Describing musical instruments: the Logos Foundation collection

The Logos Foundation is home to a collection of over 200 non-traditional musical instruments built by Godfried-Willem Raes. To simplify management of this collection and increase its visibility, the Foundation wanted to draw up and publish an extensive catalogue. In this practical example, you can read what information was collected about the instruments, how it was recorded, and what platforms it’s accessible on.


The Logos Foundation and its musical instrument collection

The Logos Foundation has had one main focus since it was founded in 1968: to promote and develop contemporary music and sound art in the broadest sense of the word. Its work has always concentrated on three areas – research, production and documentation – which are closely intertwined in practice. This unique interaction has resulted in a fascinating creative platform for composers, scientists, musicians, dancers and other artists.

Godfried-Willem Raes – music maker, instrument builder and co-founder of Logos – has been a pioneer since the 1970s, researching new means of expression and developing technology (interfaces) to find and produce new sounds and audio possibilities, expanding the concept of a musical instrument (the instrument as composition) and its philosophical foundations. His research into this art has resulted in a collection of approx. 220 innovative musical instruments, which he’s built up over 45 years.

The collection, which is managed by the Foundation, is very hybrid and all the experimental instruments are unique in the sense that there’s always only one example in existence. The instruments are sometimes far removed from what is traditionally referred to as a ‘musical instrument’. In terms of construction, they mix techniques from traditional instrument building with electrical/electronic and digital innovations. And because sounds are generated in different ways, some of these artistic objects are largely modular. The ways in which the instruments are played can be unconventional – with some of them controlled by the audience or using specially developed interfaces (sound, movement), for example. The same instrument also often has different appearances – audio art installations can be used in performances, or instruments and sound machines can become part of the composition. The collection therefore forms an important reflection of developments in contemporary/new music in general, and of the philosophical and (musical) aesthetic views of its creator in particular.

The Foundation’s responsibilities for the collection have for a long time been limited to its passive preservation and active use, partly by organising concerts. As is often the case with arts organisations, the actual management of the collection has always been put on a back burner. But the Foundation recently decided that it had to respond to this valuable heritage’s need for preservation, triggered by the observation that the instruments (mechanical, electrical and digital components) are very vulnerable to damage, and all the knowledge about them is in danger of becoming lost (given the age of their maker). It was time to act! Describing and documenting the instruments is a first step to optimising and safeguarding the collection’s long-term management, and this in turn can create greater visibility and support.

The Logos Foundation is home to a collection of over 200 non-traditional musical instruments built by Godfried-Willem Raes. To simplify management of this collection and increase its visibility, the Foundation wanted to draw up and publish an extensive catalogue. In this practical example, you can read what information was collected about the instruments, how it was recorded, and what platforms it’s accessible on.
Side view of the Soundtracker II instrument, built by Godfried-Willem Raes

The project

The Logos Foundation submitted an application to the Flemish Government for a two-phase project (in the context of national and international cultural heritage projects), which – as a one-off catch-up initiative – is focused on describing and documenting the collection. The application was successful for both phases, and this support from the government allowed the Foundation to recruit a part-time (80%) project employee for the entire period. The two project phases ran from 1/03/2019 until 29/02/2020 and 1/03/2020 until 28/02/2021. In the first phase, the employee focused on the electronic and electro-acoustic instruments, and the large (street) projects and sound sculptures (built between 1970 and 1995). The second phase focused on the interfaces and many musical machines (organs and automated percussion, wind and stringed instruments) and sound machines (built between 1985 and 2019).

The Brussels Musical Instruments Museum (MIM) and CEMPER were involved as permanent project partners. The project was supervised by a steering committee comprised of the project employee (Mattias Parent), the instrument builder (Godfried-Willem Raes), a representative from each of the partner organisations (Wim Verhulst – responsible for the collection of electric and electronic instruments – and Heidi Moyson) and an external expert (Maarten Quanten).

The project not only recorded and documented the musical instruments, but also ran various initiatives to increase visibility and support (e.g. involving various target audiences and contacting relevant research institutions). In this practical example, with regard to this latter aspect we focus on issues that affect the choice of data profile and platform where the project’s content results are published.


This project consisted of the following stages:

1. Gain an initial overview of the instruments

At the start of the project, there was some uncertainty about the number of musical instruments managed by the Logos Foundation. This was partly because this information was based on lists that the builder had built up gradually himself, which had not been done in a systematic way. Based on this preliminary list of instruments owned by the Foundation, we initially assumed the project would cover 120 musical instruments.

The project employee took time to review the list at the beginning of each phase, and add to it where necessary, with the aim of producing an efficient schedule. He used the collection, the instrument builder, other employees and the Foundation’s archive, and systematically checked the warehouse, cabinets and other storage places to help with this task. The result was a significantly longer list of 220 instruments.

2. Further details of instruments described and documented

Not all the instruments managed by the Logos Foundation were included in this project. The following decisions were taken in consultation with the steering committee:

  • The Foundation manages instruments built by various people (including Hugh Davies, Richard Waters, Alison Knowles, Michel Waisvisz, Richard Ierman and Moniek Darge). And – purely from a collection management perspective – it makes sense to include all of them in the project. Given the quantity and their specific place within Flemish contemporary music, we chose to start by focusing on the instruments built by Godfried-Willem Raes. We could include other instruments at a later stage if there turned out to be enough time available.
  • We applied this same principle when deciding about studio equipment and devices that clearly hadn’t been built from scratch. The decision of whether to include these items in the catalogue was determined – following consultation with the steering committee – by how much involvement the builder had in creating them.
  • The collection also includes other unusual instruments and old machines that are not unique items (purchased). The steering committee decided that these should not be included in the project.
  • Finally, the overview list also included instruments, built by Godfried-Willem Raes, which have since been lost, sold or dismantled by the builder. Nevertheless, we decided to include these as part of the project, and provide them with a description, where possible, because knowledge about these instruments would provide a greater insight into the instrument builder’s overall repertoire and the aesthetic, constructional and philosophical views that underpin his work.
  • We also discovered an instrument built by Godfried-Willem Raes that was no longer being looked after by the Logos Foundation, which we wanted to include in the catalogue. The project employee therefore went to visit the current owner for this.

3. Choose what information needs recording

We determined what data structure to use – the ‘fields’ for describing the instruments – at the start of the project. The museum sector usually advocates SPECTRUM, and the ‘Invulboek Objecten’ (Objects Book) based on SPECTRUM is considered good practice in Flanders. Specifically for the musical instruments museum sector, we note that there is no unambiguous system to follow, even though most registration systems are based on SPECTRUM in one way or another.

To maintain a good overview, we assumed a broader perspective of compiling information about the instruments that is useful in the context, among other things, of the Foundation’s wishes/needs (to manage the collection better and more efficiently) and the instruments’ specificity. We considered it necessary to include the following information:

  • Information that supports the unambiguous identification of the musical instruments: inventory number, instrument name;
  • Information about the instrument’s characteristics: physical description, dimensions and weight, inscriptions on the instrument;
  • Information about how the instrument was produced: date, builder(s), materials used, place of production, reason for production (some instruments were built for specific projects or compositions);
  • Information about the instrument’s construction and operation;
  • Information about the condition of the objects: the state of the instrument, any problems;
  • Information about the instrument’s history: both with regard to its (technical) construction and usage history.

We also considered other potentially interested target audiences here, as long as accurate definitions were possible: music historians/organologists, instrument builders and music teachers. It’s harder to determine what kind of information an ordinary enthusiast or ‘man in the street’ wants, but the Foundation hoped to also pique their interest with the diverse proposal above. Because of the non-traditional character of the instruments (in terms of both appearance and sound), we decided to include photographs and recorded footage for these target audiences.

It soon became clear, however, that we couldn’t easily translate all the information into specific description fields in a catalogue. The constructional complexity of the instruments (and consequences for managing them) makes it necessary to sustainably preserve and share constructional drawings, electrical diagrams, assembly and maintenance guidelines, operating manuals, firmware for microprocessors, descriptions of the software that is often designed specifically for the instrument, playing techniques, documentation about chips or components used, etc. It’s not easy to translate this kind of information into well-defined description fields in a catalogue, however, nor into the text used in standard description fields. We therefore had to add it in a different form as an addendum to the actual description.

The Logos Foundation is home to a collection of over 200 non-traditional musical instruments built by Godfried-Willem Raes. To simplify management of this collection and increase its visibility, the Foundation wanted to draw up and publish an extensive catalogue. In this practical example, you can read what information was collected about the instruments, how it was recorded, and what platforms it’s accessible on.
Front view of the HybrLo musical instrument, built by Godfried-Willem Raes

4. Define the registration system

In addition to these considerations, we also questioned which registration system we should use. The Logos Foundation does not have its own professional collection management system, so we had to decide:

  • Whether to record descriptions using regular MS Office software or its opensource alternatives;
  • Whether to record descriptions using Access or Filemaker database software;
  • Whether to purchase professional collection management software, such as Adlib Museum (software that is ready to use) or CollectiveAccess;
  • Whether to link it to existing catalogues or platforms.

There’s no such thing as an ideal registration system – they all have their own pros and cons. We soon gave up on the idea of professional collection management software for various reasons: cost, less user-friendly and often ‘overkill’ for organisations in the arts sector, which have neither the expertise nor the many different needs of professional heritage organisations. On the advice of our project partners, we also decided against the option of using database software.

Connecting to the Musical Instruments Museum’s collection management system was deemed a valid option, however:

  • This system satisfies applicable standards in the (international) museum sector, which offers the guarantee that the descriptions of the Logos instruments would meet these standards. The catalogue has also been adapted to the specifics of musical instruments on several fronts;
  • The Musical Instruments Museum is part of an international network of instrument museums and researchers. Pooling our knowledge of the Logos instruments with the MIM (in an active partnership) helps us reach this international network more easily;
  • The public catalogue application (Carmentis) linked to this collection management system allows you to publish a relatively large number of fields, ensuring as much information as possible can be made accessible;
  • The MIM is an active partner in the European MIMO project (Musical Instrument Museums Online), a freely accessible database of musical instruments; MIMO is a side project of Europeana. The Logos instrument descriptions can flow through to MIMO via the MIM collection management system, albeit in a reduced form (in accordance with the more limited data profile that MIMO uses). This is an alternative way of reaching a more international audience.

Because the MIM collection management system could be a suitable option, we tested the results of our decisions described in point 3 against the MIM catalogue data profile. As professional collection management software, it offers a lot of possibilities in terms of the descriptive fields we could potentially include (there are over 120 fields defined in this catalogue). We made a targeted choice based on our decisions, rewrote the information we wanted to fit into specific description fields, and double-checked the fields that would not be used in the collection management system (in other words: we critically questioned whether it was okay to not include this information). We took the conclusions from this into account in step 5.

Some of the fields in MIM’s collection management system would not be used in this project, for one of the following reasons:

  • The field in question is not relevant in the context of the Logos collection. The Musical Instruments Museum collection includes lots of objects from other cultures (e.g. African or Asian instruments). The catalogue therefore has fields that allow these cultures to be named, together with the place where they were found and their historical production site. These fields are an example of fields that are not applicable in the context of this project and collection. The same also applies for a number of more administrative fields, such as the object’s (financial) value or benefactor;
  • The relevant field should contain information that the Foundation documents differently. The Logos Foundation often loans out instruments for concerts or exhibitions as part of its artistic work, and details about this (who is the lender, for what period, transportation agreements, insurance, etc.) are documented and archived through other channels. This information also needs to be included in the catalogue;
  • Feasibility within the anticipated project time (as requested in the grant application): the MIM catalogue has a number of fields for specifying an object’s optimal storage conditions, and even though this information is not irrelevant to the Logos Foundation collection, its specification requires extensive technical research, which could not be achieved in the time available. There is also little point including this information if the precise requirements are difficult or impossible to replicate. It’s difficult for us to impose the same climatic requirements for an arts organisation’s storage space as for a professional heritage institution’s repositories.

Despite the fact that MIM’s collection management system satisfies a number of pertinent needs and wishes, we didn’t resolutely opt for this one system in this project. The main reasons for this are:

  • The MIM catalogue is only directly accessible for the museum employees. Creating extra access for Logos employees from their own offices is not technically impossible, but it would require a financial commitment that cannot be guaranteed (related to providing extra licences, installing and maintaining the client at Logos, adapting catalogue access rights, etc.) It’s also important that the Logos Foundation can continue its day-to-day collection management activities independently from the MIM. For example, do employees rely on this federal institution’s IT department if there’s a problem with the connection to the catalogue? We would also need to make many further agreements about this continued support.
  • Even though the public catalogue from the Koninklijke Musea voor Kunst en Geschiedenis (Art & History Museum), which is affiliated with the MIM, makes a relatively large amount of metadata public, Carmentis does not fully meet the needs of all the target groups that the Logos Foundation wants to reach with this project and the collection itself:
    • Carmentis can only make photograph files accessible, which is a problem for all the accompanying documentation in the form of design drawings, circuit diagrams, etc. that we want to provide. People who consult the collection from a technical music perspective (e.g. instrument makers) will therefore not find the information they want;
    • Carmentis is not very accessible. It is unclear, for example, how part-time teachers in art education could use this catalogue to prepare lessons. This is caused not just by the complexity of Carmentis, but also of the collection.

We therefore opted for a mixed system, with the project employee first drawing up the descriptions using regular office software. This has the advantage that the data profile is not linked to a pre-imposed structure and can be kept compact (without a surplus of fields that wouldn’t be used anyway). The descriptions can then flow into the Musical Instruments Museum catalogue from there.

In combination with the MIM’s tools, we chose to develop a separate project website in parallel. We benefited from this as follows:

  • We can make all documentation accessible to the public as part of the description via the website;
  • The collection is made accessible to target audiences of non-experts (e.g. art teachers from the Municipal Academy Bruges DKO) in a different way, by experimenting with an alternative system of keywords on the website. Discovering alternative connections between the instruments is central to this;
  • Carmentis offers the possibility to click and browse freely between instruments via the underlying standard terminologies (thesauri). As a user, you can quickly find similar objects for a certain instrument via the object name, instrument classification code, maker, date or materials used. Some of these methods are less relevant in the context of the Logos collection (the builder – because all the same; materials – because almost every instrument is an inextricable combination of materials). To offer greater accessibility, we felt we needed a keyword system that makes it possible to search the instruments more intuitively. This system, implemented in the project website, is achieved in two ways.
    • Presenting the Hornbostel-Sachs musical instrument classification system in a different way, suitable for an audience not educated in the science of musical instruments and their classification. For example, the Optokraak is classified as ‘533.11 Analogue modules: audio signal generators’ in the Hornbostel-Sachs system, and can be indicated as ‘electronic’ and ‘synthesizer’ in the alternative classification system. The Bourdonola (‘514 Electro-acoustic aerophones’ according to Hornbostel-Sachs) may simply be a ‘music robot’ because of the principle of an ‘organ’ using ‘midi’.
    • Terms that aren’t normally associated with musical instruments can also be added through this alternative keyword system, which may generate more interest. Examples of this include terms such as ‘touchpoints’, ‘sonar’ and ‘tobacco tin’.

A tagging system like this offers an alternative way of accessing the instruments’ complexity, which in turn can create unexpected links. We believe that using language which non-experts can understand is a bonus for general public use here.

5. Establish the data structure

Taking the concerns expressed in the previous points into account, we established the following data profile. We look at how these fields are used in practice in the following section.

  • Inventory number
  • Object name
  • Name/title of the instrument
  • Classification (Hornbostel-Sachs)
  • Sub-collection
  • Name of manager/owner
  • Production (creator)
  • Geography (place of production)
  • Date
  • Description of the instrument
  • Inscriptions
  • Structure of the instrument/installation
  • History of the instrument
  • Method for playing, repertoire and use in productions
  • Dimensions and weight
  • Condition of the instrument
  • Problems
  • Summary
  • Keywords
    • Tags
    • Categories

Apart from the summary and keywords (which are only used on the project website), all the information was forwarded to the MIM collection management system, although Carmentis does not publish all fields. Conversely, there are also three fields that aren’t published on the project website – object name, name of manager/owner and geographical place of production – as they don’t add any value in this context.

The Logos Foundation is home to a collection of over 200 non-traditional musical instruments built by Godfried-Willem Raes. To simplify management of this collection and increase its visibility, the Foundation wanted to draw up and publish an extensive catalogue. In this practical example, you can read what information was collected about the instruments, how it was recorded, and what platforms it’s accessible on.
Side view drawing of the Toetkuip, a musical instrument built by Godfried-Willem Raes

6. The registration and documentation process

Points 1 to 5 above do not reflect a linear process. Indeed, the partners passed ideas back and forth – with insights for one question leading to new insights on another. This process began before the start of the project and continued afterwards in consultation with the project coordinator. We were able to make the necessary decisions about the data profile, registration software and relationship with the public platforms during the first month. We then re-evaluated the data profile at the start of the second phase. Once decisions had been made, the project employee got started with describing and documenting the many instruments. He did this in phases (by type of instrument) as described in the project applications. The following steps were undertaken for each instrument:

  • Extensive study of the instrument itself;
  • Search for archival items (in the Logos archive) related to the instrument in question (both paper documents and audio(visual) clips);
  • Digitise existing archival items to add to the description as extra documentation;
  • Draw up new documentation relating to the operation, etc. of the instrument, where necessary;
  • Ask questions to the builder, Godfried-Willem Raes, and process them;
  • Draw up the actual description based on the information obtained;
  • Document the instrument using photos, videos (in batches);
  • Forward the descriptions to the MIM (in batches).

The data profile fields were filled in as follows:

Inventory number: We followed the MIM’s rules for allocating inventory numbers. These inventory numbers therefore always consists of the prefix ‘LOGOS’ followed by the year of construction. After the year of construction, there’s a decimal point followed by a 2-digit serial number for that year, which therefore depends on how many instruments have already been created that year. For example: beltelefoon has the catalogue number LOGOS 1975.02. This means it was the second instrument in the Logos collection to be built in 1975.

Object name: Allocated on the basis of the thesaurus used by the MIM.

Name/title of the instrument: The actual name assigned to the instrument by the builder, or the type name. If instruments have the same name but are distinguishable from each other, they’re described as separate objects.

Classification: The classification is based on the latest revision of the Hornbostel-Sachs system, which is the internationally recognised standard for classifying musical instruments. The steering committee looked for solutions for any instruments that did not find an unambiguous place in that system, and a sixth category (‘experimental sound sculpture’) was added to the five existing categories. This is where sound sculptures and interactive musical events are classified. Modular musical instruments are also added to this category. If several ‘traditional’ categories (codes) apply for an instrument, they are added or combined with a brief description. Some examples:

  • Piperola is an automatic organ with automated Turkish percussion (has both membranophones and idiophones). It is classified as follows: 6: 511 + 512 + 514
  • Wolkenrijder is a musical sound sculpture that uses the sound of engines, spinning wheels and a flapping tongue. It is classified as follows: 6: 514 + external factors (engines and spinning wheels)

Sub-collection: Intended to indicate – within the MIM collection – that this is an instrument from the Logos Foundation Collection.

Name of manager/owner: This is Logos in all cases. Again, this is field is mainly important in the context of including these descriptions in the MIM catalogue.

Production (creator): The builders, employees and any companies or advisers are stated here.

Geography (place of production): Is the same for all instruments, i.e. Ghent.

Date: The date is based on the year in which the instrument – or its first version – was completed. If the actual construction started earlier, this is added to the ‘history’ field where other more detailed information regarding the date, versions and adaptation is also recorded. The year of construction is also used on the project website as a means for filtering the instruments in the collection.

Description of the instrument: The instrument is described as an object in its present condition. The physical construction, materials used, design, position of the components and their operation are addressed, and any modifications and changes are documented in the instrument’s history.

Inscriptions: The inscriptions on the instrument are summarised.

Structure of the instrument/installation: Practical and technical information is provided here – to explain how the instrument is assembled, which cables need to be connected where, and what needs to be done before starting and/or maintaining.

History of the instrument: Many instruments have a long history. We can distinguish five versions of the Autosax, for example. This musical robot has changed significantly over the years as a result of experiments in sound generation. All these versions and other modifications are listed and dated as precisely as possible in the history.

Method for playing, repertoire and use in productions: The method for playing the instrument is described in more detail here – some of these methods for playing some of the instruments in the collection are not at all self-evident. The repertoire and any specific uses in productions are also indicated.

Dimensions and weight: The dimensions are based on the instrument being positioned in an imaginary cube. The weight is given in kilogrammes.

Condition of the instrument: The condition of the instrument was assessed. Some instruments or their components are not in working condition.

Problems: Any problems that have not been included in the fields above are summarised here.

Summary: This is a brief description of the instrument and its operation, which serves as introductory text on the project website’s overview page.

Keywords: These are only displayed on the project website, which includes two systems that allow the collection to be searched and filtered more intuitively:

  • Categories: We distinguish seven categories for the instruments in this collection: acoustic, digital, electro-acoustic, electronic, musical event, sound sculpture and musical robot. The nature of the instruments means a single instrument can belong to multiple distinct categories.
  • Tags: free to choose, low-threshold keywords describing the instrument, its operation or components in human language. Examples include ‘trumpet’, ‘plucking’ and ‘acceleration sensor’.

Existing documentation from the Logos archive – in the form of construction plans, circuit diagrams, etc. – was used here if available. This information was of course first checked and tested again the current condition and operation of the instrument. If the information was up to date, the documents were scanned in and added to the description as an appendix. This information was not available for some instruments and so the project coordinator had to create it. He focused on the information that is necessary to guarantee to the proper operation of the instrument for this (e.g. circuit diagrams). It was decided in consultation with the steering committee not to buy any special software for creating these diagrams. There were 24 photography sessions during the project. The project coordinator asked the project partners in advance about guidelines and good practices for this, including file format, background, light exposure, ratio of whole photos to detailed photos, etc. The necessary agreements were made and the photos were taken using professional equipment; Logos employee Kristof Lauwers assisted the project coordinator here. After each session, the photos were digitally processed to prepare them for publication. Additional film and audio content was also created; again, the necessary agreements were made for this. The limited project time did not allow for a systematic approach, however. But gaps will be further filled as part of the day-to-day artistic work carried out by Logos. For example, the Foundation organised a number of streaming concerts in 2020 which showcased certain instruments from the collection. Each concert was preceded by an explanation of the instrument’s construction and history. The videos of these concerts have been added to the project website. The descriptions and documentation were provided to the MIM once all the information had been collected. Their employees then ensured that all the information was entered in their collection management system and made accessible via Carmentis.

The Logos Foundation is home to a collection of over 200 non-traditional musical instruments built by Godfried-Willem Raes. To simplify management of this collection and increase its visibility, the Foundation wanted to draw up and publish an extensive catalogue. In this practical example, you can read what information was collected about the instruments, how it was recorded, and what platforms it’s accessible on.
The circuit diagram for the digital interface "An ear for", built by Godfried-Willem Raes.

We were confronted with a specific problem for this type of instrument during the cataloguing process, i.e. is a description per instrument sufficient, or should there be a description per ‘component’? This would involve reducing the instruments to their various constituent components. A comparison with more traditional mechanical instruments can quickly clarify this: do you describe a mechanical organ as one instrument, or do you give the various – often complete – partial instruments that it's built from (saxophone, drum, accordion, etc.) a separate description? It’s a problem that the Jef Ghysels Collection manager had also faced, and one which we sought her advice about. Because of the Logos instruments’ hybridism, modularity and larger proportion of innovative electronic and digital components, this problem is situated in a slightly different area: an instrument’s constituent components are not clearly distinguishable traditional instruments, but rather a fusion of musical instruments, composition, performance and other ‘data’ – often still in a loosely connected relationship. The project coordinator conducted a case study on the HEX tool to identify these issues. We addressed this topic at length in the steering committee, but unfortunately didn’t find a satisfactory solution. Among other things, we lack clear, internationally accepted definitions of the terms ‘musical instrument’, ‘composition’ and ‘performance’, as well as a correct delineation of ‘data’ (which could be a doctoral research subject in itself). The instruments – and their various constituent components – are therefore described as a whole.

The Logos Foundation is home to a collection of over 200 non-traditional musical instruments built by Godfried-Willem Raes. To simplify management of this collection and increase its visibility, the Foundation wanted to draw up and publish an extensive catalogue. In this practical example, you can read what information was collected about the instruments, how it was recorded, and what platforms it’s accessible on.
Godfried-Willem Raes and Moniek Darge check the configuration of the HEX musical instrument

Following consultation with the steering committee, we decided to describe certain instruments as a group, e.g. Howling Hometrainers and Pneumafoon. This latter instrument has 20 separate sound sculptures that use large air cushions to produce sounds. The former instrument is formed using (max. 12) exercise bikes. Even though the movement from each of the exercise bikes is converted into sound individually, the idea behind this instrument is only achieved when they are played as an ensemble. The instrument is therefore conceived as an ensemble, just like Pneumafoon. Not every sound sculpture or exercise bike is therefore included as a separate instrument in the catalogue in these cases.

Results and points for attention

  • In the planned project period (2 years, 80% FTE), we described and documented 200 musical instruments at item level in a scientifically accountable way. Information that cannot be recorded in catalogue form (structured fields) is added as additional documentation. The descriptive records and documentation are linked together. Standards relating to data profiles – such as those used in the heritage sector – should not be adopted blindly, but rather interpreted according to your own needs and wishes. It’s important to be aware of this and allow enough time to determine what the desired result should be, because some decisions cannot always be easily reversed.
  • The instruments were recorded on a separate project website and in the Musical Instruments Museum catalogue. This means that the information must be maintained and kept up to date in multiple places, and requires the necessary agreements, in this case with the MIM.
  • Several employees from the Foundation were involved in the various parts of this project at different times (describing, photographing, filming, building the project website, etc.) The organisation is sharing knowledge about methods and tools, which is important for the long-term management of the instruments and project outcomes. All employees can find all the information they need about the instruments quickly and easily.
  • Godfried-Willem Raes is still building instruments, so the Logos Foundation collection of musical instruments is still growing in that respect. This retroactive project has given significant impetus to a good working method and tools to update the instruments’ registration. New instruments can now be quickly registered and documented as part of the Foundation’s day-to-day work. The necessary agreements have been made with the MIM for this.
  • The available information helps the organisation to manage the instruments. Even though some instruments have been lost, a number of new ones have also ‘resurfaced’. The information gathered gives the Foundation a better insight into the composition of its collection and each instrument’s needs, and will help the Foundation to take rational decisions for the day-to-day management, preservation, restoration, insurance, loaning to third parties (in this sense the project results also support the Foundation’s artistic work), etc. in the future. The Foundation can use the results to further develop its vision for the instruments, as working instruments and as heritage.
  • This project purposefully paid no attention to a (cultural-historical) valuation of the instruments. However, a valuation process for these instruments will be set up in collaboration with CEMPER in the course of 2021. We strongly believe that this process – in which we want to involve various stakeholders – will deliver further insights.
  • The collection is being made accessible via two platforms: Carmentis (the public catalogue from the Koninklijke Musea for Kunst en Geschiedenis – Art & History Museum – which is affiliated with the MIM) and a separate project website. This ensures the information that is made public is passed on to various target groups: research, education, instrument builders (in training). The information provided can be aligned to the target group’s needs.

Author: Heidi Moyson (CEMPER)

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