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  • SN-0053 Tracking Down a Hymn

This wiki space contains archival documentation of Project Bamboo, April 2008 - March 2013.

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Tracking Down a Hymn - Open University, UK

Collection Date:  12/4/2008  (major revision 3/17/2009)

Scholar #1 Info:

  • Name:  Byron Dueck
  • Email:  B.Dueck@open.ac.uk
  • Title:  University Fellow
  • Institution/Organization:  Open University, UK
  • Field of Study/Creative Endeavor:  Music

Collector Info (can be the same as "Scholar" above):

  • Name:  Jim Muehlenberg
  • Emailmoved to restricted page
  • Title:  Assistant Director, Academic Technology
  • Institution/Organization: Univ. of Wisconsin--Madison, Division of Information Technology

Scope

TO BE COMPLETED

The scope section is provided by the collector, with input from the scholar(s), and attempts to estimate the scope of the group that performs the processes described: How broadly do the practices described in this story apply to others in same field, in related fields, etc?

  1. In the opinion of the scholar, who participates in the process the story describes?
    (e.g. "just this scholar", "many people in the scholar's field of inquiry", "all academics", etc.)
  2. What is this process intended to accomplish for the scholar?
  3. Who is the intended audience of the processes described?
  4. Is this the only process the scholar uses to accomplish his/her goals?
  5. What "shared services" would help transform the story into something of more benefit for the scholar or his/her audience?  What process or processes in the story could be automated?

Keywords

Stories

Discover, Aggregate

Story

One scholar described how he had used a combination of electronic resources -- both scholarly and 'vernacular' -- in researching a hymn. In 2003 he recorded a performance of a hymn in a coffee house by two nonprofessional singers from an Oji-Cree community in northern Canada. At the time he did not recognize the hymn, which was in Cree and had an unfamiliar melody; soon after the performance he lost track of the singers. Nevertheless he did manage to find a copy of a tape they had recorded; the tape included another version of the same hymn, and gave its English-language title.

The English-language hymn was also unfamiliar to him (and indeed not in wide circulation), and so he did a Google search to try to locate it. This led him to the Cyberhymnal Web site. The site included the English lyrics of the hymn and a MIDI version of a melody to which these lyrics were sung. Also posted was an interesting story regarding the history of the hymn. The story was unattributed, so he contacted the webmaster at the Cyberhymnal site. The webmaster referred him to the source for the story, a compendium of stories about the origins of well-loved hymns. The source was out of print, but the scholar did a search on AbeBooks and was able to locate and order a copy in order to confirm the quote for himself.

Meanwhile, having the (English) title of the hymn enabled the scholar to consult a variety of hymnals; on one hand, late-nineteenth-century hymnals containing early English language versions of the hymn; on the other, hymnals in various Cree dialects. He initially searched for these Cree hymnals at a distance, using the online categories of various university libraries. He later visited a number of these libraries to consult the various hymnals, and this allowed him to trace the indigenous publication history of the hymn. Following his search, he emailed a copy of the Cree-language lyrics of the hymn to the webmaster at the Cyberhymnal Web site, who had expressed an interest in posting them.


Notes on Methodology:

Originally gathered in outline form at Project Bamboo Workshop 1c, Paris, by a scribe and by flipchart notes; the above narrative was subsequently provided to the collector by the scholar himself.

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