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The Variations system has been created as a result of a series of grant-funded projects at Indiana University. Funding agencies have include the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS). As part of the IMLS grant for the Variations3 project, Indiana University has released the Variations system as open-source and helped other institutions implement the system.

The current Variations system has been in use at Indiana University since 2005original Variations project at IU went live in 1996. The technical infrastructure was completely reworked and a new system deployed in 1995, as a result of the Variations2 project. The IU implementation contains approximately 17,000 recordings and several hundred scores. It serves as the primary music reserves system for the Cook Music Library and the Jacobs School of Music. Every semester, students and faculty rely on Variations for thousands of reserve recordings and scores.

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