The New York Philharmonic, the nation’s oldest symphony orchestra, announced that its founding documents – dating back to 1842 – are now available online for the world to see.
An article published yesterday in The New York Times explains how the latest installment of the digital archives describe the organization in its early days, then an orchestra of just 53 members charged with “the advancement of Instrumental Music.”
Included is a drawing of the Apollo Rooms, where the Philharmonic first played, a program from its first concert, a first-edition score and a review of the first concert in the weekly paper.
The Philharmonic has used the Alfresco platform to archive, manage and share the largest score collection in private hands with researchers around the world. Prior to this archiving effort, a researcher had to visit New York to access the repository.
Today, with Alfresco’s online enterprise content management platform, researchers can access the archives from anywhere, anytime.
To help implement Alfresco and streamline the content ingestion process, the Philharmonic turned to Alfresco Partner, Technology Services Group (TSG). TSG’s OpenMigrate software controls the flow of all metadata and images into and out of the Alfresco repository, allowing the Philharmonic to perform bulk metadata imports, image ingestion, and Web-enabling assets by indexing content in the front-end Solr search application. Content renditioning is performed prior to ingestion using a standalone implementation of ImageMagick, an open source software suite that converts the original JPEG images into web-optimized derivative files of various sizes.
“It’s not just about looking at a single item – it’s about making connections between Leonard Bernstein’s debut performance and looking at the program for that performance, and then looking at the score he used, and then hearing audio of that performance,” said Mitch Brodsky, digital archives project manager for the NY Philharmonic.
Alfresco’s flexible architecture has enabled the organization to easily communicate with all types of software and has served as the center of the digital archiving effort, which began in 2011.
Today, the archive contains 1.3 million pages of material from 1943 through 1970 including thousands of original marked-up scores, printed programs, photographs, images, and folders of business documents.
Once completed, the digital archive will contain almost three million pages.
“At a certain point, we want to have a single Alfresco repository that contains all the intellectual assets of the organization from Dec 7, 1842 until yesterday,” said Brodsky.
Watch the video to see the approach and the technology in action. Or, read the case study.