Message from the Chair
Spring 2020 Election Ballot
Spring 2020 Meeting Information
NEMLA Officers
Publication Information

Message from the Chair

It was a great pleasure to see so many NEMLA colleagues at MLA in Norfolk this year! At least 35 members and guests attended our annual NEMLA chapter dinner at the Brick Anchor, and when technical glitches in the kitchen delayed food service, our chapter proved that music librarians can remain congenial even while hungry. I was also quite pleased to see NEMLA members well represented on the national program. Keep an eye out for the call for proposals for MLA 2021 in Cincinnati!

Please mark your calendars for NEMLA’s Spring Meeting on April 17, 2020 here at the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Both myself and Bridget Carr, Director of Archives and Digital Collections, have been managing site arrangements. Vice Chair/Program Chair Lisa Wollenberg and the Program Committee have put together an exciting program, so be sure to check out the details below. The meeting will also include our annual business meeting with reports from members of the board. And finally, we will also be announcing election results. As chair of the nominating committee, Marci Cohen has recruited an excellent slate for Vice Chair/Chair-Elect and Member at Large. Please see the candidate biographies in this issue and vote when you receive your ballot. 

To be sure that you receive a ballot for this year’s election, please take a moment today to check on your membership status. Please contact Brendan Higgins, Secretary-Treasurer, at bhiggins AT berklee DOT edu to ensure that your membership is up-to-date. You may also check on your membership status by logging into your MLA account. Under “My Profile”, click “Membership Info”.

Respectfully submitted,

Sarah Funke Donovan Chair, New England Music Library Association
Associate Archivist for Digital Assets, Boston Symphony Orchestra

Spring 2020 Election Ballot

2020 Election Ballot

On Tuesday, March 17, 2020, at 10:00 a.m., all NEMLA members in good standing will receive an email message inviting them to vote in this year’s election for two positions on NEMLA’s board. Special thanks to all three candidates running for office, and to the Nominating Committee for their diligent work in assembling this slate of candidates.

Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect Candidate

Sandi-Jo Malmon currently serves as the Interim Richard F. French Librarian and Librarian for Collection Development at the Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library at Harvard University. She has been a NEMLA member since the early 2000s having served a short time as a committee member on the Education and Outreach Committee. She would be delighted to serve as the next Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect.

Sandi-Jo served MLA for nearly a decade as member and chair of the Preservation Committee, and presented papers, organized trainings, speaking panels, tours and events as part of that responsibility. She currently serves on the Editorial Board of the MLA Basic Manual Series (2016-) and has been the MLA Organizational Liaison to the Society of American Music (SAM) since 2012. She has served IAML as a book review editor for Fontes Artis Musicae since 2014. Sandi-Jo received an Artist Diploma in Chamber Music from the Longy School of Music, a Master of Music in cello performance from the New England Conservatory of Music and a Bachelor of Music in cello performance from Oberlin College.

Most recently Sandi-Jo co-presented with Liz Berndt-Morris at the 2019 IAML Conference in Krakow and at the 2020 MLA meeting in Norfolk, VA. about her work Surveying composers: Methods of distribution, discoverability, and accessibility of their works and the corresponding impact on library collections.

Member-at-Large Candidates

Allison Estell is the Associate Director of Access & Organization at Wentworth Institute of Technology; prior roles include Head Librarian for Access & Organization (Wentworth) Learning Commons Librarian (Simmons College), and Library Assistant for Research Services (Simmons). She earned an M.S. in Library and Information Science from Simmons College, an M.Phil. in Musicology from Yale University, a J.D. from Duke University School of Law, and an A.B. from Middlebury College, where she majored in music. In 2017, she participated in the Leadership Institute for Academic Librarians at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Allison’s musicological research interests include nineteenth-century chamber music, programmatic music, and issues of identity. She has partnered in two international studies on the copyright literacy of librarians and LIS students and has published work on self-directed learning theory in the contexts of professional development and information literacy education. She is a pianist and violist, and has been a member of the Boston Civic Symphony for twelve years. Allison participates in the music library community via her avid readership of the MLA listserv and her memberships in NEMLA (since 2010) and the Boston-Area Music Librarians group (since late 2018). She would welcome the chance to serve NEMLA as the Member-At-Large.

Leo Martin is the Catalog Librarian at the New England Conservatory of Music. Leo has been a member of NEMLA since 2017, and currently serves as their videographer. Leo holds a M.L.S. specializing in Music Librarianship and B.A. in Music Education, both from the University of North Texas. Outside of librarianship, Leo is a freelance bassoonist based out of Boston, dabbles in making zines, and curating music playlists.

Spring 2020 Meeting Information

ADDENDUM, March 12, 2020:  Due to the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), NEMLA will transition our spring 2020 meeting to an online Zoom meeting. Details will be announced on the NEMLA listserv and the Upcoming Meetings webpage.

The meeting will take place Friday, April 17, 2020.


Registration is open for the NEMLA Spring 2020 meeting. Since the meeting will be entirely online, registration is free for all attendees. If you previously paid to register for the in-person meeting, NEMLA will provide a full refund.

Please fill out this form to register:

Thursday Night Dinner

We will still arrange for a pre-meeting dinner for those in the Boston area who wish to attend! The dinner will take place Thursday, April 16 at Banyan Bar + Refuge (553 Tremont St.) at 7:00pm. The menu includes vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free options. Please RSVP to Lisa Wollenberg (Lwollenbe at by Monday, April 13 if you plan to attend.

Meeting Program

This is a preliminary program—please check the Upcoming Meetings page for updates as we finalize the schedule

8:30am – 9:30am: Registration, networking, coffee, and pastries

9:30am – 9:40am: Welcome and Opening Remarks

  • Sarah Funke Donovan (NEMLA Chair), Associate Archivist for Digital Assets, Boston Symphony Orchestra
  • Tony Fogg, William I. Bernell Artistic Administrator and Director of Tanglewood, Boston Symphony Orchestra

9:40am – 10:20am: Boston Rock City: A Multi-Library Linked Data Initiative

  • Christina Linklater, Harvard University
  • Peter Laurence, Harvard University
  • Christine Fernsebner Eslao, Harvard University

On Saturday, April 18th, Harvard Library staff will facilitate a public Wikidata edit-a-thon for the Arthur Freedman Collection, an audiovisual archive capturing over four decades of Boston rock music performances. The collection is now fully catalogued and will soon be available to stream online. Harvard Library has already enhanced access and description for this collection by welcoming band members to provide information for finding aids. We now seek to draw on the memories of local music fans to develop a Wikidata presence for the collection.

Three Harvard Library staff members have approached the Arthur Freedman Collection from distinct perspectives, collaborating on a project that will benefit librarianship and Boston rock history. Peter Laurence received the collection, oversaw the creation of metadata, and has reached out to band members for permission to stream their recordings. Christina Linklater is co-curating an exhibition with Peter Laurence, scheduled for 2024 and tentatively titled Boston Rock City. Christine Fernsebner Eslao will speak to her interest in the Freedman collection as material for LD4P (Linked Data for Production), a Mellon-funded project extending far beyond Harvard’s walls, which seeks to enhance library metadata and discovery platforms with linked data, develop new workflows for entity disambiguation, and to expose library collections on the open web. 

10:20am – 11:05am: Lightning Presentations

Microgenres: A Cataloger’s Dilemma

  • Leonard Martin, New England Conservatory of Music

This presentation will give a brief overview of microgenres as a cultural phenomenon, and challenges that catalogers and their institutions encounter with acquiring, cataloging, and circulating microgenre sound recordings. Three case-studies will be presented: Chopped and Screwed (Music), Vaporwave, and Ambient music (Electronica). Each case study will provide historical background on respective microgenre; their cultural significance; and issues/lessons-learned from acquiring, cataloging, and circulating each resource.

Expand Your Music Library’s Space (and Extend Your Collections) with Events

  • Aaron Bittel, Wesleyan University
  • Jennifer Thom Hadley, Wesleyan University

Hosting public events in library spaces is a common outreach strategy. It’s also one way in which music libraries can break out of what we may feel are narrowly defined roles. In this lightning talk, we will discuss two recent public event series organized by Wesleyan’s music library, focusing on how these events were designed to strengthen relationships with our user base, promote music collections and services beyond that base, highlight faculty accomplishments, and change the way that everyone from undergraduate students to library administration thinks about library spaces. We will also suggest some practical considerations for putting on successful events with a relatively small team and modest budget.

Updates on Cataloging & Metadata

  • Members of the NEMLA Technical Services Committee

Every year at the Music Library Association’s annual meeting, the Cataloging and Metadata Committee holds a Town Hall to present the latest developments in how we describe music materials. Since not all NEMLA members can attend the national meeting, the Technical Services committee will present highlights from the CMC Town Hall meeting, as well as any other Technical Services-related sessions that we attend at the annual meeting. Highlights might touch on “Best practices for using LC Medium of Performance Terms,” updates to RDA, “An introduction to LC Faceted Vocabularies for Music Resources,” and so on. The focus will be less on all of the details, and more on what changes to look for and where to go for information.

11:05am – 12:05pm: NEMLA Business Meeting

12:05pm – 1:35pm: Lunch on your own

1:35pm – 2:35pm: I Have an MLS, Not an MBA! A Panel Discussion on Management for Music Librarians

  • Organized by the NEMLA Program Committee. Panelists to be announced.

Professional librarian job duties often include supervisory responsibilities over professional and paraprofessional staff, student workers, or interns. At the same time, skills for employee management are addressed minimally, if at all, in library school curricula, leaving many librarians feeling ill-prepared to effectively handle the many issues they must tackle. In this session, panelists from diverse managerial backgrounds will share their experience, provide tips and resources for others to improve their skills, and answer all your burning questions! An anonymous submission form for questions will be provided.

2:35pm – 3:15pm: Rainbow Bridge from the Charles: Theodore Thomas’s 1884 Wagner Tour

  • Andrea Cawelti, Harvard University

In the late nineteenth century, conductor Theodore Thomas was one of the most influential advocates of Richard Wagner’s music in America. He gave the American premieres of many of Wagner’s works, including selections from Tristan und Isolde, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, and the Ring Cycle. By continually exposing concert audiences to these challenging new works on tours from New York to San Francisco, Thomas was directly responsible for the rapid spread of Wagner’s popularity across the United States.

One of his most significant Wagner tours started right here in Boston. In April of 1884, returning again in May, he brought his orchestra to Mechanics’ Hall, augmented it with the BSO, and performed excerpts from Wagner’s works exclusively. Materials from the Harvard Theatre Collection, The Rosenthal Archives of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and the Boston Symphony Archives will provide some hint of this grueling three-month Wagner tour.

3:15pm – 4:00pm: Tours of the BSO and Archives

  • Bridget Carr, Director of Archives and Digital Collections, Boston Symphony Orchestra

Bridget Carr, Director of Archives and Digital Collections, will provide attendees with a tour of Symphony Hall and the BSO archival collections, including Henry Higginson’s sword, the BSO’s Grammy awards, a Symphony Hall toilet paper holder, audio-visual materials, program books (documenting BSO activities as well as Boston Music Hall and Symphony Hall events), scrapbooks of newspaper clippings, architectural plans, a BSO-inspired art collection, an autograph and postcard collection, a photograph collection that contains more than 100,000 images, several manuscript collections that document the life and careers of BSO members, and the BSO’s first official portrait (from 1882).

4:00pm – 4:30pm: Concert

  • Joel Moerschel, Cellist (retired), Boston Symphony Orchestra

4:30pm – 5:30pm: Closing Reception

Post-Conference Event: Boston Rock City Wikidata Edit-A-Thon

On Saturday, April 18th, Harvard Library and the Boston Public Library are partnering for a guided exploration of Wikidata. NEMLA attendees and friends are warmly welcomed to join us! From 11am to 3pm, we will generate new Wikidata entities using forms supplied by project staff. We’ll learn about ways these can be leveraged to synthesize and visualize data, and meet community members and local library and archives staff who share an interest in data curation. 

The subject of this project is the Arthur Freedman Collection, an audiovisual archive capturing over four decades of Boston rock music performances. Beginning in the late 1970s, Arthur Freedman (born in Newton, Massachusetts in 1957) attended and recorded countless shows, maintaining an enormous archive in his home. In 2012, Arthur Freedman donated his collection to Harvard Library. It is now fully catalogued and will soon be available to stream online.

Harvard Library has enhanced access and description for this collection by welcoming band members to provide setlists, personnel listings and posters that can be used to develop the catalogue records. We now seek to draw on the community knowledge to develop a Wikidata presence for the collection that can be used to synthesize its data into a resource of equal interest to scholars and fans. With this initiative, we are testing ways in which Wikidata and other open, structured data repositories can be used to cultivate and capture community knowledge.

No previous Wikidata experience, music-reading ability, or Boston rock knowledge are required. Join us at 10am to enjoy complimentary coffee and pastries as we listen to tracks from the Freedman Collection, then edit from 11am to 3pm, dropping in and out or staying for the whole session if you choose. 

Ready to sign up? Go to our Eventbrite page to reserve your spot! If you have questions, please contact Harvard Library staff member Christina Linklater (linklat at And if you can’t make it, you’ll get to hear Christina and her colleagues Christine Fernsebner Eslao and Peter Laurence give a talk about this work at the NEMLA meeting the day before. 

NEMLA Officers

Sarah Funke Donovan
Associate Archivist for Digital Assets
Boston Symphony Orchestra
301 Massachusetts Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
sdonovan at
(617) 638-9452
Lisa Wollenberg
Public Services Librarian
Allen Library
University of Hartford
200 Bloomfield Ave
West Hartford, CT 06117
lwollenbe at
Office: (860) 768-4840
Past Chair:
Marci Cohen
Assistant Head
Music Library
Boston University
771 Commonwealth Ave.
Boston, MA 02215
mcohen2 at
(617) 353-3707
Brendan Higgins
Faculty Liaison and Outreach Librarian
Berklee College of Music
1140 Boylston St.
Boston, MA 02215
bhiggins at
Higgins headshot
Patricia (Tish) Brennan
Associate Professor/Head of Reference
James P. Adams Library
Rhode Island College
600 Mt Pleasant Ave
Providence, RI 02908
pbrennan at 456-2810
Newsletter Editor:
Memory Apata
Music & Performing Arts Librarian
Paddock Music Library
Dartmouth College
Hopkins Center, HB 6245 Hanover, NH 03755
memory.r.apata at
(603) 646-3234
NEMLA Archivist:
Emily Levine
Reference Librarian
Public Library of Brookline
361 Washington St
Brookline, MA 02445
elevine at
(617) 730-2370
Website Editor:
Liz Berndt-Morris
Music Reference and Research
Services Librarian
Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library
Harvard University
3 Oxford Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
eaberndtmorris at
(617) 998-5310

Publication Information:

New England Quarter Notes is published quarterly in September, December, March/April and June/July.
Back issues may be accessed from:

Address all correspondence concerning editorial matters to:
Memory Apata

Inquiries concerning subscription, membership and change of address should be directed to:
Brendan Higgins

Membership year runs July 1st to June 30th.
Regular Personal Membership:$12.00
Student and Retired Membership:$6.00
Institutional Membership$16.00

Return to the New England Music Library Association home page.