The special research and performance collections of the Music and Performing Arts Library and the Sousa Archives and Center for American Music (i.e., personal papers, records, music manuscripts, and artifacts) have enduring value as documentation of 19 th– and 20 th-century music performance, composition, technology, business, education, and research practices in Europe and American.
The University of Illinois Library’s music special collections management policy is intended to provide a mechanism for the effective communication and shared management of the University’s music papers, records, and artifacts (i.e., special collections) that are preserved by the Music and Performing Arts Library and the University Archives’ Sousa Archives and Center for American Music. This collaborative collections management model will be achieved through:
- A shared stewardship of music special collections of enduring value held by the University of Illinois
- Shared intellectual and physical (i.e., staffing, preservation, and storage) resources
- Unified acquisitions, preservation, and access strategies
- A shared mission to provide the broadest possible access to the University’s music special collections
This policy was developed to avoid duplication of efforts and improve the level of consistency of joint preservation work of the Music and Performing Arts Library’s Special Collections Unit and the Sousa Archives and Center for American Music while still recognizing the uniqueness of each unit’s users, collections, services and collecting missions.
Defining Special Music Collections
The Music and Performing Arts Library’s Special Collections Program collects archival materials primarily in the areas of early American popular music (i.e., theatre, vaudeville, and opera), research and study collections compiled by School of Music faculty, and mid-twentieth century string pedagogy. The Sousa Archives and Center for American Music collects in the areas of American wind band music, electronic music and the early development of ethno-musicology at the University of Illinois as well as preserving the personal papers, records, and selected artifacts of the faculty of the School of Music.
Defining Music and Fine Arts Archival Practice
The Music Special Collections Advisory Group (MSC), which comprises the Associate University Librarian for Collections, University Archivist, Archivist for Music and Fine Arts, Music and Performing Arts Library Director, and Music and Performing Arts Library Coordinator of Special/Gift Collections, was established in November 2007 with three purposes: (i) to elaborate and define the missions of these two operational units, (ii) to help coordinate the work of the Music and Performing Arts Library and the University Archives’ Sousa Archives and Center for American Music, and (iii) to help mentor the Music and Performing Arts Library’s Coordinator of Special/Gift Collections. This new collegial partnership between the University Archives and the Music and Performing Arts Library will ensure a consistency of practice for the long-term care of the University’s unique collections of music archives, papers, manuscripts and artifacts that have significant enduring value. This Music Special Collections Management Policy will facilitate the exchange of knowledge, expertise, and resources among the faculty and staff of the Music and Performing Arts Library and the University Archives.
Papers, records, and artifacts of enduring value that fall within the collecting missions of the Music and Performing Arts Library’s Special Collections Program and the University Archives’ Sousa Archives and Center for American Music as well as relevant papers and collections of University of Illinois alumni will be evaluated by the MSC Advisory Group for possible acquisition and accession into one of these repositories, and will become the responsibility of that individual unit. All official/office records, with sufficient enduring value, of the University of Illinois’ School of Music will be transferred to University Archives in accordance with the Illinois State Records Act and University General Rules. All accessions will be entered into the University’s Archon system using a standard University Archives Record Series number, but distinguished by the designated university library unit that is primarily responsible for the preservation of that accession.  Sound recordings, serials, and monographs not compiled as a body of material through a specific individual and/or organization generally fall outside the scope of what is acquired and preserved as archival materials by the University’s Music Special Collections.
Papers, records and artifacts of enduring value will be preserved, conserved, arranged, and described to a level appropriate to accepted archives, library, or museum practice to meet the needs of University faculty and students as well as researchers from outside this scholarly community. This may include the use of archives storage containers; the utilization of preservation reformatting, de-acidification and other relevant conservation techniques; the creation of collection-level bibliographic records and finding aids; and the storage of these historical documents and artifacts in shared, secure, and environmentally-stable environments in the Music and Performing Arts Library, Sousa Archives and Center for American Music, and the University Archives.
Public access to the Music and Performing Arts Library’s and Sousa Archives and Center for American Music’s special music collections (e.g., manuscripts and rare books) will usually be made available to researchers and the general public using the Sousa Archives or University Archives reading room locations. This will ensure secure access to the Music and Performing Arts Library’s special/gift collections of historical documents until such time as a Library Special Collections building is available, or when the Music and Performing Arts Library’s Special Collections Program has an appropriate supervised archives reading room. All inquires about specific music collections will be directed to the unit responsible for that material.
 All collections acquired will be provided collection level access, assigned a University Archives Records Series number, and then evaluated for appropriateness of item level access. Further discussion will be needed to determine how this will be handled.