The Beethoven Gateway
(formerly the Beethoven Bibliography Database)
The Beethoven Gateway is a free online resource that helps direct people interested in Beethoven to books, articles, scores, and other sources on the composer. Although it functions primarily as a catalog of the collections of the Ira F. Brilliant Center for Beethoven Studies, its also serves the broader purpose of providing a comprehensive and fully-indexed bibliography of materials relating to Beethoven, from a wide range of subject areas.
The principle aims of the database are:
- to bring together bibliographical information of all significant Beethoven materials dating from the late eighteenth century to the present through the creation of a dedicated database;
- to improve access to information on Beethoven by providing in-depth subject analysis of the literature from all fields and abstracts or content notes;
- to create ease of access to bibliographic information by adding indexes of works, genres, and other desirable access points;
- to create, maintain, and disseminate a thesaurus of terms and guidelines for using the database;
- to provide information on locations of primary research materials through the thesaurus and the database itself;
- to make the database freely available worldwide on the Internet.
The database does not yet provide full text of articles or books, although links from Beethoven Gateway to full text databases is planned. See the summaries of current content and development for more information.
HIstory and Development
Beethoven Gateway: History and Future
One of the primary objectives of the Beethoven Center, from the time it opened in 1985, was the development of a comprehensive online bibliography for Beethoven. The main source for the project was the Center’s rapidly growing collection of books, early printed scores, and journal articles. Supplementing these sources was information compiled from bibliographies and catalog records from other libraries and databases. Among these was a large file of library catalog records for Beethoven books and articles compiled by the defunct Michigan Beethoven Society. Projects that reviewed the accuracy and level of description in these catalogs and bibliographies led to the development of a plan for collecting and analyzing bibliographic data. Two fundamental decisions regarding the plan of work emerged from these surveys:
1) all bibliographic and subject data would be determined by first hand examination of the literature;
2) a controlled vocabulary of specialized subject terms derived from the Beethoven literature would be created. To assist with the development of a Beethoven vocabulary, Dr. Elaine Svenonius, an expert on thesaurus construction at UCLA, was hired as a consultant.
In October 1990, the Beethoven Bibliography Database project officially began with a grant from the California State Library for online cataloging of the Center’s collection. Database design was the next step the following year. At that time, options for producing Internet-based bibliographic databases were limited. Among the possibilities explored were using commercial vendors such as Dialog or consortia such as the Research Libraries Group for database design and access. These options were rejected due to the expense involved and inflexibility of these databases and their creators. Instead, the Center and the university library negotiated with Innovative Interfaces, a leading developer of library catalog systems, to create a specialized reference database. The Beethoven Gateway first became available in 1993 through the Telnet protocol and was then upgraded to a web interface when that became the norm for library catalogs.
From 1993 to the present, development of the database has been made possible through a series of grants and private donations, beginning with an award from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Much progress was made from 1996-2000 thanks to funding by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. Among the major milestones during that period were the publication of the first edition Beethoven Bibliography Database User’s Guide and Thesaurus (now available online) and the development of an indexing manual. In 2003, the university library signed a new contract with Innovative Interfaces that upgraded the online catalog to their powerful Millennium software. Under this contract, the Beethoven Center completed a significant redesign of the search interface for the database at no additional cost.
With the downturn of the national economy in 2000, the Packard Foundation had to greatly reduce grants to humanities projects. Since then, lacking major funding, the Center continued the project on a minimal level with the help of volunteers. By June 2008, the database included approximately16,500 bibliographic records for books, articles, and dissertations about Beethoven, as well as published manuscript sources, first and early editions of Beethoven’s music, and original manuscripts located in the United States. Some of these records need to be enhanced and another 3,500 references remain to be added.
In 2009, the project name changed from Beethoven Bibliography Database to Beethoven Gateway, to better reflect its function as a portal to information on Beethoven. Once the goal of 20,000 bibliographic records is reached, the Beethoven Gateway will contain fully indexed records for all core Beethoven literature from music publications as well as more obscure research publications from music and other fields and selected manuscript sources. It will become a truly comprehensive bibliography, providing a gateway to the full range of intellectual inquiry and exploration of Beethoven’s creativity and its global impact on music and non-music fields. The Beethoven Gateway will then eliminate the need to use other bibliographic tools to identify Beethoven literature on both broad and narrowly focused topics.
The Beethoven Center will continue to maintain the database, adding new publications as they appear, and providing access to other formats of materials. Already underway is a project to include the sound recordings, videos, and art materials in the Beethoven Center's collection. When possible, the Beethoven Gateway will provide links to full text of books and articles as they become freely available on the web.
Content of the Beethoven Gateway (as of July 2009)
Literature on Beethoven
The Beethoven Gateway indexes publications in many languages, primarily English, German, French, Italian, Dutch, and Spanish. All of the books and journal articles indexed in the Gateway are in the collection of the Ira F. Brilliant Center for Beethoven Studies. See our guidelines for locating materials to identify copies or borrow materials through your local libraries.
The types of publications indexed by the Beethoven Gateway include:
articles from scholarly music and non-music journals
dissertations and theses
reviews of books, scores, recordings, and concerts
essays and other sections of books
Books devoted to Beethoven encompass wide range of publications, from children's books to scholarly monographs, all of which are included in the Beethoven Gateway. Books on other subjects that contain discussions of Beethoven and/or his music are also included, although generally only their Beethoven content is indexed. Gateway users may retrieve lists of some types of books using the Category index terms, such as "biographies" or "children's literature."
More than half of the Beethoven Gateway consists of fully-indexed citations to articles in journals and other collections of essays. These not only include articles in music journals but in the periodical literature of other fields as well, such as comparative literature, art history, European history, medicine, philosolphy, and many more. The process of collecting and indexing journal articles is ongoing, and at present not all Beethoven-related articles from a particular journal title are yet included. However, indexing is complete for the following journals, with the exception of some of the most recent issues:
- Acta musicologica (1928-)
Archiv für Musikforschung (1936-1942)
Beethoven Jahrbuch (1953-1981)
Beethoven Forum (1992-2008)
The Beethoven Newletter/Journal (1986- )
Early Music (1972-)
College Music Symposium (1961-)
Current Musicology (1965- )
In Theory Only (1975-)
Indiana Theory Review (1977-)
Journal of Music Theory (1957-)
Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy (1987-)
Journal of Musicology (1982-)
Journal of the American Musicological Society (1948- )
Music Analysis (1982-)
Music and Letters (1920- )
Music Perception (1983-)
The Music Review (1940-1994)
Music Theory Spectrum (1983-)
The Musical Quarterly (1915-1986; 1988- )
Die Musikforschung (1948- )
19th-Century Music (1977-)
Notes (Series 2) (1943-)
Editions of Beethoven's music
At present, the Beethoven Gateway primarily lists published editions of Beethoven's music located in the collections of the Ira F. Brilliant Center for Beethoven studies. A few editions located in other libraries and collections, for which the Beethoven Center owns photocopies, are also included. Although the Gateway currently provides access to only about 75% of the Beethoven Center's collection of music editions, the goal is reach 95% by the end of 2010. These editions include:
- first editions
other editions from Beethoven's lifetime
other important editions published in the 19th century, including arrangements and collected works
important 20th-century editions, particularly scholarly critical editions
The Beethoven Center provides photocopy and scanning services of rare editions in the collection. See also our guidelines for locating Beethoven editions in your local libraries.
Manuscripts (originals and facsimiles)
Currently, the only original manuscripts included in the Beethoven Gateway are located in the Beethoven Center's collection. However, the Beethoven Thesaurus identifies and provides information on locations of other Beethoven manuscripts throughout the world.
Facsimile publications of Beethoven's music manuscripts, letters, and other documents are indexed in the Beethoven Gateway. These include Beethoven's sketchbooks; fair copies and other autograph music manuscripts; contemporary copies of scores not in Beethoven's hand; letters; and other important music and biographical documents. Consult the Documents section of the Beethoven Thesaurus for a more extenstive list of types of manuscript materials. Some manuscript facsimiles printed as illustrations in books are also indexed in the Beethoven Gateway.
The current focus of development of the Beethoven Gateway is on adding information on other formats of materials located in the Beethoven Center's collections. These include:
Sound recordings: compact discs and LP recordings, including the Blakeley Collection of Beethoven symphonies and concertos
Audio/visual materials: video tapes and DVDs of Beethoven documentaries, feature films, performances, lectures, and more.
Graphic materials: portrait engravings, lithographs, maps, art objects (busts and sculpture)
The Beethoven Thesaurus
The Beethoven Thesaurus is a list of approximately 9,000 subject and category (formerly known as genre) terms used for searching the Beethoven Gateway. The thesaurus groups these terms together in nine sections (or hierarchies). Terms are listed in alphabetical order within each section, with instructions on the scope of the terms, their relationships with other terms in the Thesaurus, and unused synonyms. Each listing might also include instructions to the indexer on how to apply the term to a particular subject area.
The Beethoven Thesaurus is now only available online. The last printed edition appeared in 2004 and is no longer available. Before using the online Thesaurus, we recommend that you read the Introduction to the Beethoven Thesaurus.
The Beethoven Gateway User's Guide
An online version of the Beethoven Gateway User's Guide is currently under development.
A pdf version of the eighth edition of the User's Guide published in 2004 is available for download. Please be advised that some of the information in the guide will be out of date.
How to get access to the Beethoven Gateway
The Beethoven Gateway (formerly the Beethoven Bibliography Database) is maintained as a separate reference database in the San Jose State University Library's online public access catalog, which uses the Millennium system designed by Innovative Interfaces of Emeryville, California.
The Beethoven Gateway is freely available on the web at:
This URL will connect you directly to the Database. If you wish to create a link to the Database from a web page, we recommend that you link to the Database page on the Beethoven Center's home page rather than directly to the Database itself:
Occasionally, users will be denied access to the database because their institutions are blocking access to port 83 on the San José State University Library's server, or because the library server is down for maintenance or other reasons. If you have repeated access problems, please check with your internet service provider or contact us.
Detailed instructions on searching the Database are printed in the User's Guide.
Displaying diacritics in the Beethoven Gateway
Diacritics are special characters used with letters of the alphabet in some languages. Common diacritics include accents and umlauts. If you see strange characters and jumbled text when viewing database entries, you may need to reset your browser to properly display diacritics. Please check the language/font encoding preferences in your browsers. We recomment the following character sets for displaying diacritics:
Western (ISO Latin 1)
I found something I want to read through the Beethoven Gateway. Now what?
Most of the books, articles, and scores listed in the Beethoven Gateway are in the collection of the Ira. F. Brilliant Center for Beethoven Studies at San José State University. So that these materials will always be available to researchers at the Center, they cannot be loaned. To obtain copies for use outside of the Beethoven Center, we suggest the following procedures:
Check your local university, college, or public libraries. Books and scores may be available for check out. Journal articles may be available in print copies or online. Many libraries have online catalogs available on the web so that you can check their holdings from home.
Ask your local library to locate and request materials on your behalf through interlibrary loan or document delivery services. Depending on your library's policy, you might be charged for this service.
Request photocopies from the Beethoven Center
The Beethoven Center can provide photocopies of many of its materials according to fair use guidelines. We charge a small fee to cover reproduction and mailing costs. At present, the Center cannot supply microfilms or digital files of text materials.
The Beethoven Gateway: Sending comments and reporting problems
Please help us improve the Beethoven Gateway! We welcome your comments and suggestions. We want to know what you like and don't like about the database. We also want to hear from you if you have problems with access, see errors in the bibliographic records, or want to suggest articles or books for inclusion.
You can contact us directly through the Beethoven Gateway by clicking on the "Suggestions" link at the bottom of the database menu:
If you would like a response to your comment, please include your email address.
To give us a citation for a book or article you think we should add to the Database, choose the "Add to Database" link:
To send more extensive messages about the Beethoven Gateway, please contact Patricia Stroh.
The Beethoven Gateway needs volunteers!
We are recruiting volunteers to index books and articles to add to the Beethoven Gateway. Volunteers need not live near the Beethoven Center. We will provide online training and access to the resources you will need to complete your work. If you are interested in serving as a volunteer, please email Patricia Stroh with information on your particular qualifications and interests. She will then contact you to answer any questions, discuss indexing assignments, and arrange for your training.
Knowledge of Beethoven's music, or;
Knowledge of another subject area for which there is significant Beethoven literature (e.g. European history, art, medicine, etc.)
Reading knowledge of a language other than English especially desirable. We particularly need indexers who are reasonably fluent in German, French, Italian, Spanish, or Russian;
Access to the internet and email;
Ability to commit at least one year to the project (number of hours flexible);
Willingness to commit to completing an indexing assignment within a set time frame (negotiated with project co-directors);
Access to a research library collection desirable but not required.
Volunteer Indexer Duties
Complete online training (approx. 10 hours).
Consult with project directors on indexing assignment. Books/articles assigned will either be made available online, borrowed from local libraries, or loaned to you by the Beethoven Center.
Examine the material and assign main subject and category headings for the book/article as a whole and for individual chapters/sections if applicable.
Identify passages or abstracts
in the text that summarize content.
If assigned materials in languages other than English, translate the summary passages or abstracts, or write an abstract in English.
Examine the material for discussions of Beethoven topics appearing on at least 5 pages, and assign minor subject heading for these topics.
Identify and assign minor subject headings from topics in the book index, if applicable.
Consult the Beethoven Thesaurus and Beethoven Gateway as necessary to assist with determining the best subject headings.
Make notes on other content of the books (e.g. important tables and appendices).
Complete indexing form and return it to the Beethoven Center. (These forms may either be completed online and returned via email or sent in paper copy).
Keep statistics on the number of items indexed and the total time spent and send monthly reports to the Beethoven Center.