Digitisation of Traditional Format Library Materials

Digitisation Project Brief - JAF collection of printed Australian music

General description of the proposed project

The JAF collection of printed Australian music is a small but significant collection of printed music items relating to Australia that was collected by Sir John Alexander Ferguson. The music items are by Australian composers, lyricists, arrangers, etc., or have an Australian association through the content of the work.

Collection material of relevance to the project

The collection is divided into sections according to publication dates with the items in the collection published pre 1930 to be digitised. The music items in this category are located at: MUS N JAF mb; MUS N JAF mba: MUS N JAF m and consist of approximately 240 music items (estimate of 2434 pages)

To be digitised from the original collection material.

Levels of use and user groups – current and anticipated

The collection is used by readers, musicologists and researchers, particularly for the early 19th Century Australian music items, such as Nathan’s The Aboriginal Father. It is anticipated that the digitisation and online availability of these valuable music items will create a greater awareness in the community of the importance of music in the development and history of Australian society and culture.

Bibliographic coverage of the collection

Each item in the JAF collection of printed Australian music has been fully catalogued with a bibliographic record on the National Bibliographic Database and in the National Library’s catalogue. The items can be found by searching the catalogue under various access points: title, names (composers, lyricists, etc) and subjects.

Preservation, care and handling guidelines

DISCLAIMER: The National Library of Australia disclaims liability for the use of the information provided in this page. The guidelines have been produced to aid Library staff in the digitisation of collection material. The National Library of Australia accepts no responsibility for the loss occasioned as a direct or indirect result of the use of the information in these guidelines.

Each item in the JAF collection of printed Australian music is stored in a mylar pocket. The items are then housed in boxes stored horizontally on the shelves, so the sheet music is laying flat. Most items in the collection are in reasonable condition, with some torn pages requiring mending.

It is anticipated that digitisation of this collection will reduce the handling of the original music items.

Intellectual property or other rights

As the collection consists of music items published before 1930 there should be no problems or issues re intellectual property or other rights. The Library owns all the items in the collection.

IT requirements

Most of these items can be scanned using existing flat bed scanners. Some items may need to be digitised using an overhead camera. The digital images will be available as part of the Library’s digital collections.

Resource requirements

This collection was done within the 2001-2002 financial year digitisation work plan to meet the established targets.


It is hoped the digitisation of the Library’s 19th Century Australian sheet music collections will generate increased interest in Australian music and will support and lead to other significant projects and developments in the delivery of Australian music to the community, both nationally and internationally.

This digitised material will help support the development of the MusicAustralia service.


This work was completed by November 2001.

Other considerations

Other pre 1930 Australian sheet music items have been identified for digitisation.

Contact officer: Robyn Holmes, Curator of Music


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