While the electronic publishing of books and scores has become commonplace, e-publishing of scores by major music publishers has lagged-behind. Libraries and music publishers are unwilling to relinquish the print format, but the proliferation of music notation software has given rise to greater numbers of self-publishing composers, keen to sell and deliver their musical works in PDF.
The Music Library at the University of Western Ontario is an anomaly, in that it acquires, catalogues, and circulates music for the Faculty of Music’s choirs and large ensembles. A faculty member’s request to participate in a large-scale commission of a new work for wind ensemble in 2011 was approved; when the work was completed, the score and parts arrived as PDFs contained in zip-files: we suddenly found ourselves in the printing business.
Since 2011, we have continued to acquire music in PDF for our choirs and ensembles, eventually developing a work-flow and suggestions for best practices for dealing with these materials.
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