[Smt-talk] Music theory on Wikipedia

kos at panix.com kos at panix.com
Thu Jul 14 08:56:26 PDT 2011

Those of you who read my posts on AMS-L (the email discussion list of the 
American Musicological Society) might recall that I and a few others are 
enthusiastic about harnessing the power of Wikipedia for our disciplines.

As a librarian, I tend not to think of Wikipedia as a resource except for 
hard-to-find people or topics which are not covered in standard reference 
sources.  (Confession:  I do contribute articles on topics which I don't find 
sufficiently covered elsewhere.)

But I am in the minority.  As recent discussions at the American Library 
Association have revealed, after Google, Wikipedia is one of the 5 most 
used resources on the web throughout the world.

Some of us may find it difficult to understand that people born into a world 
where the Internet is a given will not think of consulting Grove/Oxford, MGG or 
other reference works first, second, or third.  They will first go to Google 
and Wikipedia.  Many people know that good Wikipedia articles supply a good 
list of sources -- and it is these notes & bibliographies that launch people on 
their research - not the bibliographies in Grove/Oxford.

Where does that leave us, the music theory community?  We can either choose to 
ignore it - which I tend to feel will increasingly marginalize us.  Or we can 
choose to engage it, which I feel can benefit those involved in music theory in 
numerous ways.

Someone had started a "WikiProject Music theory" basing the project template on 
other such projects:


(See also the discussion page)

When it was found that the founder was plagierizing articles, he was 
banned.  So despite stil having a few members, the project is dormant, waiting 
for energetic individuals to climb aboard and create/improve articles on music 

It seems to me to be a great opportunity for subscribers of SMT-TALK to 
contribute content to Wikipedia.  In so doing, music theory has an opportunity 
to raise its standing among humanities.

Bob Kosovsky, Ph.D. -- Curator, Rare Books and Manuscripts,
Music Division, The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
blog:  http://www.nypl.org/blog/author/44   Twitter: @kos2
   Listowner: OPERA-L ; SMT-TALK ; SMT-ANNOUNCE ; SoundForge-users
--- My opinions do not necessarily represent those of my institutions ---

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