The Brazilian Music Collection (BMC) Archive at The University of Akron promotes the preservation and enjoyment of Brazil's musical heritage through a liberal policy of dissemination on demand, at fees which are designed only to cover operating costs. It attempts to provide a means whereby individuals may share with other interested scholars and performers music materials, many of which are unpublished or out-of-print.
As is true with several other scholarly special collections (the Deutschea Musikgeschichtliches Archiv in Kassel; the "Stablein" microfilm archive of medieval manuscript in Erlagen) the Brazilian Music Collection often does not own original editions of the printed music in its catalog. Many of the cataloged works are photostats of original manuscripts in private hands or in private libraries in the U.S. and abroad. The reproductions were legitimately secured at one time or another by members of The University of Akron or by friends sympathetic to the organization's artistic and scholarly goals, and now are being shared in a non-profit context in conformity with the donors' wishes.
The Performing and Visual Arts Bibliographer at The University of Akron is the curator of the collection. It is recognized that the interests of scholarship in general, are sometimes at odds with the proprietary interests of the persons who own original editions of the music. Hence we pursue a course of reason, fairness, and compromise in reminding those who borrow or copy our photostats of originals located elsewhere to credit the owners of the originals whenever much credit is appropriate, and to apply to the owners for permission to publish. We will provide addresses of original owners, in order to facilitate credit where credit is due. And while recognizing the rights of owners of originals to acknowledgment and, in the case of manuscripts, to oversee publication rights, we also recognize the rights of owners of copies to share their materials, as they wish, as a means of furthering the study and performance of Brazilian music.
The Brazilian Music Collection Archive thus is a service organization, offering the musical and scholarly communities not so much a wealth of original editions in one location as a wealth of convenience. It promotes dissemination - the surest guarantee of preservation. And by its very existence, the BMC Archive proclaims that not only originals, but also photostats of rare material have genuine, if derivative, value. They are certainly worth cataloging, publicizing, preserving, and sharing.