Restatement of the Problem and the
Significance of the Study

As stated at the beginning of this proposal, the objective of the proposed exploratory study is to systematically determine the need for thematic indexing among the users of music research libraries in the United States. This proposed study will provide a baseline of information for planning and administering such a service.

Effect of Limitations

It is believed that the survey will provide an adequate profile of users of various music collections. Administering the survey only to users who physically visit the libraries, however, will prevent the consideration of those who access the collection by other means. By only conducting the survey at Music Library Association-member libraries, the researcher will not be able to fully characterize all users of music libraries.

Possible Uses of the Results

The data obtained from the survey will be used to draw conclusions about the research questions: What are the information needs of the users? Which, if any, of those information needs might be served through online thematic indexing? What is the level of knowledge and usage among users of music materials of the tools which could be used for thematic indexing and retrieval? These conclusions will provide a foundation for decisions to be made in programs and services. Functions that will be directly affected include reference and access services. The results of the study may also lead to developing cooperative efforts among music libraries and the music publishing industry to provide online thematic indexing.

Recommendations for Further Study

Because the results to be obtained in the proposed study are meant to furnish a baseline of information, there are many research topics that can be developed from that starting point. For example: Do users of music libraries which support music technology curricula express a greater need for thematic indexing? What is the level of interest in thematic indexing among users who access the library electronically? What effect do hypertext and hypermedia technologies have upon providing content indexing for music materials? How do the cost and availability of technology impact upon the provision of new access services? These questions only point to further questions. The journey must begin, however, with an attempt to understand the uses and users of music libraries and thematic access.

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