The scores collection will continue to suffer from the previous bad environment of the Music Building, where the collection was housed for decades. Fluctuations in heat and humidity were the chief culprits, and were extremely detrimental to the paper materials. Also, many of the older materials, and particularly those from Eastern Europe, were on highly acidic paper. Replacement and/or conservation of these materials will continue into the foreseeable future; the rate of damage to both old and newer materials is significantly lessened by the current environmental controls.
Retrospective binding of older materials has been an ongoing project and has provided a substantial improvement in the general condition of the collection. Binding procedures implemented for all new scores/parts are saving time, money and materials.
The collection has been heavily used. Improved binding and circulation procedures have helped reduce losses of newer material, but replacement of worn or missing scores and parts is a constant concern for both old and new items.
As a result of these factors, withdrawal of unusable items is important, whether due to condition or missing material. Items are replaced with the same edition if possible; if not, a variant edition may be selected. In some cases, other titles will have to be substituted within the genre or style. Donated material is often used to replace worn copies. Whole-scale replacement of some older editions of complete works and monuments may need to be considered in the future (format changes may become necessary).
Recordings have fared better than scores, although the tape used to reinforce the edges of jackets is a source of concern; that process has been improved. Donated recordings are often used to replace worn, scratched or incomplete records. There is no plan to systematically replace all the records with CDs; it is too expensive, and many records will never be re-issued. Instead, collecting complementary CDs is a priority, as well as collecting the many new recordings of standard and new works. Digitizing some recordings may become a possibility in the future. Meanwhile, the records and CDs are heavily used and replacement copies are purchased as needed and available.
De-selection for any reason other than condition is not an option in the music collection. All of the material has value as a record of performance practice, editorial practice, potential performance repertoire, and research.