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Medium of performance is critical for music retrieval and has long been a complex facet of music cataloging. Recent years saw significant strides towards standardizing the vocabulary and encoding medium of performance data in the MARC environment as well as in the linked data environment. In the course of leading the MLA BIBFRAME task force to examine the potentials of expressing, standardizing, and implementing music-related data and data structures, I discovered our handling of medium of performance has not been consistent with respect to the FRBR constructs of “work” and “expression,” as well as the concept of “event.” After the completion of the MLA task force, I continued my research focus in this area.

In this presentation, I will discuss new conceptualizations in light of the newly proposed linked data ontology for medium of performance, and its effects on the handling of musical designations such as soloists, accompaniment, instrumentation, number of players to a part, transposing instruments, instrumental and voice doubling, and instrument sharing. An in-depth analysis will contrast how medium of performance is currently handled in AACR2/RDA/MARC with the additional precision and details that can be expressed in the linked data environment. Discussion of use cases will demonstrate ways these additional data can enhance users’ ability to search, filter, and sort the information.


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