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Music and local studies: a report on the IAML conference

Local history, local music was the theme for the  International Association of Music Libraries, Archives and Documentation Centres, Australia, conference in Brisbane.  There is potential for public libraries to collect the local music of their area as well as information and stories about their local music.  The two day conference explored how libraries were collecting music about their areas as well as photographs and other information about local music.

The first keynote speaker was John Willsteed, Lecturer, Creative Industries Faculty, QUT.   He highlighted the importance of the stories in the music, diverse collecting and the need for a home for subculture ephemera.  This raised a lot of questions for how libraries collect recent material, and how well some of this material has lasted.  He also  raised the importance of content creators working with collecting institutions for interpreting recent content. 

Other speakers discussed the State Library of Western Australia's new music collection, WANMA and digital legal deposit at the National Library of Australia, which includes music scores.  There are other resources such as digitised music scores.  Michael Tully and Andrea Baldwin told of many years documenting the Brisbane folk scene, and how a partnership with a library would make the resources they are collecting safe and accessible for the future.

Fraser Coast Library is using Historypin as a way to map their local music. Their local music project started by a call out to the community, which has led to them tracking one one strand of music in their community.   This has led to new videos as well as photographs being added to their collection.

There was singing, which was a research outcome from looking at historical events

Library tours of the ABC and the Queensland Symphony Orchestra highlighted the continued value of specialist library staff for these organisations.


The second keynote was by Professor Peter Roennfeldt who higlighted the importance of serendipity, curiosity, lateral thinking,  and networks for music research.  He also described the importance of collecting information about local music.  The afternoon  had a focus on jazz with the  Dr Tim Nikolsky on the Australian Jazz Realbook,  Leah Cotterell about The Primatif  and Dr Peter Freeman on the Queensland Jazz Archive.  Dr Matt Finch connected disparate ideas to encourage music in libraries, including collecting it.  This is best demonstrated by looking at three resources he highlighted, Powerwolf, the world's scariest musical makerspace, and Ron Grainer.  Laurel Dingle provided a joyful account of the State Library of Queensland acquiring some Bee Gees memorabilia for their collection.

These two days were a very interesting look atthe value of collecting and researching local music and highlight the key role that public libraries can have in collecting this for their communities.

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