A Music Archive for the 21st Century

The Documentation Centre of the Orfeó Català (CEDOC) constitutes one of the oldest specialist music archives in Catalonia, with origins that date back to 1891, the year the Orfeó Català was created. The Documentation Centre manages both the active archive of the Palau de la Música Catalana’s musical activities and the historical archive, which contains music sources and collections dating from the 12th century to the present day. Our Centre is remarkable not only because it manages the historical archives but also because it manages and controls the entire life cycle of any document the Palau de la Música Catalana generates, from the moment it is created. One of our distinguishing traits, and one that makes us unique, is that the active and recently created documents related to the Palau’s activities are made available to the public on one of our digital platforms. A recently created platform – https://arxiu.palaumusica.cat – is dedicated to sound recordings (concerts, conferences, etc.) and provides a support and permanent storage for everything that is published on the new Digital Palau website. As a result, recently created archives are made available to the public shortly after they are created, always with respect for intellectual property permissions. The digital document has become the indispensable support to offer the best service and to bring us closer to the public with better quality archives. Nor should we forget to mention our direct contact with people in order to understand their needs and interests, which is why CEDOC has an active social media presence, offers specialist guided visits and organises exhibitions and conferences based around our music archive. All of these activities complement one another, help to disseminate our material more widely and offer a more direct dialogue with the public.

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The profile of a 21st century archive involves multiple activities, including opening up to the digital world, constant interaction with the public and promoting research into the sources, aspects which are enhanced by the digital platforms and the personal dialogue, whether physical or virtual, with the public.

By Marta Grassot Radresa, Head of the Orfeó Català Documentation Centre (CEDOC)