• Community-Centered Sustainability: A Case Study of the Music Encoding Initiative

    Katarina Fenlon, Jessica Grimmer
    Ailynn Ang, Jennifer Bain, David M. Weigl (see profile)
    Music Encoding Initiative
    Digital humanities, Music
    Item Type:
    Conference paper
    Conf. Title:
    Music Encoding Conference 2022
    Conf. Org.:
    Dalhousie University
    Conf. Loc.:
    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Conf. Date:
    May 19-22, 2022
    community, Digital Collections, Music encoding, sustainability
    Permanent URL:
    Lacking institutional support, the vast majority of digital humanities communities and their respective projects confront the pervasive challenge of sustainability. Shifts in technologies, resources, and communities over time present systemic barriers to the long-term viability of digital projects. The “Communities sustaining digital collections” project is investigating the roles of research communities in the sustainability of digital collections, with the purpose of identifying strategies to increase the long-term viability of their digital resources. Four unique case studies span several types of digital humanities projects: the Lakeland Digital Archive, the Open Islamic Text Initiative, the Enslaved.org project, and the Music Encoding Initiative. By conducting interviews with community members and users of these digital projects, we have observed some unifying themes, particularly regarding the symbiotic relationship between the maintenance of the digital object and the maintenance of the community of contributors and users. Of these case studies, the Music Encoding Initiative represents the longest-running and most geographically dispersed scholarly community, composed of technologists, musicologists, music theorists, and music librarians from around the world. This research community has engaged in the creation, maintenance, and adaptations of an open-source standard for encoding musical documents in machine-readable XML schema. Our paper will present preliminary outcomes of the case study of the Music Encoding Initiative, and how the MEI community understands sustainability in the context of their digital markup standard. This paper will also relate emergent findings from cross-case analysis of our broader study of community-centered strategies for sustaining digital humanities resources.
    Winner of the MEC 2022 Best Paper Award
    Last Updated:
    6 months ago


    Item Name: pdf mec22_72-79_grimmer.pdf
      Download View in browser
    Activity: Downloads: 35