12 December 2006

Digital Mozart and Our Open Future

One of the key ideas that underpins this blog is that one day all knowledge will be freely available online. Open source is the means, and open content/open genomics/open data etc. will be the result.

Clearly, there is a long way to go, but it is important to keep things in perspective. Ten years ago, Wikipedia did not exist; today, it provides an unparalleled collection of knowledge, for all its faults. Looking just a little further back, say 15 years ago, the Web consisted of a few servers worldwide, and GNU was kernel-less - Linux had only just come into existence. We have gained much in those ten and fifteen years.

And now here's another straw in the wind, a sign from the future: the complete works of Mozart available online, free:

Starting on December 12, 2006 the ISM and the Packard Humanities Institute will make the complete musical texts of the NMA available to everyone for private, scholarly, and educational use as NMA Online. Free access will be provided on the Internet at http://dme.mozarteum.at/. The music pages are linked with the scans of the NMA’s critical reports. Comprehensive search capabilities allow users to easily find, study, and print any of Mozart’s works as PDF files. The NMA Online is the first extensive, up-to-date complete works edition that is available to everybody at no charge.

This is a wonderful resource, if rather slow because of the huge interest it has provoked. But that's a detail: this is the open future, and it's coming.

4 comments:

Taran Rampersad said...

Man... good find. Mozart.

The trouble, of course, is that there's little being added to the public domain because of the Bono Copyright act.

glyn moody said...

True: but we're all working on that, aren't we...?

Geoff said...

Don't get me wrong, the fact that such a large and scholarly corpus is available at all is a good step forward, but unfortunately it's restricted use, only for personal and educational use. That is, if I want to make an arrangement of one of the pieces, I have to use a different source, which is a pity.

glyn moody said...

Perfect, it ain't, but it's more than we had before. And then there's the little matter of Beethoven's works, Bach's works.....