The “wiki” structure which was pioneered in the major encyclopedia, Wikipedia, makes it easy to navigate to any category covered by the Knowledge Base through its structural classification. Articles also have different information content as shown under the second heading below, basically being statistically or verbally descriptive, or raising issues associated with particular sections of the music sector.
Five basic categories (a basic wiki term) are each subdivided into further categories. For example, “Creation” contains the category “Live Performance” which contains “Contemporary Music Genres” which contains the genre “Jazz”.
For any topic, this is the information we would like to provide. For example, under the category “Music Creation and Performance”, take the area of jazz performance:
The key information categories are Mapping, Statistics, and Issues (including SWOTs). The aim is to cover each of these for all parts of the music sector (such as jazz used in the example). While this may happen in separate articles (descriptive; statistical; addressing issues), there is a trend towards discussing issues in an otherwise descriptive or statistical article. This is acceptable.
The aim of the Knowledge Base is to cover all activities related to the social, cultural and economic role of music in Australia. This is an ambitious objective which will ensure that the Knowledge Base will remain a work-in-progress in a changing world. The ultimate aim is expressed in the right-hand column of the graph, which for each main category of music sector activities states that the narrative and numerical descriptions for each significant activity must be completed and maintained, plus analysis of the issues facing each activity. The three main categories are:
The analysis of the music sector as a whole is a related aim. It is undertaken concurrently to support the detailed analysis focusing on the three main categories of performance, infrastructure and innovation, and because not all the detail needed there is required for the ongoing aggregate analysis. That said, the process of estimating the total contribution of the music sector remains a formidable one.
The main categories are discussed in More on the Structure below. The definition of the music sector has developed over several years. Despite its complexity, it has become possible to define a set of reasonably workable structural descriptions. Though they still invite debate and the current framework remains imperfect, the model is workable.
We show below that large gaps remain in the knowledge base, especially when the ultimate aim is to produce not just descriptions but also comprehensive statistics and identification and discussion of the key issues facing the various components of the music sector.
In its new home within The Music Trust, the Knowledge Base will continue to pursue its basic aim with some added features. These include reviews of recordings and books, and periodic reviews of investigative research and reporting throughout the Australian music sector. We will be generally open to new ideas, guided by our Advisory Council and others.
The Knowledge Base attempts to provide three basic information categories for each activity of music sector component (say, “jazz” or “tertiary music education” or “green music”)::
As discussed in the concluding section, there is still a long way to go for most activities, so the knowledge base has a fifth main information category in addition to “Mapping Music in Australia”, “Statistics”, “SWOT Analyses”, and (other) “Issues”:
Each article has been allocated to its dominant structural group (Mapping/Statistics/Issues) and marked with the icon for that group. In the interest of simplicity, only one icon is attached per article. Some articles are classified to more than one of these main structural groups, for instance when a descriptive (mapping) article also identifies and discusses issues. All major and lower-order categories are shown at the bottom of each page of the Knowledge Base. The following guidelines are used in deciding which icon to use at the top of each article:
The following paragraph and table show the most recent count of pages or articles in the Knowledge Base. There has been good progress, but the number represents only a fraction of the ultimate aim, which depends on the help of more contributors.
Currently, the knowledge base consists of 205 articles, 18 notes/gaps to fill (flagging needs for contributions on particular topics which are still missing), and 15 introductory items (Box 1). Eighty-seven articles are marked with the Mapping music in Australia icon, and another 28 combine verbal description with formal statistical content, or mapping is a subsidiary classification on other grounds. As statistical data are mapping tools in their own right, as many as 146 articles are primarily of the descriptive kind (marked with the mapping or statistics icon), with 28 more having some significant descriptive content. The number of articles with a statistical orientation increased from 38 in February 2012 (the first time this analysis was carried out), to 47 in March 2013 and 60 in early 2014. Statistical analysis remains a key objective for the Knowledge Base, with further major studies in the pipeline to help determine the short- and long-term impact of the music sector.
This is the third annual count of Knowledge Base articles. The total increased from 180 in February 2012 through 206 in March 2013 to 238 in January 2014. There were some interesting changes in the pattern of articles with the largest increases in mapping and statistics. The primary category for mapping (marked with the mapping icon) increased from 60 articles in 2012, and 71 in 2013, to 87 in 2014. Including articles where mapping was a significant major category but not the primary one, the increase was from 75 through 90 to 115. The growth in the total number of statistical articles (the second descriptive category) was shown in the previous paragraph (from 38 to 60 in two years).
The number of articles featuring issues showed a surprising turn. Articles where issues were identified as the primary major category (with an icon) were practically static at 38, plus SWOT analyses, which remained at 21. The SWOT analyses resulted from a special campaign in 2008 to generate SWOTs — a campaign which should be repeated and extended.
The surprise was that the number of issues-oriented articles remained static, but only if we count the issues icon. There was a large leap in the number of descriptive articles where issues were significant but subsidiary to either Mapping or Statistics, from 22 in both 2012 and 2013 to 53 in 2014 — they now account for the majority of all articles dealing with issues at all. This is a very desirable development suggesting that the typical Knowledge Base article may be on a path towards greater integration of description and issues identification.
Of the remaining categories in Box 1, the number of notes/gaps to fill har remained low. This is a signal to the editor to be more active in alerting potential contributors towards gaps that need filling. The number of introductory items, in contrast, increased from only four in 2012 to 10 in 2013 and 15 in 2014. This indicates improving promotion of the Knowledge Base which can be generally assessed from the Welcome page.
For full detail on how each article is categorised, please refer to the end of each article page. The details include subcategories such as individual genres, area of music sector support covered (such as music education and training), and attributes which are relevant in a particular case (such as technology). A full list of categories (and subcategories as the knowledge base operates with hierarchies) may be found through the Browsing tab at the top of each page of the Knowledge Base — complete with number of articles covered in each category. Clicking on a given category provides a list of individual articles for that category.
The ultimate aim for the music sector necessarily rests on a large number of sources and a considerable amount of estimation. The work to embrace the entire music sector started in the mid-1980s and received a boost in 2005 with the Hoegh-Guldberg and Letts report for the Statistics Working Group of the Cultural Ministers’ Council, A Statistical Framework for the Music Sector. The development of this work is explained in The Music Sector and two older articles (to be consolidated), The Value of the Music Sector and Estimating the Value of the Music Sector. There is still a long way to go.
This category has three subcategories:
The graph shows the current coverage of identified art music genres categorised as mapping, statistics, or issues/SWOTs. Ideally, all three major categories should be represented for each genre with up-to-date representative contributions. Six of the eight genres have been mapped, the exceptions being chamber music and music theatre. However, all the maps need to be updated. Thanks to the campaign in 2008 to contribute SWOT analyses, issues have been identified for six of the eight genres, but again these contributions could do with an update.
There were some significant developments in art music statistics during 2013, including a new initiative to conduct surveys of individual symphony orchestra members, and a comprehensive survey of community orchestras. There are more orchestral survey data in the pipeline, to be incorporated shortly. There is still room for improvement in the orchestral area, including analysis of the annual reports of symphony and other orchestras — the same applies to opera companies.
It is very pleasing to include the first comprehensive survey of community choirs — a pioneering effort along similar lines as the community orchestra survey mentioned in the previous paragraph.
There are now nine articles classified as Australian Indigenous Music. Six are categorised as "Mapping music in Australia", of which three also address issues and two have statistical content. Two articles are orientated towards statistics only, and there is one note inviting more contributions.
Contemporary music genres include folk music (two maps and SWOT), jazz (two maps and SWOT), and hip-hop and electronica (one descriptive map each). There are two articles categorised under computer music (not including the electronica article)
The statistical potential has been much improved for contemporary music through surveys of venues and casual musicians described in Overview of Music Statistics: Other Sources, and Casual Music Workforce. This has helped to fill an important gap in our knowledge of the Australian contemporary music scene.The "popular music" category was introduced to cover the large canvas of contemporary genres played by bands ranging from casual musicians in pubs and clubs, to international performers. Five articles are categorised under "popular music" including Casual Music Workforce which describes the statistical surveys that added so much to our knowledge. One other article addresses statistics and associated issues. The remaining ones are categorised as SWOT, mapping and issues, respectively. Despite the improved statistical base which the Knowledge Base describes, there is a need for more comprehensive analysis of contemporary popular music, concentrating on live performance as well as recording and other sections of the music industry.
The "genre" of world music (covering the spectrum of general traditional music) is represented by four articles. Two of the current articles address issues, one combines mapping and issues, and one maps a variety of music including world music. The Knowledge Base is currently being expanded to put the Australian practice of world music into a better international context.
This essential major category has eight subcategories (two of which are further subdivided as shown):
These articles already cover a wide spectrum of verbal and statistical descriptions, raising issues either formally through SWOT analysis or in other ways. This support is evidently essential and the reader is invited to delve into the structural categories listed above. A great deal has already been done to provide this information, though it is clear that many gaps remain, and that updates must continue to be made.
The last of the three basic categories reviewed in this article brings together topics in the areas of technology, information and research. These activities go beyond supplying support and infrastructure. Innovation is an important theme — basic to technological development, and to research.  It is a natural extension to include activities which mainly disseminate information — often with a considerable research element. Recently developed activities such as "green music" also add renewal to the music sector, justifying its inclusion here.
There are currently two subcategories of this major category:
The current total of 18 notes (down from 20 two years ago) is clearly not enough to invite many more contributions to fill specific gaps — more notes will have to be written, inviting others to contribute material.
The general finding is that there is a rich potential for adding to the knowledge base. This is best demonstrated by following its category structure. The above sections provide some thumbnail sketches demonstrating the potential — they do not pretend to provide a detailed complete review.
The knowledge base, in conclusion, relies importantly on advisers and contributors identifying gaps, either in the provision of descriptive material (maps), by raising issues, or by pointing to statistical sources or ways to create such sources.
Hans Hoegh-Guldberg. Initial complete version 27 February 2012. Thanks to Dick Letts for his original contribution to "Finding Your Way Around". Most recently updated 11 January 2014.