9 July 2015 (revised)


  • Purpose of the policy statement: to guide the collection-development and management decisions for the educational, performance, teaching, and research collections in the William & Gayle Cook Music Library.
  • Audience: Indiana University School of Music and University Library administrators, IU and general library clientele (including students, faculty, librarians, staff, Indiana residents, and visiting scholars), music librarians at other institutions, and students of music and general librarianship.
  • Description of institution/department and clientele: Primary clientele are the faculty and the students of the IU School of Music, from pre-college through the PhD level. In addition to curricular support, collections support individual faculty and graduate student research, and the artistic functions of performance and composition of music, whether for the instructional, learning, creative, or cultural use of its clientele. The number of full-time degree candidates stands at about 1500, of which 53% are undergraduates. There are about 150 full-time faculty members. An Office of Pre-College and Special Programs brings in hundreds of workshop participants, especially in the summer, who use the Cook Music Library. The collections additionally serve as the principal music collection for all campuses of Indiana University, and as the State of Indiana's principal music resource collection. The Music Library's mission statement, as approved in 1998 by the School of Music's Music Library Advisory Committee, can be found here.

Brief overview of the collection:

  • History of the collection:
    • 1921: Collection of recordings, books, and scores established to circulate from the office of the dean of the School of Music (overseen by his secretary).
    • 1928: Identified as a departmental library in the University’s guide to the library.
    • 1937: Music Library given separate quarters in new Music Building.
    • 1939: Ethyl Louise Lyman appointed as first full-time music librarian.
    • 1943: Collection ranked as 3rd in size of IU branch libraries after Law & Medicine (15,000 books, scores & periodicals, and 3,000 recordings) plus large collection of orchestral & choral performance parts.
    • 1950: Orchestral & choral materials established as a separate division, administered by the Music Librarian.
    • 1960: Lyman retired. Collections had grown to 35,000 books, 80 sets of periodicals, 12,000 recordings, more than 137,840 items of printed music, & 250 rolls of microfilm
    • 1960s: Latin American Music Collection established as adjunct to the new Latin American Music Center.
    • 1970: Black Music Center & Black Music Collection established with grant from NEH
    • 1970s-1990s: Substantial growth in staff & collections under leadership of David Fenske. (Full-time professional staff presently consists of head librarian, collection development librarian, reference librarian, electronic music resources librarian, two technical services librarians, and one each user-services and computing professionals.)
    • 1996: The present William & Gayle Cook Music Library opened in renovated quarters of the Simon Center.
    • 1999: Mary Wallace Davidson appointed head of the Cook Music Library.
    • 2004: Philip Ponella appointed Director of the Cook Music Library.

      Cataloged collections = 90,433 monographs; 17,786 bound serials; 152,175 sound recordings; 3,445 videos; 125,399 music scores; 242,645 music performance parts; 18,470 microforms. Uncataloged collections (represented by preliminary records in the online catalog, and can be paged from closed stacks) = 2,800 monographs; 25,200 music scores; 12,950 sound recordings; 560 videos; 3,150 microforms.

  • Expanded summary history can be found here. For a more complete history, see Mary Wallace Davidson's, “Indiana University’s William & Gayle Cook Music Library: An Introduction,” and John F. Anderies', “Ethel Louise Lyman and the Beginnings of the Indiana University Music Library,” both found in Notes 59 (December 2002):125-–87. Online full text of these articles can be found in JStor.

Collection strengths and weaknesses:

  • The Music Library's primary collection of printed research materials includes more than 580,000 cataloged items. The strengths of the collection include: 19th-century first or early editions of orchestral, chamber, and opera sources; extensive holdings of printed operas; theory treatises from the Renaissance to the late nineteenth century; Russian/Soviet music, Central and Eastern Europe during the Cold War; early keyboard and violin primary source materials (the Willi Apel collections); Black and Latin American music collections; as well as other special collections of print and audio materials. In addition, the performing ensembles collection contains scores and parts for large ensembles, including virtually all the standard orchestral and choral repertoire in support of the School of Music's several choruses and orchestras.

    The audio collection contains cataloged sound recordings for use in class assignments, applied music study, and research. The collection is particularly strong in the area of opera, and features among its special collections the Jussi Bjoerling Collection (the world's largest collection of recordings by the Swedish tenor, about 3,000 items), and the Ross Allen and Alvin Ehret collections of vocal recordings (37,000 recordings of operatic and vocal repertoire, including virtually all complete operas recorded between 1950 and 1975, many of them unique or rare in the United States). Grants from the Title II-C program for original cataloging of these collections have made bibliographic records for a significant proportion of these sound recordings available through OCLC. The Orchard Collection consists of tape duplicates of one of the largest privately-held opera collections in the United States. 

  • There are no identified weaknesses in the collection, other than the areas named elsewhere in this document in which the library purposely does not actively collect.

  • Subject areas emphasized or de-emphasized: Music in the art-music tradition of Europe, the Americas and Russia is emphasized. Generally excluded are “popular” music, and most ethnomusicological materials. Jazz and rock music are collected primarily in the sound recording formats.

  • Collection locations: All materials are housed in the William & Gayle Cook Music Library, excepting music books purchased by other funds for: the Folklore Collection (books on folk music), Lilly Library (rare editions and manuscripts), Reference in Research Collections, and Undergraduate Library Services (music books for general readership).

Scope of Coverage:">

  • Languages collected and excluded: Music scores are collected for their intrinsic musical value, regardless of the language of the text. Other print materials (books, periodicals, etc.) are collected in English, Romance languages, Germanic languages, and Slavic languages. Music monographs in other non-Roman scripts purchased by area-studies and other librarians are shelved in the Music Library. Recordings are collected regardless of the language of any sung text, or of any accompanying printed matter.

  • Geographical areas covered and excluded: Music in the art-music tradition of Europe, the Americas and Russia is emphasized, regardless of place of publication. Primary places of publication are North and South America, Europe, the Russian Federation, and Japan.
  • Chronological periods covered and excluded: From the Ancient World to the present day (no exclusions).
  • Dates of publication of materials collected: current vs. retrospective coverage: No chronological limitations placed on print and manuscript materials; emphasis is on current publications, though retrospective purchases are made to fill identified gaps in the collection. Audio and video materials are acquired only in current recording formats.
  • Formats collected: Monographs, monographic series, periodicals, music scores (miniature, full, study) and performance parts (solo and chamber music), manuscripts, facsimiles, theses and dissertations, microforms (35mm film, fiche), computer software, digital databases and indexes (CD-ROM & online), iconographical materials in CD-ROM, slide and microform formats, audio & video recordings in currently-available formats. Music scores and parts are collected in various editions of a work; sound recordings are collected in various editions and performances of a work. Additional formats purchased with School of Music resources include scores and parts for large-ensemble performance. Formats excluded: Obsolete audio formats


Collecting responsibility: the Music Collection Development Librarian, with the advice of the Director of the Music Library.

Related collections:

  • The Lilly Library for rare books houses several significant music collections, including the Starr Sheet Music Collection (totaling some 130,000 items); first editions of scores by 20th-century French composers; the Fritz Busch Collection of orchestral scores annotated by the conductor; the manuscripts of composer Bernhard Heiden; a large collection of first and early editions of works by Handel; and early music treatises. The Lilly Library adds to these collections selectively, as market opportunities and the library’s acquisition budget allow. Criteria for addition to the collection include quality, condition, and potential for research and exhibition use.
  • The Archives of Traditional Music includes additional jazz recordings, as well as recordings of ethnic music.
  • The Folklore Collection contains literature on folk and non-Western music.

    The Music Collection Development Librarian and the Folklore Librarian have agreed upon the following principles to minimize duplication of materials in the Music and Folklore collections (any duplication will ideally be limited to reference works and some essential core materials):

    • The Music Library collects folk music core materials only. The languages covered are primarily English, with the exception of Latin American music materials. Folklore collects comprehensively in all languages, with an emphasis on research-level materials.
      • Subjects collected by Folklore only (print):
        • African music
        • Ballad and folk song
        • Blues music
        • Musical instruments: everything except western orchestral instruments
      • Subjects collected by Music only (print & nonprint):
        • Jazz
        • Latin American popular music
        • Musical instruments: western orchestral instruments only
        • Audio and video recordings and scores
      • Subjects with shared responsibility (In the following areas, the music and folklore librarians will share information so as to coordinate purchases):
        • Rock music
        • Sociology of music
        • Cultural studies relating to music
        • Country-western music
        • Gospel
        • Rap
        • East Asian and Middle Eastern musics

    Fine Arts, Education, and the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center Libraries have some music-related titles. Titles purchased with funds for Comparative Literature, Film Studies, Theater, and Slavics or other area studies that are classified as M, ML, or MT are shelved in the Music Library.

Principal sources of supply and major selection tools (including current and retrospective selection tools and specialized vendors):

  • Monograph vendors: approval plans for university press publications and US & UK trade and scholarly monographs from YBP; additional monographs from Otto Harrassowitz, Casalini Libri, Touzot, East View, and Amazon.com for rush orders.
  • Printed music vendors: approval plans from Theodore Front Musical Literature and Otto Harrassowitz; additional firm orders and standing orders from Otto Harrassowitz, Theodore Front Musical Literature, and Casalini Libri.
  • Recordings vendors: Theodore Front Musical Literature, Compact Disc Source, Arkiv Music, plus Amazon.com and other online retailers for rush orders.
  • Current selection tools: new-publication announcements from Theodore Front, Otto Harrassowitz, Casalini, and Touzot; publishers’ catalogs; reviews and ads in music journals.
  • Retrospective selection: catalogs from music antiquarian and used-book dealers; OP-materials database developed from published bibliographies and catalogs, failed orders, and patron requests.
  • Retrospective purchasing: specialty music vendors, and online OP aggregators including Alibris and ABEbooks.


  • Criteria for selection for preservation and/or mass deacidification: Staff review of returned circulation includes bibliographic searching both locally and in information available from principal sources of supply; selection depends on knowledge of critical use locally, uniqueness of edition among music libraries as well as availability of the same or similar edition in the trade.
  • High-priority areas of the collection for preservation review and treatment: Monumental sets and composer collected editions (M2–M3) being deacidified in phased program of testing and treatment.

Selection criteria for ALF: Does not apply.

Digital projects:

  • Criteria for selection for digitization:
    • Audio: (1) reserves, (2) listeners requests from special collections (LP recordings), (3) IU faculty recordings, (4) repertoire selected from A Basic Music Library: Essential Scores and Sound Recordings, compiled by the Music Library Association, 3rd ed. (Chicago: ALA, 1997).
    • Print: (1) reserves, (2) requests from the Variations2 project, (3) compiled lists of heavily used core repertory.
  • Priorities for collections to be digitized: IU concert & recital tapes.

Other resources and libraries (libraries or institutions used as resources to complement collections): See section IV.

Consortial agreements (subject-specific agreements you have made with other libraries, including exchanges, cooperative collection development agreements, etc.): The music libraries of the CIC cooperate to the extent possible in consortial licensing of electronic resources.

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