background image
DigiCULT
.
Info
20
scheme, and `walked through' via a 3D vir-
tual representation. Digital documents can
be searched by type, availability and other
musically pertinent criteria. However,
while all the metadata is available from
anywhere on the Internet, each item of
data is access controlled, depending on the
particular rights associated with it.
F
rom within the library, special inter-
faces have been designed to provide
convenient and secure
20
access.The Web
browser, based on Internet Explorer, has
been adapted to remove all unnecessary
and unsafe controls,
21
while the multime-
dia player, providing a familiar metaphor of
a (physical) CD even for archives which
never existed in this form (see Figure 1),
shows the structure of the musical works
(title, movements), information about the
performers, as well as the booklet (for
CDs) or the programme notes (for
IRCAM concert archives).
22
text. In 2002, the
Hypermedia Studio was put
in place, with the goal of
exploring novel means of,
and tools for, `active' listen-
ing to digitally recorded
music, for musicological
research, teaching and indi-
vidual appropriation. In
conjunction, the External
Relations department has
been actively seeking part-
ners, via European projects and other
means, to share, develop and valorise
know-how, infrastructure and content.
THE MULTIMEDIA LIBRARY SYSTEM
T
he basic building blocks of the sys-
tem, uninterruptedly operational,
scalable, and evolutionary since 1996, con-
sist mostly of off-the-shelf hardware
17
and
software
18
components. As the modular
design allows for replacement without
interruption of service, the system has reg-
ularly been subject to upgrades reflecting
the evolution of standards, software and
hardware, converging towards an increas-
ingly generic integrated solution for
archival access and valorisation of cultural
content.
F
rom the very first version of the sys-
tem, user access has been provided by
means of Web technology,
19
which allows
in-house and external access (search, navi-
gation and retrieval), in French and
English, to a variety of multimedia con-
tent. All databases can be queried through
forms, and each item (data, metadata) has
its own URL. Domain-specific search
strategies are provided. For example, the
documentary database allows for searches
by genre and subgenre, period, instrumen-
tation, and so on.The library catalogue can
be browsed according to the classification
THE EMERGENCE OF THE MULTIMEDIA
LIBRARY AT IRCAM AND ITS DIGITAL
COLLECTIONS
F
rom its inception, IRCAM has been
engaged in scientific research into, and
technological development for, all the
phases of music creation and production,
from the elaboration and exploration of
ideas by the composer, through its actuali-
sation in a paper and/or electronic score,
its live performance on stage by instru-
mentalists and computers, and its off-stage
life-cycle.The R&D department is work-
ing in close collaboration on research and
artistic projects with composers trained in
its Pedagogical department, with instru-
mentalists and with other artists.The pub-
lic performance of their resulting
compositions is then handled by the
Production department.
T
his abundance of projects and activi-
ties generates a wealth of intellectual
production, in the guise of music scores
and recordings of performances on the one
hand, and scientific publications and con-
ferences on the other. In 1995, the
Multimedia Library was established to
organise and integrate into the existing
research library as many as possible of the
archives of this production, thereby ensur-
ing both preservation and access in con-
17 Servers and local clients: PC. Underlying network and protocol: Ethernet (100 Mb/s and 1Gb/s),TCP/IP. Good
quality audio boards (Digigram) and headphones (Senheiser).
18 Web server: Apache, with PHP-MySQL extensions; Loris (library software system); 4D (composers database).
19 Accessible at http://mediatheque.ircam.fr/, subject to restrictions due to copyrights.
20 Securing the content was a precondition to be allowed by the rights holders and their representatives to provide
this access.
21 The only available controls are `back', `forward', `refresh' and `stop'. It also takes over all of the screen and does not
allow for escaping to other programs or to the system.This allows for securing both the platform and the content in
this public space.
22 This player also works as a VCR when viewing movies.
Figure 1. IRCAM Audio Player
Figure 2. Score annotation tool.The scanned
score is annotated with the help of a graphical
palette (on the left) specifically designed for
musical usage.The annotations can be placed
and moved along the time axis (lower part of
the figure).
IRCAM 2003
IRCAM 2003