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IMLS Variations3 interim report October 2005-April 2006-final.doc







Variations3: An Integrated Digital Library and Learning System
for the Music Community


IMLS National Leadership Grant Interim Performance Report







Award Number: LG-05-05-0209-05


Institution Name: Indiana University


Report Type: Interim Performance Report


Period Covered by Report: October 1, 2005 – April 30, 2006


Project Director: Jon W. Dunn

Associate Director for Technology

Indiana University Digital Library Program

(812) 855-0953

Variations3: An Integrated Digital Library and Learning System for the Music Community

Indiana University Digital Library Program

IMLS National Leadership Grant

Interim Performance Report for Period October 1, 2005 – April 30, 2006


1. Project Purpose


The purpose of the Variations3 project is to create a digital music library and learning system that can be easily deployed at a wide range of college and university libraries with minimal technical support and minimal cost to the institutions. By offering a complete environment in which students and faculty can discover, listen to, view, annotate, and interact with music, this system will integrate access to online recordings and scores into teaching, learning, and research activities. The project builds on Indiana University’s successful history in digital music library development (Variations2) and responds to the keen desire of music libraries large and small to operate similar systems.


2. Project Activities


Activity 1

Disseminate information on project via conference presentations and other means - ongoing


Several dissemination activities have been conducted. Indiana University announced the grant with a detailed press announcement ( ). Most notable was our presence at the annual Music Library Association meeting, February 20-26, in Nashville, Tennessee. Variations3 project team members gave a presentation describing the decade of Variations digital music library work at Indiana, gave a demo of Variations2, and introduced the Variations3 project. In addition, project team members discussed metadata and preservation issues in other conference sessions.


Activity 2

Participate in IMLS conferences and workshops - ongoing


All four members of the Variations3 leadership participated in the IMLS Outcome-Based Evaluation training class in Washington, DC, March 15-17, 2006.


Activity 3 (October-December 2005)

Hire project staff – completed April 2006


The two full-time programming positions funded by this grant were advertised in early October, 2005. A dearth of qualified applicants led to a lengthened but ultimately successful recruitment process, culminating in the hire of two highly qualified full-time programmers, one of whom started in April. The second programmer accepted our offer right at the end of April. Also, a graduate student was recruited and accepted a half-time programming position at the end of April. A second graduate assistant, focusing on metadata, began work in January 2006. The hiring delay has mainly been dealt with by reducing the programming work that will go into the first year’s release of the software.


Activity 4

Overall project management – ongoing.


Activity 5 (October-November 2005)

Obtain outside feedback on Variations2 data model


Feedback on the Variations2 metadata model intended to inform Variations3 activities was solicited mainly through the Variations3 Advisory Board meeting in April 2006. Discussion of the data model at this meeting centered around its existing and desired relationship to the FRBR model <>. The project team and Advisory Board reached a consensus that conformance to FRBR is desirable if it is possible to do so without overly complicating an already complicated metadata creation interface. We also presented the Variations2 data model to an outside project team focusing on audio recordings in special collections, to gather feedback on its appropriateness for these collections beyond the experimentation we have already done with these types of materials.


Activity 6 (October-December 2005)

Develop revised data model/metadata spec for version 1


Difficulty in hiring Variations3 developers made it clear no changes to the metadata model would be implemented in version 1 of the system released to partners. Feedback from the advisory board and lessons from the previous Variations2 project will be used to develop a formal revision to the metadata model at such time as it can be implemented, probably for version 2.


Activity 7

IU staff create metadata records - ongoing


The Variations3 metadata graduate assistant is responsible for the creation of metadata records for the Variations3 project, together with a number of other project metadata duties. The following table summarized Variations3 metadata records created October 1, 2005-April 30, 2006.



Work records created

Contributor records created

Instantiation records created

October 2005




January 2006




February 2006




March 2006




April 2006





Activity 8 (October-November 2005)

Finalize and establish agreements with four test sites - ongoing


Three test sites were identified initially: Ohio State University, the New England Conservatory of Music, and the Tri-College Consortium (Swarthmore, Bryn Mawr, and Haverford). Signed agreements were not completed during this timeframe because of legal complications. These agreements are expected to be completed early in Fall 2006. Also, the fourth test site (University of Maryland) will be added in Summer 2006. Presuming these agreements are all worked out in early Fall, there will be no impact to our original schedule as a result.


Activity 9 (November-December 2005)

Investigate technical options for open source database and web-based UI


Delayed due to hiring delays (see Activity 3, above). Investigations into an open source database will be made during Summer 2006 as part of the first year of development. Investigations into web-based UIs are expected to be covered in the second year of development, based on input collected from the test sites as to its importance.


Activity 10 (November-December 2005)

Visit and conduct interviews at test sites


We visited each of the initial three sites in December and January, gave a demo of Variations2, met with their IT and library staff, and discussed implementation issues. From these issues we developed a list of requirements for version 1 of the system.


Activity 11 (December 2005 – March 2006)

Engage in discussions with subscription services


We engaged in discussions with Naxos during the Music Library Association conference. Discussions with the Database of Recorded American Music (DRAM) starting in Summer, 2006.


Activity 12 (December 2005 – January 2006)

Conduct requirements analysis for version 1 of system


A requirements analysis plan was put into place and used during the December/January test site visits. After these visits were completed, the outputs from these visits were combined into a document, “Preliminary Reflections on Requirements – Feb. ’06”.


Activity 13 (January-April 2006)

Define model for cooperative metadata creation


In preparation for the April 2006 meeting of the Variations3 Advisory Board, the metadata team developed and documented three possible cooperative metadata creation models that might be implemented as part of Variations3. The options featured various levels of centralization of data amongst participating libraries. The project team and the Advisory Board came to consensus that the most centralized of the options, requiring the least amount of duplication of data across implementers, and gaining the most benefit to other implementers from one's efforts. Slight changes to the data model will be necessary to implement the agreed-upon cooperative cataloging model. True cooperative cataloging will not be implemented in version 1 of the system due to time constraints, but will be in place for version 2.


Activity 14 (February-June 2006)

Conduct design and implementation of version 1 system


Delayed due to hiring delays (see Activity 3, above). Design and implementation will be scaled back somewhat but we still plan to meet our schedule of getting a working first version of Variations to the test site for Fall 2006.


Activity 15 (March-September 2006)

Develop and conduct preliminary market research for sustainability


The initial action in support of this activity consisted of discussions during the advisory board meeting in late April, resulting in a brainstorm of ideas for sustainability models based on the experiences of such related projects as ArtStor and D-Space.


Activity 16 (April-July 2006)

Develop implementation plans for each test site


Delayed due to hiring delays (see Activity 3, above). We will develop a document to provide implementation planning guidance and send it to them before they receive the software in Fall 2006.


In submitting this report, I certify that all of the information is true and correct to the best of my knowledge.


Name and title of the person submitting the report and date of submission:


Mark Notess September 22, 2006