Archivio Ricordi: Networking For A Digital Future

The music archive in Milan has entered into a partnership with the Wikimedia Foundation, the entity behind the online encyclopedia Wikipedia.

Making the world’s knowledge accessible to everyone, anytime, anywhere, is part of the vision of the free online encyclopedia Wikipedia and the entity that hosts it, the Wikimedia Foundation. Archivio Storico Ricordi, owned by Bertelsmann, has now entered into a partnership with the Italian branch of this foundation. This will make the music archive’s unique holdings, which include some of Italian opera history’s most valuable treasures, accessible to completely new audiences – worldwide, for music experts and scholars, as well as for opera lovers and interested amateurs.

On the one hand, the agreement involves Archivo Ricordi holdings that are freely accessible in libraries being uploaded to the Wikisource online library. This primarily refers to famous Ricordi magazines such as “Gazetta Musicale,” “Ars et Labor” and “Musica d’Oggi.” They have already been digitized in the archive over the past few years and will now be accessible to everyone. The wiki community will refine the data scanned in using OCR, and transcribe them as needed to improve the linking of content. Passive users of the digital archive will therefore become valuable temporary “employees” who further increase the archive materials’ value and usability.

On the other hand, sources already available on the Ricordi Archive website – especially the extensive collection of letters that constitute the correspondence between the Archive and great composers such as Giuseppe Verdi – will in future be digitally linked with the relevant Wikipedia entries in a structured process. This database, called Wikidata, links Wikipedia entries on composers, individual operas, theaters, librettists, and singers with relevant sources in the Ricordi Archive.

The collaboration with the Wikimedia Foundation opens up a whole new dimension of digital networking and it means that the Archivio Ricordi will be perfectly prepared for the digital future.