletters available widely through WorldCat Discovery.

WorldCat Discovery has helped the MMF share rare and unique resources worldwide, for the first time reaching beyond a small and dedicated audience of researchers, even though the library does not use an integrated library system. "We've been told we have an innovative use of WorldCat Discovery," Dave said. But, Barbara added, "The flexibility of WorldCat Discovery works well in the context of our archival collection."

Map showing location of Moravian Music Foundation

Library at a glance

  • Founded in 1956 to preserve, study, edit and publish the music retained in the Archives of the Moravian Church in America
  • Collection includes about 10,000 music manuscripts and early editions, mostly 18th and 19th century-works, from Moravian and non-Moravian composers from America and Europe
  • Special collections include the Irving Lowens Collection of early American tunebooks, the band books of the 26th North Carolina Regimental Band, the George Hamilton IV collection, and the complete works of Charles G. Vardell, Margaret Vardell Sandresky, and Charles Fussell
  • Lends printed choral and instrumental music, often to non-Moravian churches and schools

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