Archives of Traditional Music appointments

A world-class celebration

This article was updated on October 3, 2023.

Two internationally recognized destinations for music came together for the first time this fall.   

After more than six decades at Indiana University, IU Libraries Archives of Traditional Music (ATM) relocated to a new home inside the William and Gayle Cook Music Library, one of the largest and most well-known music libraries in North America. Located in the Simon Music Library & Recital Center, the Cook Music Library supports the world-famous Jacobs School of Music and related programs on the Bloomington campus.

The ATM Research and Reading Room on the second floor of the Cook Music Library is now providing appointment-based visitor and researcher access to the irreplaceable cultural recordings held by the ATM. This newly renovated space has been enclosed to  create a dedicated area specifically focused on these priceless collections.  

One of the pillars of the IU Libraries’ Strategic Plan focuses on special collection access, ensuring materials such as the ATM audiovisual archive are prioritized.  The ATM preserves music and culture from all over the world that is often not found anywhere else. With over 120,000 recordings that include more than 4,000 field collections, it is one of the largest university-based ethnographic sound archives in the United States.   

Preservation for the world's audio heritage

Plans to increase the visibility and access to the ATM include not only the new Research and Reading Room inside the Cook Music Library, but also increased focus on digital finding aids, cataloging, and description. In recent years ATM materials were digitized through IU's ambitious Media Digitization Preservation Initiative.  For ideal preservation, these physical items will be housed in the climate controlled IU Libraries Ruth Lilly Auxiliary Library Facility (ALF), one of the most modern and secure book and material item repositories in America.   ALF staff manage over 200 delivery requests each day, ensuring materials stored off-site remain easily accessible to scholars on campus. 

Significant collections poised for increased impact

"This new location is a signal that the Archives of Traditional Music is prepared to play a more significant role on campus toward increasing cultural intelligence and understanding. The interdisciplinary value of the collection must be experienced to be understood and therefore will benefit tremendously from higher visibility inside the Music Library," said Diane Dallis-Comentale, Ruth Lilly Dean of University Libraries.

Wennerstrom-Phillips Music Library Director, Philip Ponella, will continue in his current leadership role of ATM staff and collections.  
"Phil is a national figure and is well known as an innovator in digital music collections. He is deeply committed to teaching and research," said Dallis-Comentale.


Limited appointments now available for researchers

The Archives of Traditional Music (ATM) was closed for researcher access in the summer of 2023 to focus on logistical responsibilities of moving the collections and research access space.  Thank you for understanding the significant impact this had on our staff. We protect and preserve world heritage audio recordings and have the highest possible commitment to their safe care and future contributions.  We look forward to returning to our previous levels of service as soon as possible, however at present, access to materials is possible through limited appointments in the new space. 

Prospective donors and depositors are asked to please continue hold items. For more information, contact (812) 855-4679 or atmusic @ indiana . edu.