Monday, June 2, 2008

New Look for New Grove

The look and feel of Grove Music Online changed in May. Oxford University Press is changing how users will access their various electronic resources, including New Grove, by implementing a new gateway they are calling Oxford Music Online.

This new product combines the content of New Grove (including New Grove Opera and New Grove Jazz), The Oxford Companion to Music, and The Oxford Dictionary of Music (2nd edition). Searches can be directed at any of the sources, or across all three. According to a press release by Oxford, “Grove Music Online’s many improvements and enhancements will include a completely new and user-friendly interface, sophisticated advanced search capabilities, improved biographical searching, OpenURL compliance, an expanded cross-reference system, and more.” Oxford is also forming partnerships with third parties such as the Database of Recorded Music (DRAM), RILM, and eventually Naxos that will support linkages between the databases.

The other most significant development is that Oxford Music is OpenURL compliant. This means that you will be able to generate a Voyager search directly from a bibliography entry with a click of the mouse, allowing you to search the online catalog for that item. This functions much the same way the “Find Text” button works on some other databases, such as RILM.
Not only will the searching be different, but the way the results are displayed will also be different. Where multiple articles on the same topic exist, primacy will be given to the article from New Grove. Articles from “baby Groves” will be found under the main article, listed as “archived articles.” Oxford will also be developing a thesaurus and name authority list for variant spellings (e.g. Tchaikovsky vs. Chaikowskii). When searching biographies, it will be possible to limit by different criteria, such as occupation (e.g. “tenor,” or “singer” which will take into account all voice types). The new search interface supports the use of Boolean operators (including “near,” which Voyager does not use) and wildcards. A quick search box is available at the top of every page.

Oxford maintains that the site is equally accessible through a variety of browsers, including:
  • IE6+
  • Firefox 2+
  • Safari 2
  • Opera 9
  • Lynx

Search results can be both printed (no more frames!) or emailed. Abbreviations are spelled out as mouseovers or hyperlinks. Search terms are highlighted in the article. The navigation tabs are more useful now, including tabs for Article, Works, Multimedia, and Related Content (the latter referring to content within Oxford Music rather than external links, which are included as part of the bibliographies). The display of works lists has also been significantly improved.

As with any major change such as New Grove is undergoing, there are going to be things that you will like about it, and things that you do not. For better or worse, there is little that we can do in the way of customization, however, Oxford is encouraging feedback which can be found using the Contact Us link in the upper right corner

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