Kirk-Evan Billet, Diversity, Distinctiveness, Demographics, and Discovery in Score Collections

Kirk-Evan Billet is the Resource Description Librarian at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University. From 2008 to 2010, he was a Fulbright lecturing scholar to Lebanon, serving as a visiting professor at the Institut Supérieur de Musique of the Université Antonine, just outside Beirut. He holds a D.M.A. in composition from the Manhattan School of Music along with the M.M. from the University of Miami and the B.M. from Peabody. After twelve years of full-time classroom teaching, Dr. Billet attended Drexel University to earn his library degree. He currently teaches an occasional graduate seminar at Peabody.

Active in the music cataloging profession at the national level, Dr. Billet has been a member of the Vocabularies Subcommittee of the Music Library Association’s Cataloging and Metadata Committee, in which he led the task group that maintains thesauri for medium of performance and genre/form terms. He has also represented MLA in multi-institution grant work on linked data, was a co-chair of the MLA’s Linked Data Working Group, and served as a member of its Bibframe Task Force.

Dr. Billet’s publications include multiple translating and editorial contributions to (un)Common Sounds: Songs of Peace and Reconciliation among Muslims and Christians, edited by Roberta R. King and Sooi Ling Tan (Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2014), and a 2014 book review in Music Reference Services Quarterly (17, no. 3). He is also the translator of Marcel Akiki’s Lebanese Traditional Popular Wedding Songs in Mount Lebanon: An Ethnomusicological Study (Hadath-Baabda, Lebanon: Éditions de l’Université Antonine, 2010) and of six CD booklets in the series Taqālīd: Musical Traditions from the Arab World (Beirut, Lebanon: Incognito, 2009). His composition activities have continued with several recent performances of his work Qirillayan by Baltimore Guitar Duo.

Event Timeslots (1)

Friday Program
Music library score collections become more diverse when collection managers work strategically to increase holdings by composers from under-represented groups such as women, ethnic or racial minorities, and gender or sexual minorities. At the same time, an individual music library becomes more distinctive vis-à-vis its peers by building its collection in ways that result in less overlap with the collections of those peer libraries. In the current environment of heightened attention to resource sharing and collaborative collection development, the distinctiveness quotient may well carry greater importance than it has in the past; in any case, the diversity quotient is of widespread interest today. Advancing these dual collection virtues of diversity and distinctiveness benefits library patrons, who are increasingly interested in finding and selecting repertoire created by members of specific demographic groups. But collections must also find their users, and traditional discovery methods in library catalogs have generally not supported access through demographic terms—or any reliable means of access to music by composers from under-represented groups. The Library of Congress Demographic Group Terms (LCDGT), which emerged in 2015 and is still evolving, is a controlled vocabulary developed not only for creator/contributor characteristics but also for audience characteristics. This presentation will briefly introduce the organization of LCDGT, demonstrate the application of LCDGT terms for composers to bibliographic records for their scores, consider limitations and obstacles to providing access to music through creator characteristics, explore possibilities for indexing and display of demographic terms, and address ethical considerations involved when assigning an individual to a specific demographic group.

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