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Contextual Information

Collection finding aid, if any

Tracking spreadsheet:

Finding aid:

Catalog record(s), if any 20% of pieces have copy in LC or the Sheet Music Consortium, as much as 50% may have copy elsewhere
Collection site, if any
Other pertinent reference information

Project Files

Digital image files N:/Staging/sheetmusic
Metadata form definition, if any N/A
MARC transformation, if any

Controlled vocabulary for project Library of Congress Name Authority File (NAF), Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH), the Library of Congress Genre/Form Terms for Library and Archival Materials (LCGFT), Library of Congress Medium of Performance Thesaurus for Music (LCMPT), Art & Architecture Thesaurus (AAT)
Standards used for project Resource Description and Access
Level of quality control High

MODS Metadata Guidelines

Field mods:titleInfo

In order of preference, the title proper may be taken from the cover, caption, or a reference source. If the title on the caption differs from the title on the cover, include the cover title as an alternative title and make a note. When taking the title from a reference source, use “yes” for the attribute supplied and describe the source in a note. If no title is available on the piece or from a reference source, one must be constructed. When constructing a title, consider using the first line of lyrics or the first line of chorus. Use your judgment when determining the end of a line. (Notes for first lines are still required.)

If a song has been published under multiple titles or is part of a larger work, construct a uniform title. Uniform title is not required, unless we are digitizing two manifestations of the same work.

Include any title that differs from the title proper with “alternative” for the attribute type, except for other part of title.

  <mods:title>How I long for the USA</mods:title>
  <mods:subTitle>march song</mods:subTitle>



Field mods:name

Names should be taken from the Library of Congress Name Authority File and given the authority attribute “naf.” URI’s from must always be included as attributes for names that have a corresponding record in the NAF. If a name is not found in the NAF and there are no conflicts, add the fullest form of the name available or the name by which the person is most commonly known with the authority value “local” and no URI attributes.

In general, use the name as it appears on the resource. If the name on the resource takes the form of “Anonymous” or there is no name, use the identity known to be related to the resource, if discernable from reference sources, then transcribe the name in a note for the statement of responsibility.

The following contributors must be traced when available: composer, arranger of music, lyricist, and publisher. Also include the performer and dedicatee, if their names are on the piece. Do not trace the performer or dedicatee if those names have been added to the resource after publication (e.g. handwritten dedications). Performers may include conductor, instrumentalist, and singer.

The cover art is often as important as the score itself. Engraver, lithographer, or artist should also be traced when their names can be identified on the piece.

Always include a textual role to identity how the name has contributed to the resource, using MARC relator terms for values.

<mods:name type="personal" authority=”naf” authorityURI=”” valueURI=””>
  <mods:namePart>Klickmann, F. Henri (Frank Henri)</mods:namePart>
  <mods:namePart type=”date”>1885-1966</mods:namePart>
    <mods:roleTerm type="text" authority=”marcrelator”>composer</mods:roleTerm>

<mods:name type="personal" authority=”local”>
  <mods:namePart>Sliger, Chas. (Charles)</mods:namePart>
    <mods:roleTerm type="text" authority=”marcrelator”>composer</mods:roleTerm>



Field mods:genre

Every piece should be assigned one of the following terms from the Art & Architecture Thesaurus.

scores: Original and entire drafts or transcripts of musical compositions or arrangements, with the parts of all the different instruments or voices written on staffs one above another, so that they can be read at a glance.

sheet music: Music printed on unbound sheets of paper.

songs (documents): Documents containing musical compositions, generally short, containing words.

songbooks: Books containing brief musical compositions written or adapted for singing.

At least one genre term from the Library of Congress Genre/Form Terms for Library and Archival Materials (LCGFT) is always required. These should be used to indicate a genre of music that implies certain rhythmic, tempo, or instrumentation patterns, such as Minstrel music or Ragtime music. If a piece participates in multiple genres, it is strongly recommended that all relevant genres be included in the description. When using an LCGFT genre term, the authority value should be “lcgft.”

Add URI’s corresponding to the genre found in, which may be found here.

A list of all available music terms is available here.

For guidance in assigning these terms, refer to Best Practices for Using LCGFT for Music Resources.

Below is a list of LCGFT terms commonly used in this collection, but any appropriate terms from the vocabulary may be used.


Bawdy songs

Camp songs

Campaign songs

Christmas music

Dance music

Dirges (Music)

Epic songs


Fight songs

Folk songs

Funeral music

Gospel music

Humorous songs


Marches (Music)

Medleys (Music)

Military music

Minstrel music

Mission music

Narrative songs

Nonsense songs

Novelty songs

Pastoral music

Popular music

Quicksteps (Marches)

Ragtime music

Satirical songs

Sea shanties

Work songs

Library of Congress Subject Headings should not be assigned as genres, unless to indicate the genre of some textual component of the piece (e.g. Love stories). LCSH terms should be used sparingly in mods:genre.

<mods:genre authority="aat" authorityURI="" valueURI=””>sheet music</mods:genre>

<mods:genre authority="lcgft" authorityURI="" valueURI=””>Minstrel music</mods:genre>



Field mods:originInfo

Always add the full imprint for the publisher, including the street address. If the street address varies from resource to resource, record the address using abbreviations like st., ave., blvd., etc. (“LaVern Music Pub. Co., 5631 Drexel Ave.”). It may not be possible to create uniform addresses across series.

mods:dateIssued is always required. The publication date can be inferred from the cover or caption date. Always include the most complete date possible in the form YYYY-MM-DD. If there is no cover or caption date, infer the publication date from the copyright date, with the qualifier “inferred.” Do not infer the copyright date from the publication date. If the date cannot be derived from the resource itself, dates from a reference source are acceptable. When using a reference source, include a quoted note indicating the source of the date. Where exact dates are unknown, supply a range of possible dates, such as the decade or century in which the piece was created or published. Indicate supplied dates with the type attribute “supplied.”

<mods:originInfo eventType="publication">
        <mods:placeTerm type="code" authority="marccountry">nyu</mods:placeTerm>
         <mods:placeTerm type="text">Buffalo, N.Y</mods:placeTerm>
    <mods:publisher>Sliger Heusinger Music Pub. Co., 22 Reed St. </mods:publisher>
    <mods:dateIssued keyDate="yes" encoding="w3cdtf" qualifier=”inferred”>1910</mods:dateIssued>
    <mods:copyrightDate encoding="w3cdtf">1910</mods:copyrightDate>



Field mods:physicalDescription

mods:extent includes the format of noted music, with the number of pages or leaves. Omit the size of the resource. RDA 3.4.3 applies when constructing the extent statement, including the following values for formats containing notated music:


condensed score

study score

piano conductor part

violin conductor part

vocal score

piano score

chorus score


choir book

table book

mods:internetMediaType, mods:digitalOrigin, and RDA forms should never vary.

  <mods:form authority="rdacontent" type="content">notated music</mods:form>
  <mods:form authority="rdamedia" type="media">computer</mods:form>
  <mods:form authority="rdacarrier" type="carrier">online resource</mods:form>
 <mods:digitalOrigin>reformatted digital</mods:digitalOrigin>
 <mods:extent>1 score (5 pages)</mods:extent>



Field mods:note

Many users are more familiar with the first line of lyrics or the first line of the chorus than the title proper. Include these in a note with the type attribute “first line of lyrics” or “first line of chorus.”

Include a description of the cover illustration, with the type attribute “cover illustration,” including a statement of responsibility for the artist.

Always include the statement of responsibility for the piece in a note with the type value “statement of responsibility.”

Include a note indicating the source used for the title proper, e.g. “Cover title” or “Caption title”

If using the cover or caption date, transcribe the date as it appears on the resource and identify the source in a quoted note.

At least one term from the Library of Congress Medium of Performance Thesaurus for Music (LCMPT) is always required. These should be used to indicate the voice, instruments, and other entities needed to perform a piece of music. Each instrument should be recorded in a separate mods:note with type=”medium of performance.” If several accompanying instruments are listed as alternatives for accompaniment under a vocal line, include each instrument. Available terms may be found here.

For guidance on assigning these terms, refer to Best Practices for Using LCMPT.

All other notes are optional.

<mods:note type=”first line of lyrics”> I heard a voice in the still of night.</mods:note>
<mods:note type=”first line of chorus”> Here I am! Uncle Sammy, take me.</mods:note>
<mods:note type=”cover illustration”> Drawing of Uncle Sam holding American flag and American eagle / E.S. Fisher.</mods:note>
<mods:note type=”statement of responsibility”> words by Dean T. Wilton ; music by James McHugh</mods:note>
<mods:note type=”medium of performance”>piano</mods:note>
<mods:note type=”medium of performance”>voice</mods:note>
<mods:note>Title from cover.</mods:note>



Field mods:subject

Use Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) to describe topics, places, events, and people that occur in the song’s lyrics or title.

FAST subject headings should be assigned to describe what the cover art is about (concept) and what it is of (descriptive). There is no limit on the number of headings that may be assigned. FAST may be searched here:

If a complex heading can be found in the authority file, use “lcsh” for the subject authority. If no complex heading exists, include “lcsh” for the subject, with “lcsh,” “naf”, or local for each component of the complex heading. Include a URI for each subject at the appropriate level.

<mods:subject authority=”lcsh” authorityURI=”” valueURI=””>
    <mods:topic authorityURI=”” valueURI=””>>World War, 1914-1918</mods:topic>
    <mods:genre>Songs and music</mods:topic>



Field mods:relatedItem

If the piece is part of a larger series, then the record must include mods:relatedItem with the type “series”, with a complete series statement proper and series statement preferred. Use LCNAF for the uniform title, with the type “uniform,” the authority “naf” or “local,” and a URI if the series is taken from the LCNAF. partNumber must be used to indicate the issue number, including both the volume and the number. ALWAYS include a space after “no.” or “v.”

Also use this element to describe constituent parts or hosts that exist in a vertical relationship to the resource being described. Also include the title and an identifier for constituent parts or hosts.

Always include the host collection, with title and location.

<mods:relatedItem type=”host”>
        <mods:title>Lee Schreiner Sheet Music Collection</mods:title>
    <mods:location>    <mods:url></mods:url>

<mods:relatedItem type="series">
    <mods:title>Beautiful modern and classic pianoforte pieces</mods:title>



Field mods:identifier

Record the plate number, using the type “plate number.” A plate number is a designation assigned to an item by a music publisher, usually printed at the bottom of each page, and sometimes also appearing on the title page. It may include initials, abbreviations, or words identifying a publisher and is sometimes followed by a number corresponding to the number of pages or plates. Transcribe the number exactly as it appears on the item.

Include the publisher number, with the type “publisher number.” Publisher numbers are assigned to an item by a music publisher, appearing normally only on the title page, the cover, and/or the first page of music. They may include initials, abbreviations, or words identifying the publisher. Transcribe the number exactly as it appears on the item.

Use the OCLC number, with prefix and the authority “oclc.”

<mods:identifier type="oclc">ocm13128616</mods:identifier>



Field mods:location

Add “JNA” as a physical location with the authority “oclcorg” and a separate physical location for the collection. We will only be digitizing dime novels from:

  • Music Special Collection. Rare Books and Special Collections, Northern Illinois University.

Also include a shelf locator, with the local LCC call number, and a url to the object.

  <mods:physicalLocation authority="oclcorg">JNA</mods:physicalLocation>
  <mods:physicalLocation>Music Special Collection. Rare Books and Special Collections, Northern Illinois University.</mods:physicalLocation>
  <mods:shelfLocator>PS3166.W43 D32 1899a v. 4 no. 40</mods:shelfLocator>
  <mods:url access="object in context" usage="primary display"></mods:url>



Field mods:accessCondition
Value “Use of this public-domain resource is unrestricted.”
<mods:accessCondition type="useAndReproduction">Use of this public-domain resource is unrestricted.</mods:accessCondition>



Field mods:recordInfo
Value The Voyager BIB number is always required with the source “NIUDb.”
  <mods:recordContentSource authority="oclcorg">JNA</mods:recordContentSource>
  <mods:recordCreationDate encoding="marc">070320</mods:recordCreationDate>
  <mods:recordChangeDate encoding="iso8601">20070321180744.0</mods:recordChangeDate>
  <mods:recordIdentifier source="NIUDb">1663774</mods:recordIdentifier>
  <mods:recordOrigin>Converted from MARCXML to MODS version 3.5 using MARC21slim2MODS3-4.xsl (Revision 1.79 2012/07/11), modified for MODS version 3.5 and the Lee Schreiner Sheet Music Collection.</mods:recordOrigin>