Are We There Yet? Toward a Workable Controlled Vocabulary for Music

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This article discusses moving toward a workable controlled vocabulary for music.

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8 p.

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McKnight, Mark, 1951- July 2012.


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This article discusses moving toward a workable controlled vocabulary for music.

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8 p.


Abstract: Subject access to musical works has always been problematic. The issues of whether this form of access is defined by what the item is "about" versus what the item "is", have been discussed broadly in the field of music cataloguing. The new standard for describing music materials, Resource Description and Access (RDA) has provided an opportunity to discuss whether a form/genre approach would be better suited for access. A brief overview of the history of these discussions and a description of the current work of the Music Library Association, in collaboration with the Music Genre/Form Project Group at the Library of Congress provides the basis for the implementation of a unified, comprehensive list of genre-headings. This would result in a thesaurus of genre and form terms, both practical to apply and easy to use. Whether a truly comprehensive music thesaurus is ever constructed--one that deals with "about-ness" as well as "is-ness"--this present genre/form project will result in a controlled vocabulary that will greatly benefit our users and go far in improving access to music.


  • Fontes Artis Musicae, 59(3), International Association of Music Libraries. Ländergruppe der Deutschen Demokratischen Republik, July 2012, pp. 1-8


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  • Publication Title: Fontes Artis Musicae
  • Volume: 59
  • Issue: 3
  • Page Start: 286
  • Page End: 292
  • Peer Reviewed: Yes


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  • July 2012

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  • Oct. 2, 2015, 9:40 a.m.

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  • Nov. 30, 2023, 2 p.m.

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McKnight, Mark, 1951-. Are We There Yet? Toward a Workable Controlled Vocabulary for Music, article, July 2012; [Paris, France]. ( accessed December 7, 2023), University of North Texas Libraries, UNT Digital Library,; .

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