Unlocking the Wandering Minstrels’ Archive: a case study in creating a database of performances
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The Wandering Minstrels Orchestra was an orchestra of noblemen and gentlemen which gave hundreds of private 'smoking concerts' in London and charity concerts across England between 1860 and 1898. Surviving scrapbooks of photographs, press cuttings, programmes, letters and drawings relating to the Minstrels, many of them now preserved at the British Library, allow the orchestra's concert-giving history to be reconstructed in great detail. In this paper I shall set out some of the challenges faced when documenting the archive and creating a database of the orchestra's performances, looking - among other things - at issues of authority control, at the FRBR model and its usefulness or otherwise in documenting musical performances, and at the potential offered by external linked data.