In Memoriam Mary Wallace Davidson

Mary Wallace Davidson

Mary Wallace Davidson

Mary Wallace Davidson, the former Head of the William and Gayle Cook Music Library, died on October 11, 2012 following a battle with lung cancer. Despite only working at IU for five years, she accomplished a great deal. My relationship with her began when I was just entering the profession. It was Mary who hired me into my first professional librarian position. She remained a mentor to me as she was for so many professionals throughout the world today.

During her last semester at IU, which overlapped with my first semester succeeding her as the Director of the Cook Music Library, I had the opportunity to work with her again as she was working in the IU’s Lilly Library. There she created a database of their music manuscripts in preparation for inclusion into RISM, an international cooperative catalog of early music primary sources. She often referred to that time as “dessert” as she got to work with manuscripts and rare musical materials in one of the foremost rare book and special collections libraries in the world.

What follows is a biographical statement written by Dr. David Lasocki upon her retirement from IU in 2005. –Phil Ponella

Mary Wallace Davidson came to IU in 2000, after retiring from the Sibley Music Library at the Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester. Having run a major American music library for fifteen years, she spent the last five years of a distinguished career running another major music library—ours, the William & Gayle Cook Music Library.

Mary was born in Louisville, Kentucky and attended the Louisville Collegiate School. Her mother did doctoral work in English at IU–Bloomington and taught writing and literature at IU–South East for 28 years. A Pendleton Scholarship took Mary to Wellesley College, where she graduated with a B.A. in music history, theory, and composition. She enjoyed the college so much that she stayed on there for a year as a research assistant for the Wellesley Index to Victorian Periodicals. She then moved on to the music department of the Boston Public Library while attending library school at Simmons College. Her first professional position was in charge of art and music at the Brookline Public Library. Two years later she moved on to Radcliffe College as Music Librarian. In 1967, Wellesley beckoned again, and Mary went back there as Music Librarian for 17 years. Eastman followed, at a challenging period in the library’s history. Her achievements there were staggering. She restructured the staff; weathered two critical budget cuts; planned and implemented a new building; created a music preservation program; developed new collections and provided online aids to their access; implemented two different online cataloging systems; and took a leading role in a cooperative initiative on a national scale, funded by Federal grants, to convert card-catalog records into machine-readable form.

Mary has long been active in the Music Library Association, serving as president from 1983 to 1985, overlapping with her transition from Wellesley to Eastman. She was awarded the association’s Citation in Recognition of Distinguished Service to Music Librarianship in 1998. She served as a board member for the Sonneck Society, now called the Society for American Music. She has also served as a consultant for libraries on music library buildings, collections, and services; for music publishers on their archives; and for the National Endowment for the Humanities on grants.

Mary has published extensively on music librarianship and bibliography. She wrote the articles on American music libraries in both The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (1980), the world’s major music encyclopedia, as well as The New Grove Dictionary of American Music (1986). She was co-author of Eighteenth-Century American Secular Music Manuscripts: An Inventory in 1980, and of the award-winning Boston Composers Project: Bibliography of Contemporary Music (1983). She has published articles on nineteenth-century American music periodicals; the composer David Diamond; music library collections, catalogs, administration, and space planning; music copyright; and music librarianship in the 90s and 00s. She has given papers at the International Association of Music Libraries, Archives, and Documentation Centres; the International Musicological Society; and of course the Music Library Association.

In her rapid five years at Indiana University, Mary was Head of the Cook Music Library, coordinated the Music Librarianship Specialization in the School of Library and Information Science, and taught music bibliography and music librarianship with great enthusiasm. She was also one of the principal investigators in both metadata and copyright in IU’s Variations2 research project funded by the National Science Foundation, for which she came up to speed quickly on digital-music-library issues. Following on from a few years of acting heads in the Music Library, Mary brought a calm stability to the staff, an ideal of service to all the library’s users, and a sense of fair play. For her last semester at IU, Mary moved over to the Lilly Library, where she has been creating a database of their music manuscripts in preparation for cataloging and for contributing to RISM, the international cooperative catalogue of early music. She is still working on this project as a volunteer.

Deep down, Mary will always be a “Wellesley girl”: smart, literate, inquisitive, with the broadest of overviews. Now she has also become an honorary Hoosier. She is truly a “people person”—warm, caring, and friendly, always bubbling over with stories about her many friends and colleagues around the globe. She takes a genuine interest in the welfare of everyone she meets. Typically, her main research of the moment is an oral history project for the Music Publishers Association, in which she gets to interview publishers of the older generation about their experience. But her “real” retirement project is to practice the piano again, to make music for herself, after a lifetime of helping others to play and to study. We will all miss her.

David Lasocki, Spring 2005 (used with permission)

Survey Results

The Cook Music Library would like to thank the members of the Jacobs School of Music community who took the time to respond to the library’s survey last spring. Over 200 students, faculty and staff completed it. Most of the respondents were graduate students (41.8%), while 37.7% were undergraduates, 15.6% were faculty, and 4.9% were staff. One third of the respondents have been using the music library for 5 years or more. The input you provided is very useful in helping us to refine our current research and instruction services, and to develop and prioritize a number of future technology and space-planning projects.

We were gratified that most of the people who participated in the survey (91.9%) either agreed (47.1%) or strongly agreed (44.8%) that Cook Music Library services adequately meet their needs. Respondents nevertheless identified three areas where there is room for improvement: the inadequate number of reliable printers in the library; the availability and quality of computer equipment; and the need for more quiet and group study spaces. The printers and computer equipment are provided and maintained by University Information Technology Services (UITS) and Library Information Technology (LIT). Both groups are currently exploring new options for printers and maintenance contracts. The music library will share what we have learned from the survey and our own experience in order to inform those deliberations and future planning, with the goal of remedying the problems and making improvements as quickly and effectively as possible.

Addressing the lack of space in the music library for group study will require altering existing library space, which may have to wait for a refurbishment of the library that is in the early stages of planning. However, the entire second floor of the music library is currently designated as quiet study space, and the survey made us aware that there is a lack of signage to make people aware of that fact. Accordingly, we recently posted signs in an attempt to step up our efforts at maintaining the second floor as a place for quiet study and research. We ask for your cooperation in doing so.

A handful of people commented on the library’s Frontlog. These materials can be found in the online catalog, but are still in need of being fully cataloged and bound. While they are available for use, and can be borrowed in most cases, they must be retrieved from the library’s basement and are not available for browsing. The Frontlog is already an express library priority, with several steps being taken to reduce the size of the Frontlog and to get heavily used items to the open stacks as quickly as possible.

There were a wide range of specific suggestions that raised issues about, for example, enhancing the collection for types of ensembles; past problems with bills and fines; and the library’s hours. All of the individual comments submitted by survey participants have been shared with the different departments in the library and will be discussed collectively to determine what can be implemented now, given current staffing and resources, and to shape planning and priorities for the future. As always, we encourage members of the Jacobs School community to communicate specific issues and needs as they arise.

To aid us in prioritizing the Music Library’s future digitization efforts and investment in digital resources, the survey was also designed to learn how musicians and music scholars currently use electronic resources for finding music and doing research, and how they anticipate doing so in the future. 82.2% of the survey participants reported using computer-based research tools (online catalogs, databases, or indexes) for 5 years or more. Most of the respondents (55.1%) reported using both print and electronic resources equally for research, with 24.1% using electronic resources more, and 20.7% favoring print resources. Among those who report using electronic resources for research in the field of music, 16.7% rarely use them, 22% sometimes use them, 20.1% frequently use them, and 37.8% use them very frequently.

The survey solicited predictions about the future of digital scores, which still remains uncertain according to 28.2% of respondents. A majority (45.4%) disagreed with the statement that “Digital scores are the wave of the future and will eventually replace print scores,” while 26.3% agreed with that statement. 96.2% of those who responded nevertheless use online music scores, such as those available on IMSLP. Increased adoption and use may depend on the wider availability of scores – given the significant preference of survey participants for multiple editions (69.8%) and critical editions (64.1%) – as well as better technology for using digital scores in performance. As things stand now, 88.1% of those who responded thought that even if digital scores were more widely and readily available, they would still print the score and perform from a paper copy, while a majority of respondents (41.3%) believe that digital scores will never replace print scores.

Other survey questions asked people to consider the changing role of librarians in instruction, and building and preserving collections, especially in light of changing technology and social media. We will be exploring these questions with a representative group of faculty this fall. The Cook Music Library welcomes input from all members of the Jacobs School community on these and other issues.

Immediately below you will find a link to the results of the survey.

Thanks again to those who participated in our spring 2012 survey.

SurveySummarySHORT_FORM (pdf)

–Naz Pantaloni

Recent Staffing Changes

By now you’ve probably already learned that there have been a few changes in staffing at the Cook Music Library. To catch up since last spring…

Last spring Matthew Vest accepted the position of Music Librarian at Davidson College. He is succeeded as Bills and Fines Coordinator by Taylor Greene. Taylor has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Guitar Performance/Composition from California State University, San Bernardino, and a Master’s degree in Musicology from the University of California, Riverside. Currently he is pursuing a Master of Library Science degree with a specialization in Music Librarianship from IU’s School of Library and Information Science.

Taylor Greene


After working in the Cook Music Library as a student employee since 2009, Hannah Spence joined the staff as a full time music cataloger in May, 2012. Hannah catalogs print materials (books and scores), trains and supervises three student employees, and also assists at the Reference Desk. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Clarinet Performance and Music History from Oberlin Conservatory, and in December will complete her Masters Degree in Library Science from IU’s School of Library and Information Science, and a Master of Arts in Musicology from the Jacobs School of Music.

Hannah Spence


A familiar face, Jir Shin Boey replaced Reserves Coordinator Bill Hudson who left to assume a faculty position at Illinois Wesleyan University in July. Jir Shin completed her Ph.D. in Musicology at the Jacobs School of Music in 2010 and is now in the process of working toward a Masters degree from IU’s School of Library and Information Science. In addition to processing requests for reserve materials, she provides support at the Circulation and Reserve Desks.

Jir Shin Boey

–Phil Ponella

New Acquisitions

The following is a selective list of new acquisitions.

New Facsimiles:

  • Chansonnier de Jean de Montchenu: Chansonnier cordiforme:  (Vault) Frontlog 7740590

Las cantigas de Santa María: Códice rico, Ms T-I-1, Real biblioteca del Monasterio de San Lorenzo de El Escorial


  • Music for King Henry: British Library Royal MS 11 E X,I : (Vault) Frontlog 8816467

Music for King Henry


  • The Eton Choirbook: (Vault) Frontlog 8759805

Eton Choirbook


  • Las cantigas de Santa María: Códice rico, Ms T-I-1, Real biblioteca del Monasterio de San Lorenzo de El Escorial: (Vault) PQ9189 .A44 C25


Chansonnier de Jean de Montchenu: Chansonnier cordiforme


New standing orders for historical sets and composers’ collected works begun recently:

  • Napoli e l’europa (Music by Neapolitan composers of the 18th and 19th centuries) [most in Frontlog at this point]
  • Tesori musicali emiliani (Music by composers from the Emilia-romagna region of Italy) [in Frontlog]
  • Geminiani: Opera Omnia [M3 .G32]
  • Faure: Oeuvres Complètes [M3 .F265]
  • Schnittke: Collected Works [these are scattered throughout the stacks; it’s not a scholarly edition, so we’re not classifying it in M3]
  • Scriabin: Collected Works
  • Tubin: Complete Works [M3 .T8855]
  • Cherubini: Kritische Werkausgabe [in Frontlog, only 1 vol. has been published so far]
  • Bach, W. F.: Gesammelte Werke [M3 .B12]
  • Rosenmüller: Sämtlicher Werke [M3 .R784]

–Keith Cochran

(photos by Celeste Schulman)

Welcome to our Blog!

Phil PonellaFor many years, the Cook Music Library distributed a newsletter to the faculty, staff, and students of the Jacobs School of Music. In recent years that communication took the form of an occasional email from me, compiling contributions from the Music Library staff. We hope that with the current technological tools available to us, this blog will enable us to keep you up to date on the latest news coming from the Music. As always, we welcome your feedback. Feel free to comment here, or email me directly at pponella [at] indiana [dot] edu.

–Phil Ponella