Digitisation of Traditional Format Library Materials

Digitisation Project Brief - Australian topical songs and music, 1900-1930

General description of the proposed project

Some printed sheet music items have been identified as having significant and uniquely Australian subject matter, eg. Skippy and Aeroplane Jelly. It includes music about people, animals, characters, products, projects, events, etc.

These music items are collocated in the Library’s catalogue by the institution specific subject heading Topical songs and music, Australian

Collection material of relevance to the project

Australian topical songs and music (1900-1930) are located in the music collection at: MUS N mba; and consist of approximately 33 music items (estimate of 198 pages).

To be digitised from the original collection material.

Levels of use and user groups – current and anticipated

Sheet music items with unique Australian subject matter are related to Australia’s cultural history and are used by readers, musicologists and researchers. It is anticipated that the digitisation and on-line availability of these 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 of these music items 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, including the Library’s institution specific subject heading Topical songs and music, Australian.


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 Library’s Australian sheet music collection published between 1900 and 1930 is stored in mylar pockets or plastic zip-lock bags. 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 requiring minor repairs.

Intellectual property or other rights

As the selected items consist of music published between 1900 and 1930 there should be no problems or issues re intellectual property or other rights.

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 can be absorbed within the 2002-2003 financial year digitisation work plan to meet the established targets.


It is hoped the digitisation of the Library’s 19th and early 20th 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.


An estimate for completion of this work is December June 2003.

Other considerations

Other 19th and early 20th Century Australian printed sheet music has already been digitised and is available online through the Library’s digital music collection and the MusicAustralia pilot.

Contact officer: Robyn Holmes, Curator of Music


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