Dr. David Day, Department of History
Evaluation of Academic Objectives
The goals of this project as stated in the original proposal include the following academic objectives:
The creation of an online bibliography of research that documents music copyists.
Creation of an online prototype index of music copyists’ hands.
A joint conference presentation by two BYU students at the July 2010 meeting of the
International Association of Music Libraries held in Moscow, Russia.
A published article representing the revised conference presentation of the two students.
Objectives 1 through 3 were successfully completed. Objective four was partially achieved. The details of the objectives were slightly modified over the course of the first year of the project. Although the original proposal indicated that we would use WordPress to create the prototype index, we soon found that a wiki was a more effective platform for presenting the information. The online bibliography was posted to the Internet in an incomplete draft version in order to raise awareness of the project prior to the Moscow conference. We wanted to refine these products further, but our grant funds were depleted in August 2010 and our request for a renewal of the grant for 2011 was denied.
The final versions of the online bibliography and prototype index (objectives 1 and 2) can be viewed at these URLs respectively:
Objective 3, the conference presentation, was successfully completed. The specifics of the conference presentation evolved after submitting the original proposal. In the end, each of the two students was able to make a separate thirty-minute presentation. The first by Briana Hurst focused on the online bibliography, and the second given by Lindsay Weaver demonstrated the prototype online index. The conference presentations were well prepared and generally received positively by the audience. Lindsay’s presentation on the prototype index of copyists’ hands, in particular, prompted a lively audience discussion. Throughout the remainder of the conference I received many compliments on the students’ presentations and even overheard many positive remarks when those commenting did not know I was listening. Both student presentations were prepared well in advance of the conference. Both students rehearsed their presentation with their mentor, David Day, repeatedly prior to the conference. Both prepared excellent PowerPoint presentations to help convey their message in the context of an international conference where most in the audience were not native English speakers.
While attending the 2011 conference of the same organization in Dublin this past summer, I received some additional positive feedback. The representative who had organized the 2010 Moscow conference pulled me aside, and a year after our students’ presentations, told me that she had the greatest respect for BYU’s mentoring program. She indicated that more of this kind of student involvement in the organization is essential for its future.
Objective 4, a single published article, was not completed as originally envisioned. First, the students’ personalities and their approach to their specific assignments resulted in a separation of the work. Lindsay completed her prototype index of copyists’ hands, but did not have enough resources left at the end of the conference to work on a related article. The content of Briana’s bibliography grew much larger than anticipated. We requested additional funding for 2011 to continue the both Lindsay’s and Briana’s projects, but this request for funding was not approved. I was able to find limited funds to permit Briana to continue working on the bibliography during portions of the academic year 2010-2011. Even with this additional help, she was not able to publish what had become a book-length bibliography. At one point we submitted selections of her work for consideration for publication in the journal Fontes Artis Musicae, but the editor indicated it was much too large to publish as an article. When Briana could no longer work on the bibliography, we agreed to leave it to another student (or me) to finish, with an understanding that her work will be fully credited. I hope to provide the opportunity to another student rather than completing the publication myself.
Evaluation of the Mentoring Environment
Speaking from the mentor’s perspective, I feel that there was a good working relationship with both students. Both students worked on a daily basis in the library, in the immediate vicinity of my office. I feel I was readily accessible to both students when they had questions and needed directions. Again, speaking from the perspective of the mentor, I found that each student displayed unique aptitudes and working patterns. Lindsay, on one hand, aggressively asserted her own creative initiatives. She understood the big picture from the outset and quickly adapted to different technologies and possibilities as her work progressed. By contrast, Briana applied a consistent, methodic approach to the compilation of her bibliography, but showed less creativity, looking to me for specific directions. It was not my original design, but I soon concluded that the two students were more inclined to work independently. I therefore decided to let each focus on the aspects of the project that interested them most.
As Lindsay progressed in her design and implementation of the prototype index, two fortunate opportunities developed that enabled us to begin collaboration with other institutions. While visiting the Bay Area in early May 2010, I negotiated permission to photograph manuscripts at UC Berkeley, Stanford, and the Beethoven Center at San Jose State University. Access to these images made it possible for Lindsay to expand her research into the realm of comparing and relating similar and identical hands found in different collections. This advancement helped support the fundamental thesis of her work, that identification of individual hands helps trace the provenance and migration of otherwise undocumented sources.
In addition to access to manuscripts from these key US institutions we were also able to arrange permission to photograph manuscripts from the opera and ballet collection of the Théâtre de la Monnaie located in the City Archives of Brussels. Creative scheduling and arrangement of our flights to Moscow enabled a one-week visit to Brussels to achieve this task. I was able to arrange free lodging for Lindsay with close friends and members of the LDS Church in nearby Waterloo. The very generous support from these friends, Jorge and Camille Varela, made it possible to expand Lindsay’s index and enrich her educational experience while researching in Brussels. I also traveled to Brussels to introduce, assist, and orient Lindsay. I stayed in a separate apartment several miles distant from Lindsay’s LDS host family.
Prior to the conference, I insisted that Lindsay and Briana rehearse their presentation with me repeatedly. I feel that this process resulted in polished presentations that compared favorably with the most accomplished professionals on the program. I also believe that the clear articulation of their message was appreciated enormously by the predominately non-English speaking audience. While attending the conference in Moscow, I tried to go out of my way to introduce the students to my colleagues and peers. I found that they were welcomed and treated with professional respect.
The Harold B. Lee Library and its administration also very generously contributed to the mentoring environment. The L. Tom Perry Special Collections’ Digital Imaging Lab actually scanned about a thousand images to assist in the creation of the prototype index. The Scholarly Communications Officer, Elizabeth Smart, and Assistant University Librarian for Information Technology, Bill Lund, offered access to the Lee Library’s ContentDM database. It was very useful to test this system, but in the end we found it was not well suited to our needs.
Student Academic Deliverables
Lindsay Weaver describes the accomplishments of the prototype index in her own words as follows:
“I prepared a prototype index of copyist manuscripts, a complex project seeking ways to effectively identify and document copyist hands using wiki software. For every manuscript scanned or photographed, I attempted to identify individual hands and isolate interesting features based on a check-list of characteristics. These handwriting elements were then presented in the index alongside a page of the corresponding manuscript, allowing researchers to view them in context–a useful method which previously has been rarely used because of the costs of printing or technology constraints. So far, the online index has shown promise of functionality in our comparison of manuscripts from the Harold B. Lee Library, Stanford, UC Berkeley, and the Beethoven Center. Originally, the index was intended to be accessed as a ContentDM database, for which we received library support, but we were ultimately forced to abandon this venture when our intentions proved too complicated for its data structure. While ContentDM excels at presenting digital documents in a straight-forward fashion, it lacked the ability to show isolated handwriting elements alongside its original source–an essential characteristic of the index.”
“The online index, while functional, is worth developing further. Beyond polishing and increasing the amount of uploaded content, several possibilities exist for improvement, such as grouping manuscripts based on era and geographical origin for the purpose of studying the handwriting’s stylistic evolution. With respect to an article, I received excellent feedback from Stanley Boorman, Professor of Musicology at New York University and an established expert in the study of copyist hands, whose suggestions may eventually permit me to produce a useful publication.”
Briana Hurst has labored in a consistent effort to refine her bibliography of print library catalogues that document music copyist’s hands. Her bibliography is extensively annotated to show the varying approaches and detail of documentation found in each of these sources. Her final draft includes more than 400 items. Briana also worked on geographical and name indexes. Given the resources available, Briana took the project as far as she could, but as indicated above, it is not ready for publication. I accept responsibility for my error in under estimating the work required for the bibliography.
Expenditure of the Budget
The original proposal outlined the following use of financial resources:
|Undergraduate Wages ($9.50 x 20 hours per week x 25 weeks)||$4,750|
|Graduate Wages ($9.50 x 20 hours per week x 25 weeks)||$4,750|
|Student Travel to Moscow (airfare, hotel, and meals for two students, 7 days)||$5,700|
The funds were expended as originally projected with two exceptions:
- Lindsay’s travel arrangements were slightly modified to facilitate the one-week visit to Brussels. Her total travel costs remained about the same because most airfares to Moscow already required an additional segment of travel from a European gateway.
- Due to an unfortunate set of circumstance, beyond Lindsay’s control, she missed her return flight from Moscow. As a result she was forced to encumber about $700 in additional airfare. Because the circumstances truly were beyond her control, I decided to reimburse this loss from her remaining student wages. As a result she had less time available to work on the remaining aspects of the prototype index.
All travel funds and student wages were expended by the end of August 2010. I believe that the students have used their time effectively and worked diligently throughout the year of grant funding.