Letter from the Editor, May 2017

May 2017

It is with great pleasure that I announce, together with Editor in Chief Deane Root and the Editorial Board, that later this year you will start to see some changes to Grove Music Online. We’ve been working behind the scenes on a newly designed website for several years and we can’t wait to show you the results.

Throughout Grove's nearly 140-year history and eight editions, there have been a number of moments that have seen particularly large growth, both in terms of the quantity of articles and in terms of the scholarly approach to the content. The fifth edition, edited by British music critic Eric Blom and published in 1954, increased the size of the dictionary by half, and, more importantly, created a more international and scholarly approach to the content. Stanley Sadie’s work on the first New Grove, the sixth edition of the dictionary published in 1980, was more than twice as long as its predecessor, mostly newly written, and incorporated subjects like musics outside the Western world and popular music that had not previously had a place in Grove. The simultaneous publication in 2001 of the seventh edition, New Grove 2, in print and online initiated Grove's digital age. The changes coming to Grove Music Online over the next several years are similarly significant. They will modernize the look of the site, improve the way the site works, enhance the discovery of information, and support the ongoing development of a dictionary that is now primarily web-based and global in scope.

Among key improvements in site functionality, Grove will have a brand new search engine based on several years of metadata improvement and better linking between articles. We will gain the ability to embed audio and video examples into articles; and we will have the ability to make a portion of each article freely available to help make it easier to find Grove articles in standard web-based search engines.

Some of the most important changes affect the very ethos of Grove Music Online and are driven by an evolution, over the last several decades, in the way we think of the field of music scholarship, its scope, its methodologies, and its place in academia and the world. To this end we have replaced the taxonomy– the system of categories that helps us organize the intellectual content of the site and which originated in the commissioning strategy for the 1980 New Grove—with a much more detailed taxonomy that is more global in scope and supports our strategies for commissioning. The new taxonomy more closely ties the work of developing content with the work of defining and processing data. It aids connectivity with other online resources, and supports searches that can be refined more precisely than our current engine permits, making it easier for researchers to find a meaningful array of resources on a given topic and also to quickly identify the best resources for the task at hand.

In addition to these critical changes, you will see a cleaner, more modern site design that retains a similar interface to the current site while coordinating with other OUP online publications, making it easier to move between publications; images and musical examples will be embedded at a larger size.

Driven by customer feedback we’ve collected over the last several years, overseen by scholarly experts and defined by the editorial board’s long-range strategic plan, the changes to the site are designed to make the dictionary easier to use, to improve the networking of content both within Grove Music Online and externally, and to reorient our publication practices to digital-first publication, all in the service of making it easier to conduct research.

This will also usher in a new era for Grove where we move from batching changes into occasional large updates to making small changes as we go. This is true both of the updating of content where we will, once fully up and running, move from tri-annual to monthly updates, and also for site functionality where we will be able to make adjustments as needed at several points during the year.

Our customer support team will be working to make the transition as smooth as possible. For the next few months there will be some necessary delays in our publication schedule to accommodate our work on the site. But we will continue, with the help of our many dedicated Grove authors, to commission and prepare articles for publication.

We look forward to sharing more about these and other developments in the coming months. As always, we appreciate hearing from you. If you have any questions or concerns about this process or any suggestions for us, please contact us at grovemusic-editor@oup.com.

Anna-Lise Santella 
Publishing Editor 
Grove Music Online