Only recently libraries and musicological research institutions started to jointly articulate their different requirements regarding digital indexing and the presentation of manuscript sources. The goal of the Detmold Court Theatre Project is to use MEI for a contextual indexing of sheet music for the first time. It is intended to demonstrate the potential of the standard on the basis of a number of specific examples of varying complexity and to develop a model for indexing other comparable collections.
The collections of music from the heydays of the Detmold court theatre and the local court orchestra in the nineteenth century (around 1825–1875) in the Lippische Landesbibliothek Detmold are of national importance and particularly suited to explore and demonstrate the extensive opportunities of the MEI format because their material components have been retained in a remarkable variety and completeness. They are enhanced with additional content as they are embedded in an exceptional tradition of almost all contextual archival materials within the Lippische Landesbibliothek and the Landesarchiv NRW. In the context of cultural history the total collections are extraordinarily revealing. It is intended to basically record these collections by combining librarian, archival and musicological practice. Some of the materials shall be more thoroughly indexed in an exemplary way to illustrate the advantages of deeply indexed materials compared with traditional catalogue records. For further research, all results are to be stored in a digital environment. At the same time, a generic model for a further indexing of the complete collection will be developed, which will exemplarily include contextualisation data. The results will be presented in an open structure in order to allow extensions by local as well as external collection data and to enable interdisciplinary research within these holdings.