Digital Libraries for Musicology – DLfM – exists most obviously at the intersection of digital library and musicology research, but also encompasses computer science, library and information science, digital humanities, Music Information Retrieval, alongside digital practice in music collections of cultural institutions. It was established as a workshop by Kevin Page and Ben Fields following their work on interdisciplinary approaches to digital musicology during the AHRC-funded Transforming Musicology project. The first event was co-located with the 2014 Digital Libraries conference in London (itself a joint Joint Conference on Digital Libraries (JCDL) and Theory and Practice of Digital Libraries  (TPDL) event!). After the success of the initial edition confirmed community interest and support for such an event, DLfM continued as a workshop associated with JCDL in 2015, before co-locating with the International Society for Music Information Retrieval (ISMIR) from 2016. As contributions matured and the programme became more oriented around presented papers, DLfM transitioned to become a single-day conference in 2018, when it also began publishing Open Access proceedings. In response to community feedback, and to remain true to its interdisciplinary roots, in 2021 the DLfM Steering Committee decided to alternate co-location between ISMIR and the conference of the International Association of Music Libraries, Archives and Documentation Centres (IAML).

DLfM Aims and Objectives

DLfM presents a venue specifically for those working on, and with, Digital Library systems and content in the domain of music and musicology. This includes Music Digital Library systems, their application and use in musicology, technologies for enhanced access and organisation of musics in Digital Libraries, bibliographic and metadata for music, intersections with music Linked Data, and the challenges of working with the multiple representations of music across large-scale digital collections such as the Internet Archive and HathiTrust.

DLfM focuses on the implications of music for Digital Libraries and Digital Libraries research when pushing the boundaries of contemporary musicology, including the application of techniques as reported in more technologically-oriented fora such as ISMIR and ICMC.

The conference objectives are:

  • to act as a forum for reporting, presenting, and evaluating this work and disseminating new approaches to advance the discipline;
  • to create a venue for critically and constructively evaluating and verifying the operation of Music Digital Libraries and the applications and findings that flow from them;
  • to consider the suitability of existing Music Digital Libraries, particularly in light of the transformative methods and applications emerging from musicology, large collections of both audio and music related data, ‘big data’ method, and MIR;
  • to explore how digital libraries and digital musicology can combine to offer richer online access to online music collections;
  • to set the agenda for work in the field to address these new challenges and opportunities.

DLfM has, since its inception, included high-quality proceedings as one of its core outputs. For all editions thus far this has been realised through the ACM ICPS series, with publication in the prestigious ACM Digital Library. Feedback from authors indicated this is a strong motivation for submission. In 2018 Open Access publication of the proceedings was secured with the ACM for the first time, included as part of the conference registration fees. Inclusion in the ACM DL brings a requirement for rigorous peer-review, and an expectation of high quality contributions of full (8 page) and short (4 page) paper submissions (formatted according to the ACM double-column template). Submissions should therefore report substantial pieces of research, and the peer review process should be run with the utmost respect and professionalism. A minimum of three reviews are expected per paper, and the reviews are expected to be careful, insightful, and supportive. Thus far DLfM has undertaken single-blind reviewing.

Since submission of full and short papers requires a significant investment of research and writing effort for authors, the DLfM programme has always included alternative and complementary sessions with a lower barrier to entry: it is a core principle of the conference to encourage new attendees from both musicology and technology backgrounds, provide a venue where new interdisciplinary approaches can be discovered, and new collaborations can be nurtured. As such, poster and “challenge” paper sessions are an equally important segment of the programme. The “challenge” paper session, often run as a panel following short presentations, has also proved a valuable opportunity for (project) sponsorship, whereby sponsors can work with the organisers to set a theme or topic for the session. Examples of these can be seen in the Call for Papers (CfP) and programmes from previous years. Posters and Challenge Papers are not included in the ACM proceedings, but instead published on the DLfM website. Sponsors have, in this way, consistently helped keep the registration price of DLfM low.

DLfM Organisation, Roles, and Responsibilities

DLfM is a conference of modest size, run each year by a core triumvirate of General Chair, Programme Chair, and Local Chair. DLfM operates a relatively unusual two-year period of service, where each year a new Programme Chair is appointed and guided by a General Chair, who was themself Programme Chair in the previous year. This arrangement is intended to provide reassurance to the new Programme Chair that institutional knowledge and experience is available and will be passed on; and to allow DLfM to support early career researchers as Programme Chairs.

DLfM has a website, hosted at the University of Oxford, and available at: https://dlfm.web.ox.ac.uk/
The website includes an archive of past editions, including the CfPs and programmes. Editing access to this site is given to the Programme Chair and Proceedings Chair; it is expected this website will continue to host future editions of DLfM.

General Chair

The General Chair position is expected to be filled by the previous year’s Programme Chair in normal circumstances. Responsibilities of the General Chair include:

  • Appointing the Programme Chair, in consultation with the Steering Committee
  • Identifying the conference venue and appointing the Local Chair, in consultation with the Programme Chair
  • Selecting the conference date and setting the conference organisational timetable accordingly, in consultation with the Programme Chair
  • Assist the Programme Chair and Local Chair in finalising the conference budget and setting registration fees

Programme Chair

The Programme Chair is the primary position of responsibility in organising DLfM. The Programme Chair should be chosen from the community, and be a well represented author in previous DLfM proceedings. The position is, in effect, a two year commitment, since the Programme Chair is expected to serve as the General Chair in the subsequent year. This arrangement provides continuity in the running of the conference, while encouraging the emergence of new leadership from within the community. Responsibilities of the Programme Chair include:

  • Identifying the conference venue and appointing the Local Chair, in consultation with the General Chair
  • Selecting the conference date and setting the conference organisational timetable accordingly, in consultation with the General Chair
  • Appointing the Proceedings Chair
  • Applying to the proceedings publisher (e.g. ACM for ICPS)
  • Appointing the Programme Committee
  • Write the Call for Papers
  • Apply for a submission management system (e.g. easychair)
  • Configure the submission management system (e.g. easychair) and open it for submissions
  • Offer a deadline extension as required and fairly: universally to all authors; with sufficient warning to be helpful (~5 days before published deadline)
  • Allocate members of the Programme Committee as reviewers of submitted papers
  • Manage the review process and submission of review by the Programme Committee, including management of late and ‘emergency’ reviews
  • Ultimate responsibility for acceptance decisions based on reviews and according to time available in the conference schedule
  • Notify authors of acceptance or rejection
  • In consultation with the Local Chair and General Chair, and with knowledge of the number of acceptances, finalise the conference budget and set registration fees
  • Allocate papers to thematic sessions and timetable the conference programme for publication
  • Write the Chair’s Welcome for the proceedings
  • Assign session chairs for the conference day

The Programme Chair is not expected to author any peer-reviewed submissions to the conference in the year for which they are Programme Chair. There is no expectation of this restriction applying to any of the other organisational roles (Local Chair, Proceedings Chair, General Chair) submitting papers to the conference, since they should not be given privileged access to the chosen submission management system.

Local Chair

The Local Chair (or Chairs) are to be appointed by the General Chair and Programme Chair to manage the local organisation of the conference, including the venue, registration, and catering. Responsibilities of the Local Chair include:

  • Arrange a physical venue for the DLfM conference
  • Arrange any virtual or hybrid provision for the DLfM conference event
  • In consultation with the Programme Chair and General Chair, finalise the conference budget and set registration fees
  • Operate registration for the conference (unless the Programme Chair wishes to make alternative arrangements)
  • Arranging catering and name badges for conference attendees
  • Timely payment of publisher fees using registrations (coordinated by Proceedings Chair)

Proceedings Chair

The Proceedings Chair is appointed by the Programme Chair to manage publicity, distribution of the CfP, and production of the conference proceedings (in close co-operation with the Programme Chair). Responsibilities of the Proceedings Chair include:

  • Circulating and publicising the Call for Papers (multiple calls)
  • Manage the submission of camera ready versions of accepted papers (e.g. via  easychair)
  • Publish the conference programme and details of registration on the DLfM website
  • Quality assurance of camera ready submissions, liaising with the publisher (e.g. ACM) for final upload of proceedings including preparation of front matter (table of contents etc.) and copyright assignments from authors
  • Checking all papers have at least one registered author before inclusion in the proceedings
  • Coordinate payment of fees to publisher for on-time production of proceedings (fees paid from registrations collected by the Local Chair)

Steering Committee

Membership of the DLfM Steering Committee is open to all previous General Chairs (who wish to remain Steering Committee members). The Steering Committee are consulted in selection of the Programme Chair, and remain on hand to offer advice and experience to the Programme Chair, General Chair, and Local Chair.

Current (2023) members of the DLfM Steering Committee are:

  • Claire Arthur (Georgia Institute of Technology)
  • David Lewis (Goldsmiths University of London)
  • Kevin Page (University of Oxford)
  • David Rizo (Universidad de Alicante)

Programme Committee

The Programme Committee is appointed by the Programme Chair to review the submissions, and should be of sufficient size to peer review the expected number of submissions (e,g, 30 full and short submissions in 2018, plus challenge papers and posters). The Programme Committee should be formed of community members who have actively engaged with DLfM as authors and/or attendees. Programme Committee members should be expected to review 3-4 papers each, and should be given a minimum of 1 month to complete their reviews. It is recommended that this period be extended if it falls over a holiday period. The Programme Chair and General Chair are not expected to act directly as reviewers. The Local Chair and Proceedings Chair may be members of the Programme Committee.


DLfM Organising Timetable

This timetable indicates the tasks which should be completed in the organisation of DLfM, who is responsible for each task, and when these should be scheduled (based on past experience).

Task Timing (before conference) Notes Owner
Appoint Programme Chair 13-14 months Announce at the preceding year’s conference

General Chair* in consultation with Steering Committee

* i.e. most likely the preceding year’s Programme Chair at time of decision

Identify and arrange venue; appoint Local Chair 11 months   General Chair and Programme Chair in consultation with Steeting Committee
Set date for Conference and update this timetable accordingly; create placeholder page on website 9 month   General Chair and Programme Chair
Appoint Proceedings Chair 30 weeks   Programme Chair
Apply for submission management system (e.g. easychair) 30 weeks e.g. Easychair takes ~2 days for approval Programme Chair
Apply for proceedings publications (e.g. ACM ICPS) 30 weeks The proceedings outlet should be included in the CfP, approval may take 4 weeks. Organisational details of the proceedings may be required to apply e.g. ACM ICPS require the PC and website to be confirmed. Programme Chair
Appoint Programme Committee 30 weeks The PC should be listed in the CfP. Using the submission management system may simplify management of reviewers, e.g. easychair can be used to send invitations. Programme Chair
Publish 1st CfP 26 weeks Consider timing with respect to any co-located conference. e.g. when co-located with ISMIR we have ensured the CfP is published a month ahead of ISMIR notifications. Programme Chair (write CfP) and Proceedings Chair (publicise CfP)
Configure submission management system (e.g. easychair) and open for submissions 24 weeks   Programme Chair
Publish 2nd and 3rd CfPs     Proceedings Chair
Submission deadline (published) 18 weeks (and >2 months from 1st CfP) Decide whether to offer an extension. Any extension should be offered to all authors, and should be announced at least 5 days before the published deadline. Programme Chair
Allocate reviewers to papers 17 weeks Allow 1 week (in case of conflicts of interest, re-allocations, etc.) Programme Chair
Start of review period 16 weeks Minimum 1 month; longer over holiday periods Programme Chair
Review reminder   1 week before deadline Programme Chair
Reviews due 12 weeks   Programme Committee / Programme Chair
Acceptance decisions based on reviews 12 weeks Include slack for late reviews / emergency reviews. At this stage a rough programme for the conference day is required to know the limit of paper acceptances. Programme Chair
Notification 11 weeks >1 month before camera ready. In the past some rejected papers submissions have been offered acceptance as posters (not in the proceedings). Programme Chair
Finalise conference budget and set registration fees 10 weeks Informed by number of accepted papers. Programme, Local, and General Chairs
Allocate papers to thematic sessions and timetable the conference programme 10 weeks   Programme Chair (liaising with Local Chair for any local rooming/access constraints)
Publish programme and details of registration on DLfM website 10 weeks It is important to give presenters adequate time to book travel. Programme Chair
Open registration (fees must be set) 10 weeks   Local Chair
Consult with Steering Committee to appoint next year's Programme Chair 4-8 weeks   current Programme Chair (i.e. next year's General Chair)
Camera ready submission (e.g. to easychair) 6 weeks >1 month after notification; leave slack to iterate with authors while meeting publisher camera ready deadline Proceedings Chair
Submit Chair’s welcome for proceedings 6 weeks Completed for publisher camera ready deadline Programme Chair
Final checks and revisions; create ToC, submit metadata (e.g. to ACM); manage upload of camera ready papers and copyright assignment to publisher (e.g. ACM) by authors 6 weeks Minimum 2 weeks before ACM deadline (the process can be detailed, complex, and require iteration) Proceedings Chair (in consultation with Programme Chair)
Mandatory registration for 1 author per accepted paper 6 weeks Author registration must be confirmed before proceedings submission to publisher Proceedings Chair
Payment of publication fees to publisher (e.g. ACM) 6 weeks   Local Chair, coordinated by Proceedings Chair
Proceedings submitted to publisher 4 weeks e.g. ACM ICPS deadline is a minimum of 4 weeks before the conference event Proceedings Chair
Close registration 1 week Registration must be closed with sufficient time for local organisers to arrange catering. Typically ~1 week before conference. Local Chair
Invite session chairs >1 week After attendees are confirmed (or earlier if preferred) Programme Chair
Print name badges 1 week   Local Chair and Proceedings Chair
Chair Conference and announce next year's Programme Chair on the day   Programme Chair