Guest post – Jared discusses online music

Today’s guest post is from my professional partner, Jared Wiercinski, Digital Services / Outreach Librarian and Music & Contemporary Dance Librarian at Concordia University. Thanks, Jared!

Graham and I met through the Professional Partnering Program which is organized by the Canadian Library Association McGill Student Chapter. It’s been a great experience so far. I got to gulp down a really tasty radioactive sugar drink at the kick-off event, and Graham has been continually handing over secret documents from McGill (obtained through his work with the library administration there). So far, so good.

Graham was kind enough to invite me to write a guest blog post on anything I wanted to write about. At first I struggled with the idea, not knowing what to write about. Writer’s block, I believe it’s called. But then it dawned on me – why not write about online music?

Concordia has a really interesting Music Department that includes jazz, classical, popular and (my personal fav) electroacoustic music. Probably the most interesting  project for me so far has been looking at different ways to make sound recordings available online. For the most part things are pretty old school here. As far as course reserves go professors typically bring in compact discs to the library and then students come in and borrow them (or not). Truth be told it’s pretty hard to motivate yourself to come to the library to listen to CDs with so many other alternatives: iTunes, peer-to-peer file sharing sites, MySpace, YouTube, last.fm, et cetera. Especially during this holy season known as winter.

So I’ve been experimenting with different ways to make music available through our website. The set-up I’m currently using involves a Flash Player embedded in a web page that plays the mp3 files off of our server. The web page is hidden behind our WAM software, which means that only students who are registered in the course can listen to the music. This pilot project is in the early stages but seems to be going well. So far I’ve set up online audio files for two courses: “The Music of the Beatles” and “Rock and Roll and Its Roots”, both taught by Craig Morrison.  Needless to say it’s been a labour of love.

So yeah. That’s all I’ve got to say. Drop me a line at jared.wiercinski@concordia.ca if you’re interested in or working on this type of thing as well. I’d love to hear from you. Cheers!

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