A national electronic database of special music collections in South Africa
Thesis (MMus (Music))--University of Stellenbosch, 2009.
In the absence of a state-sponsored South African archive that focuses on collecting, ordering, cataloguing and preserving special music collections for research, the Documentation Centre for Music (DOMUS) was established in 2005 as a research project at the University of Stellenbosch. Music research in South Africa is often impeded by inaccessibility of materials, staff shortages at archives and libraries, financial constraints and time-consuming ordering and cataloguing processes. Additionally there is, locally, restricted knowledge of the existence, location and status of relevant primary sources. Accessibility clearly depends on knowing of the existence of materials, as well as the extent to which collections have been ordered and catalogued. An overview of repositories such as the Nasionale Afrikaanse Letterkundige Museum and Navorsingsentrum (NALN), the now defunct National Documentation Centre for Music and the International Library of African Music (ILAM) paints a troubling picture of archival neglect and disintegration. Apart from ILAM, which has a very specific collecting and research focus, this trend was one that ostensibly started in the 1980s and is still continuing. It could be ascribed to a lack of planning and forward thinking under the previous political dispensation, aggravated by policies of transformation and restructuring in the current one. Existing sources supporting research on primary materials are dated and not discipline-specific. Thus this study aims to address issues of inaccessibility of primary music materials by creating a comprehensive and ongoing national electronic database of special music collections in South Africa. It is hoped that this will help to alert researchers to the existence and status of special music collections housed at various levels of South African academic and civil society.