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CNI Podcast: Tad Shull on Jazz Discography and Digital Communications

The history of jazz resonates in its recordings: they capture the act of musical creation in real time. A huge body of reference works on jazz recordings, the product of seventy years’ labor by jazz discographers, in turn documents this legacy of improvised performance. The discographies now present the field of jazz studies with an untapped source of knowledge about jazz history.

The Center for Jazz Studies at Columbia University, with funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, has begun to design and test a Web-based database application that can preserve, enhance, and provide public access to this store of data on jazz recordings. The application, J-DISC, will become available on Jazz Studies Online, an open access Web site managed by the Center, by May 2012. J-DISC will enable researchers, educators, and students to mine a wealth of existing and new data for insights on improvisation, artists' careers, changes in jazz styles, the recording industry, and many other topics. In this interview, Tad Shull, editor of Jazz Studies Online at Columbia University discusses the database and the elements of collaboration and digital scholarship that are going into the effort.

This interview is provided courtesy of CNI and was recorded at their 2010 Fall Membership Meeting.  The Coalition for Networked Information (CNI) is an organization dedicated to supporting the transformative promise of networked information technology for the advancement of scholarly communication and the enrichment of intellectual productivity.  You can learn more about CNI at their web site,


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Running time: 8m 30s
File size: 3.41 MB

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