National Library and Archives of Canada

Contact: Florence Hayes

Notes/Comments: [none]
1. Does your instution maintain holdings of concert programs? Yes. In the Music Division we have a collection of about 85,000 programs of musical performances in Canada (by performers of all nationalities) and performances outside of Canada which feature Canadian performers. A separate music archive in the Division contains programs as part of the fonds of several hundred Canadian musicians and music organizations; these are not counted or organized at this time.
2. Apart from concert programs, does your institution have significant holdings of other types of documents that can be useful for performance research such as libretti, playbills, historical journals with concert reviews, etc.? Some libretti. Playbills (about 850) are concert announcements. Historical journals in general collection. Some music periodicals which contain reviews or previews of performances. Some concert reviews in Music Division's archival fonds of performing artists, ensembles, organizations (these are separate from the Music Division's Concert Program Collection and include musicians such as Glenn Gould).
3. Please list major concert venues, ensembles or performing organizations, and artists that are represented in your holdings. If possible, indicate a general timeframe for each (e.g. New York Philharmonic: 1920-1950). If your holdings are so extensive it is impractical to submit a list in a timely fashion, please provide a general overview (e.g. Programs of various musical events in Stockholm: 19th and 20th centuries). The Music Division concert program collection spans the entire country and includes programs from 1850 to the present. However, the largest concentrations of programs are for the major cities: Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, etc. The period 1945 to 1985 is probably best represented from donations of program collections from three major music critics, active in each of these cities during this time. We have nearly complete holdings of several major ensembles including the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, National Arts Centre Orchestra, Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, and significant holdings of other major orchestras, choral societies, university and conservatory concerts.
4. Do you have collection level or title/series level descriptions of your holdings? If yes, are these descriptions available online or in print? See below no. 5.
5. Have you undertaken or are you planning any item level indexing or cataloging of individual programs? If yes, please list the categories of information that are indexed for each program (e.g. date, venue, artists, works, etc.). If the details of your plan are not yet specified, please made a simple explanation of what you hope to accomplish. If your index is available online please provide the URL. If it exists in some other electronic format such as an Excel or FileMaker file please try to send it as an attachment.

Yes, as student help is available. We have nearly 2000 programs on an Inmagic database, which is available in-house. Once we have what is considered a sizeable database, the National Library's Digital Library Task Force may accept this project for the Library and Archives of Canada website (with enhancements such as articles, photos, scanned program covers, audio bytes).

Categories of information indexed: Concert presenter (concert society, impresario, etc.), Series title (if concert is part of a series, e.g. Wednesday Morning Musicales), Concert title, Date, Call number (based upon date, geographic location), Venue, Locale, Performer, Performer heading (authority for name), Content (works/composers as they appear on the program. At this point we are not using authorities, but in cases of odd spelling of composers' names and/or works, we will enter the LC authority form in square brackets), Content summary (used alone or in combination with Content field to describe repertoire when it is too long to list [over 15 works], or when the listing is vague or includes frequently performed shorter works, e.g. includes several short piano pieces by Mozart). Subject (uses LC/Canadian Subject headings plus some terms from an in-house thesaurus to describe concerts of a topical nature [Christmas, patriotic], or less frequent genre [jazz, minstrel], or unusual instrumental combinations [bassoon octet, piano, 4 hands], etc. We may or may not decide to assign a subject designation to more common performances: piano recitals, orchestral, etc.) Description (physical description of the item: measurement, format, no. of pages, etc.), Reproduction note (description of items copied from an original), Notes (several fields which will capture information including presence of program, bio, et al notes; author of notes; texts and language; music notation; illustrations; autographs/annotations; commission; premiere; instrument used; presence of advertizements; designer/printer of program, etc.) Administrative fields: initials of indexer, proofread?, indexing complete?, provenance, condition of item.

6. Please briefly describe the clientele or research use of your holdings. Are the programs accessible to the public? Are they used for historical research or more for practical in-house institutional functions? As a national library, many of our users are referred to us from other libraries and institutions. Much of the research is scholarly. The collection is also used by concert organizers and performers and casual researchers looking for repertoire ideas, whether or not a work has been performed in Canada, existence of texts, program notes, artists' bios, orchestra personnel, etc. There has also been interest in the design and printing aspect of programs, and we frequently search for items suitable for exhibits (in house and external), sometimes focusing on the historical or topical aspect as well as design and visual elements. The majority of our collection is accessible only by geographical location and date (the shelf order used). We feel it is essential that the remainder of the collection be indexed in order to provide reasonable access to the wealth of information contained in this material.
7. Are you able and willing to assist in developing a broader census of program holdings within your national branch? Yes. We have considered asking other Canadian libraries to contribute to our database, but it appears that there are no resources in most institutions for indexing. I am preparing a project proposal to present to the Canadian Association of Music Libraries that would enable us to index a substantial number of programs in our National Library collection as well as inventory other collections of music programs across the country. I intend to undertake the "inventory" regardless of funding. At the same time the National Library and Archives of Canada is investigating the feasibility of making performance materials (music, theatre and dance) subject to legal deposit.
8. Are you able and willing to assist in developing a template or questionnaire for submitting collection level descriptions? Yes.
9. Are you able and willing to participate in preparing the draft thesauri for genre and instrumentation? Yes.
10. Can you refer other potential participants for the IAML project? Please provide names and email addresses if possible. [none]

Compiled by Rebecca Arnott (, John Spilker (, and Annie Erickson (