Letter from the Editor, March 2012

GMO Editor in Chief Deane Root
March 2012

New Grove editor Stanley Sadie concluded a report on preparations for the 2001 printed edition saying, “the electronic future of the enterprise offers exciting and challenging possibilities and I hope that the prime musical reference work of the English-speaking world will have as long and distinguished a future as it has a past” (The New Grove, Second Edition, Music Library Association Notes, Second Series, Vol. 57, No. 1, Sept 2000, pp. 11–20). Since Oxford University Press re-launched Grove Music Online in 2008, we have made great progress toward Sadie’s goal of a dictionary that best “serves the needs of its time” and that is “bigger and, [we] hope, better than its predecessor.”

Beginning with my appointment as Editor in Chief of Grove Music Online in the fall of 2009, we established an Editorial Board with a very full agenda, meeting six times a year (and corresponding frequently) to examine content, operating procedures, policies, and staffing needs and to advise the publisher. Members of the Board have also reviewed users’ suggestions, taken a central role in planning revised and new content, advised on features and functionality of the public pages, and met with members of scholarly societies during their annual meetings. The Board also meets biannually with the Grove Advisory Panel of representatives from the major music research and librarianship associations.

At the American Musicological Society meeting in 2009, we initiated a trial period for the Update GMO project, inviting authors to refresh their articles and expand bibliographies. Results include hundreds of updated entries; the creation of a procedures manual that establishes goals, methods, and workflows; and a trained and dedicated staff. We are regularizing the Update program, with a target for reviewing and updating the entire contents of GMO within a ten-year cycle.

We have also identified areas of most urgent need for new content and begun planning projects to create that coverage. Commissioning of new entries on contemporary composers continues, as does expansion of coverage for under-represented areas such as Australia (19 new and updated articles on contemporary Australian composers were added to the website in December 2011, and a corresponding batch of new articles on composers from New Zealand is planned for later this year). The additional contents that are perhaps most evident to users are the new and revised entries already being folded into GMO from second editions of The Grove Dictionary of American Music (“AmeriGrove”) and The Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments, being edited respectively by Charles Hiroshi Garrett and Laurence Libin. We are most grateful for Professor Garrett’s dedication and keen eye in helping conceive and execute protocol, establishing which versions of particular entries would become the primary and which the secondary articles in the database. With this infusion of new information, Grove remains committed to retaining earlier versions and making them available through a single search.

I’d particularly like to acknowledge the dedicated and insightful work of Grove Senior Editor Tim Sachs through the summer of 2011, and welcome new Senior Editor Anna-Lise Santella, whose experience as a published scholar, familiarity with music-research disciplines, and ability to manage voluminous details have already helped propel Grove Music Online forward.

You, too, can participate in keeping Grove the best possible dictionary of music and musicians. Grove Music Online is very much the result of the international music research and reference communities working concertedly, and its users shape its nature and contents. If you would like more information about the editorial initiatives of Grove Music Online, or if you would like to give us feedback, please contact us at grovemusic-editor@oup.com.

With appreciation,

Deane L. Root
Editor in Chief
Grove Music Online
March 2012