IMSLP, commonly called the Petrucci Library after the Italian sheet music printer Ottaviano Petrucci, has over 210,000 scores and 20,000 recordings. The Library is a wiki searchable by composer, nationality, genre, and more. But the Library is more than a collection of music: the IMSLP Journal and Forums are digital meeting places for musicians and music lovers to share ideas and collaborate on projects.
IMSLP works hard to follow all copyright regulations, as The New York Times reported last year, though this is difficult given that different countries have different rules. Volunteers help check for copyright violations. Considering signing up to become an IMSLP contributor yourself and help keep the project going!
Through the publishing house Octavo, the Rare Book Room currently has over 400 digitized books available to read online. Many of the books are beautiful examples of the histories of print design, typography, and illustration.
You can search by subject such as literature (where you will find Shakespeare’s work), graphic arts (including a work by Bodoni), music (mostly Beethoven and Mozart), or photography (the Pennsylvania Railroad Photographs from the 1870s are here).
Many of the libraries that hold the original materials are right here in Philadelphia! In the drop-down menu for Find by Library, check out The American Antiquarian Society, The American Philosophical Society, the Ewell Sale Stewart Library of the Academy of Natural Sciences, The Historical Society of Pennsylvania, The Library Company of Philadelphia, the Rosenbach Museum & Library, and the University of Pennsylvania Library.
Please note that you will have to allow pop-ups on your web browser to use the site.
The Consortium allows you to browse all of these collections at once. Search by collection, composer or lyricist, or subject. Almost everything in the Consortium is accessible for viewing. You can limit your search option to “digitized content only” to only view what is available online.
The Consortium also gives you the option to drag records into a virtual personal collection and then save or email the records.