Vol. 11 No. 2 (2020)

Semantic Indexing of Musical Resources. The Application of the Nuovo soggettario System and its Implementation with a specialized Terminology

Michela Grossi
Conservatorio statale di musica "L. D'Annunzio"

Published 2020-05-15


  • Catalogazione della musica,
  • Indicizzazione semantica della musica,
  • Intestazioni di soggetto per la musica,
  • Nuovo Soggettario

How to Cite

Grossi, M. (2020). Semantic Indexing of Musical Resources. The Application of the Nuovo soggettario System and its Implementation with a specialized Terminology. JLIS.It, 11(2), 59–81. https://doi.org/10.4403/jlis.it-12627


The goal of this study is to present an overview of issues related to subject indexing of musical resources and also to describe what ‘subject’ access means in this domain. In other Countries subject indexing is realized with a lot of initiatives throughout the years, such as LCSH, the Music Thesaurus Project, Musaurus, and Rilm; in Italy the Nuovo Soggettario Thesaurus could be the tool for this practice. As a matter of fact, The Nuovo Soggettario Thesaurus comply with international standards and is freely accessible on the Web. It is steadily growing thanks to the efforts of the National Library of Florence (BNCF) as well as the external collaboration of several institutions. The Thesaurus, organized in a hierarchical arrangement, with a thoroughly faceted and synthetically list of terms, provides many links which allow connections to other knowledge organization tools as well as archival and museum resources. The Thesaurus structure is based on four conceptual categories which contain classes of concepts with common characteristics. Furthermore, terms are provided with a rich apparatus of notes and a dense network of semantic relationships (BT, NT, RT) that clarify the meaning of the terms. The Thesaurus is integrated with the BNCF’s opac and other libraries’ one, which use it in the Servizio Bibliotecario Nazionale (SBN) and users can browse through vocabulary to the bibliographic records. A large number of terms has a cross-language equivalence relationship with Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) preferred terms, linked at “Equiv. LCSH”. This article aims to present the possibility of enriching the terminological heritage of the Thesaurus with musical terminology. In addition, a case study (Sinfonie term) is presented which describes some interesting peculiarities about the musical terms. The management of the term has involved the examination of the scope note (SN) which is usually used for polysemi-terms. The case of Sinfonie is a significant example of this because of the evolution that the form has undergone over the centuries. This study also illustrates how a general thesaurus could be profitably employed also in a specific domain as well as how the results could be improved if librarians and specialists collaborate.


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