When Resources of American Music History (RAMH) was published in 1981, it was widely hailed as a landmark work that contributed significantly to forwarding studies in American music. In the almost forty years since, though, the number of archival collections and heritage sites has multiplied around the country. On-line finding aids have made many of these more readily discoverable, and any number of websites have attempted to consolidate information.
However, most of these either focus on a particular genre, geographical area, or musician, or they incorporate many non-musical resources. Moreover, hundreds of smaller collections still have no on-line finding aids or other means to bring them to the attention of researchers.
Multiple meetings and discussions among musicologists and music librarians over the years have made it clear that some version of RAMH for the digital age would be of immeasurable use for scholars studying American music. Yet to date no comprehensive, practical model has been proposed to fill the void.
I have spent the past year compiling data on collections in my state. Now mid-way through the project, I have so far located well over a hundred collections, sites, or resources not listed in the original RAMH. While not all of these may have immediate use for scholars, many can identify local individual collectors or enthusiasts with knowledge or materials found in any traditional lbrary/archive collection. Although I am still collecting data and have not yet finalized the format I will use to publish this data, I believe the experience has given me some insights that could be of use to music librarians and researchers who may be interested in collaborating toward a new on-line RAMH for the next generation of scholars.