Efforts to compile bibliographies which focus specifically on published discographies can be traced back to an article by Carl Bruun and John Gray from the Journal of the British Institute of Recorded Sound in 1962. During the next 20 years several other significant print bibliographies appeared, culminating in the publication of the Bibliography of Discographies series from 1977-1983 (vol. 1: Classical Music, 1925-1975 by Michael Gray and Gerald D. Gibson; vol. 2: Jazz by Daniel Allen; and vol. 3: Popular Music by Michael Gray). Michael Gray later provided an update of classical music discographies for the years 1976-1988, and Tim Brooks has included new discographies in the “Current Bibliography” section of the ARSC Journal for many years.
In 2015 the IASA Discography Committee began the International Bibliography of Discographies (IBD) project to update this previous research and bring the data online. For two years the committee reached out for support and feedback from peer associations, institutions, collectors and discographers. A lot of the early work involved connecting institutions and private collectors, and learning from eminent discographers who had long studied the recorded output of labels, genres, artists or countries. In 2017 the first iteration of the IBD was published on the IASA website. It was compiled by Peter Laurence, Filip Sir, and a team of two students on behalf of the committee. A new version of the database was launched in 2020, and we remain exceedingly grateful for the many contributions made by individual collectors and discographers, as well as colleagues from peer associations and memory institutions.
Our objective for the project has always been to carry out a truly international survey of discographic work done to date, from all countries and in all languages. Many in the field ultimately seek a universal database of all recordings, and to that end, user-generated resources are now being built based on records that users have in hand. Our project works instead from research done by collectors and scholars since the 1930s, and will include records that no one is likely to ever see, and some that were never actually issued. By aiming to cover all current and out-of-print discographies published worldwide in print and electronic formats, as well as unpublished works in progress, we hope to help provide a more complete picture of the world’s recorded sound output. With that goal in mind, we have also decided to include record company catalogs in the database, given the added research value they provide.
In 2020 we added almost 400 historical periodicals known to have included discographies to the database. We have only minimal information for many of these titles, so if anyone has additional information, or knows of a discography periodical from your own country that is not listed here, please contact Peter Laurence at firstname.lastname@example.org. These titles are useful for tracking down new discography articles for the database.
As part of the project, we have also created an archive of complete digital (pdf) versions of discographies and record catalogs. This archive exists as a sub-collection at the Internet Archive known as the Digital Discography Collection. Entries in the Bibliography will include links to full digital versions in this collection, when they are available. If you would like to contribute a PDF version of your article- or book-length discography to the IBD and have it added to our collection on the Internet Archive, please use the following link (up to 2 GB).
Thank you for helping us build the International Bibliography of Discographies!
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Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library
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*Work on this project has been supported by International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives, Harvard University and the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic (DKRVO 2018/47, National Museum, 00023272).