The Listening Experience Database Project: Collating the Responses of the “Ordinary Listener” to Prompt New Insights into Musical Experience

By Simon Brown, Helen Barlow, Alessandro Adamou and Mathieu d’Aquin.

Published by The International Journal of the Humanities: Annual Review

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Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: November 23, 2015 $US5.00

The Listening Experience Database (http://www.open.ac.uk/Arts/LED) is the first project to collate and interrogate a mass of historical personal experiences of listening to music. Such accounts have previously received only isolated attention because they are challenging to locate and gather en masse. An extensive body of data about the responses of “ordinary listeners” (as opposed to professional critics) thus offers new ways of approaching music-related research. The underlying information system relies on linked data, including a knowledge base that is itself a linked dataset. The data management workflow supports both systematic contributions from the project team and crowdsourced input where knowledgeability and completeness of information can be expected to vary widely. The database demonstrates the potential of a mass of data as a robust evidential base for our understanding of how music functions in society. It also contributes a large body of structured data to the global machine-readable portion of the Web that is the Linked Data Cloud. Through crowdsourcing, it taps into knowledge that exists beyond the academic world. The project not only contributes directly to the global linked data knowledge base, but also prompts new directions for anyone investigating the reception of music, including performers, teachers, social historians, musicologists, psychologists, and those working in the creative industries.

Keywords: Music and Society, Crowdsourcing, Linked Data

The International Journal of the Humanities: Annual Review, Volume 13, pp.17-32. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: November 23, 2015 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.208MB)).

Simon Brown

Research Associate, Research, Royal College of Music, London, UK

Dr. Helen Barlow

Research Associate, Music Department, The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK

Dr. Alessandro Adamou

Research Associate, Knowledge Media Institute, The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK

Dr. Mathieu d’Aquin

Research Fellow, Knowledge Media Institute, The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK