In the same way that the digital transformation of an office does not finish with the use of word processors and spreadsheets but must go further, until business processes are fully automated, the massive digitalization of images carried out by libraries with music collections in Spain is only the first stage of the digital transition of the processes they carry out and the services they can offer by applying digital humanities techniques. Image files can be transmitted, copied and displayed without suffering any deterioration in each operation but they do not allow any algorithm for search, classification, or analysis to work with the musical information they contain. For this, the contents must be encoded in structured formats such as those based on XML like the Music Encoding Initiative (MEI) or MusicXML.
The alternative to the manual encoding, which comes with a great economic and human cost, is to resort to cutting-edge technology based on artificial intelligence, which performs an automated reading of musical documents. Analogous to OCR, this technology is known as Optical Music Recognition (OMR). Within the scope of this project, we focus on the development of technology based on OMR to enhance the Mensural music collections of Spanish digital libraries. The collections written in this notation are of special interest both for having a high heritage value and for being, for practical purposes, hidden in archives and libraries, and therefore unexploited until now.
The project will be developed with the transcription to digital scores of important collections written in Mensural notation from the National Library of Spain (BNE), which will serve, not only to complete the digital transition process of the sheet music section of this institution started with the digitalization of images enabling processes such as content search, sound reproduction to bring these contents closer to people who do not know how to read scores in old notation or with vision problems, but also to make the technology available to other libraries, archives, publishers, and educational institutions. This will allow new academic and business projects based on the exploitation of the extremely important Hispanic musical heritage from the 15th to the 18th centuries, which remains practically unknown.