MuDoc system

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What is MuDoc?

MuDoc (Multimedia/Music Documentation) is a general-purpose digital repository designed to store and disseminate digital multimedia objects. In particular, MuDoc was designed to accommodate digitized ethnomusicological fieldwork, in order to address limitations inherent in traditional archives (preservation, quality assurance, access, dissemination, rights management).

MuDoc Overview

MuDoc provides the following functionality:

  • Federated database (distributed system with central brokerage hub). Repositories can be located anywhere on the Internet; users see a single, seamless repository.
  • Web portal user interface, with permanent workspace and messaging system
  • Peer review system (providing a complete peer review workflow)
  • Non-hierarchical keyword ontology (supporting tagging, peer review, and search), mathematically structured as a directed acyclic graph of concepts.
  • Web submission and peer review of keywords
  • Web submission and peer review of multimedia content (e.g. audio, video, text, notation, image) hierarchically arranged using the standard nested "folder" paradigm.
  • Web submission and peer review of proposed peer review roles (users request editorial or reviewer roles for particular keywords; these requests are themselves peer reviewed)
  • Permanent storage and backup of accepted submissions
  • Tagging of submissions with keywords and metadata
  • Annotation: submitting objects to annotate other objects (including other annotations), enabling accumulation of scholarly knowledge
  • Linking submissions to existing repository objects
  • Searching by metadata or keyword (including recursive search through the ontology)
  • Browsing search results,
  • Rudimentary DRM (digital rights management), including e-commerce (designed to provide an income stream to artists around the world)
  • Downloading content (subject to DRM restrictions)

MuDoc's initial deployment (portal, brokerage, and repository) will reside on the folkwaysAlive server. When the system is fully tested and stable, other repositories will be able to join the federation as well.

See also


MuDoc was conceived by Michael Frishkopf in 2003, and designed by Michael Frishkopf and David Descheneau. An initial prototype was completed by Ken Sobol in 2004, with guidance from University of Alberta computer scientists Osmar Zaiane and Mario Nascimento. Open source brokerage components (LIMBS) were contributed by Sun Microsystems. Implementation design, advisory services, and programming was provided by Sun, Make Technologies, Clearstream, and Academic Information and Communication Technologies (AICT) at the University of Alberta.

Support for MuDoc has been generously provided by Western Economic Diversification Canada, Alberta's Ministry of Innovation and Science (now part of the Ministry of Advanced Education and Technology), Sun Microsystems, the Office of the VP (Research), University of Alberta, and the Faculty of Arts, University of Alberta.

MuDoc is one of many projects under development at folkwaysAlive, under the auspices of the Canadian Centre for Ethnomusicology, Department of Music, Faculty of Arts, University of Alberta.

References and related resources

The “Data” of Ethnomusicology Research: Recent Developments & Challenges, by Sean Luyk Music Librarian, Rutherford Library