Much of the available literature relating to Music Information Retrieval discusses the challenges and issues associated with indexing, preserving and retrieving musical recordings. None of this research is based on the experience of academic music libraries in Ireland. This dissertation aims to explore the opportunities and challenges associated with Music Information Retrieval, specifically in academic music libraries in Ireland. The opportunities and challenges will be examined from the perspectives of both music librarians and users of academic music libraries.
Music Information Retrieval is split into two separate areas. “Symbolic representation” allows for musical recordings to be searched for using metadata, such as Artist, Composer or Title. The other area is “Content based” Music Information Retrieval, where the melodies in the music itself can be searched. Many papers have been written proposing tools for content based Music Information Retrieval, and some have indicated that these tools can be used in an academic music library environment. However, none of the research presents evidence of user perspectives on these tools. Additionally, there are no examples in the literature of an academic library using these types of tools. This dissertation will also examine user and librarian perspective on these types of tools, and, in conjunction with the discussion on issues in Music Information Retrieval in academic music libraries, explore the reasons why these tools are not as yet being used in academic music libraries.