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A typology of music information for studies on information seeking

Antti Mikael Rousi (University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland)
Reijo Savolainen (University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland)
Pertti Vakkari (University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland)

Journal of Documentation

ISSN: 0022-0418

Article publication date: 14 March 2016




A need to renew music-related information notions arises from both information-seeking models and literature of musical semiotics. The purpose of this paper is to create a music information typology, which aims at facilitating the examination of music information types at varying levels of abstraction in the context of information seeking.


Literature of musical semiotics and information seeking are juxtaposed to develop a novel approach to music-related information. The grounding concepts are Bruner’s enactive, iconic and symbolic modes of representation. The modes of representation offer a universal scheme of knowledge that is applied to the domain of music by defining their content through Tarasti’s Theory of Musical Semiotics.


This conceptual paper results in a music information typology ranging from the enactive music information representations to the abstract ones as follows. Music making as the first mode of enactive representations; music listening as the second mode of enactive representations; iconic representations of music; technological models of music as the first mode of symbolic representations; and ideological models of music as the second mode of symbolic representations.


The present paper develops a music information typology that encompasses broadly different music information facets by categorizing music information sources according to their level of abstraction. When applied into empirical research, the typology opens a new window into the perceived roles of music information types in the context of information seeking.



Rousi, A.M., Savolainen, R. and Vakkari, P. (2016), "A typology of music information for studies on information seeking", Journal of Documentation, Vol. 72 No. 2, pp. 265-276.



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