Study Group on Access to Performance Ephemera

The Study Group on Access to Performance Ephemera is overseen by the Bibliography Section.

Terms of reference

The various types of document produced to accompany musical performances, such as concert programmes, posters and tickets, are primary sources of information for historical and musicological research. Their importance has been highlighted by the increasing prominence of reception studies and histories of performance in musical scholarship. They also have a wider significance for understanding the social and cultural significance of concert activity, the activities of amateur and professional musicians, and the history of choirs and orchestras. The improvement of access to performance ephemera is an important strand in the provision of the necessary resources, and IAML is in a position to offer a forum in which scholars and library professionals can exchange views and explore new strategies. The Study Group will: review developments and new (mainly online) resources; exchange information about new IT and bibliographic strategies; promote ways to maximise the impact of relevant datasets and digital resources; and explore innovative methods to curate and interpret data employing a range of Digital Humanities techniques, such as crowdsourcing and text mining, in order to release the full wealth of information embedded in collections of performance ephemera. The work of this Study Group is overseen by the Bibliography Section.

The Study Group will provide a forum for discussion of strategies to encourage the improvement of access to performance ephemera (including programmes, posters, flyers, and tickets) both nationally and internationally, and where appropriate to develop common approaches and/or standards.

The group was originally formed at the IAML Conference in Tallinn in 2003, following informal discussions at the Berkeley conference the previous year, with the title ‘IAML Working Group on the Indexing of Musical Performances’. Minutes of the group’s annual meetings from 2003 to 2008 are available below. In 2017, it became a Study Group.

In 2005 it was decided to revise the group’s title to embrace different approaches in providing access to relevant material at both item and collection levels.

The results of a census of programme holdings in selected institutions in various countries may be found here:

Other helpful links:


2017 - 2023:

Chair: Katharine Hogg

Past officers: 

2014 - 2017:
Paul Banks, UK (chair)

2011 - 2014:
Paul Banks, UK (chair)

2008 - 2011:
Rupert Ridgewell, UK (chair)


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