The Executive Board of the Music OCLC Users Group (MOUG) is honored to name Robert Cunningham (Boston Public Library) as the fourteenth recipient of MOUG’s Distinguished Service Award. This award was established to recognize and honor those who have made significant professional contributions to music users of OCLC. The MOUG Executive Board selects recipients based on nominations received from the membership. The award was presented to Robert at the MOUG Business Meeting in Orlando, Florida, on February 21, 2017. The Board wishes to thank Robert’s colleagues Beth Iseminger and Anne Adams for the words that follow.
Robert’s contributions to the profession of music cataloging are important and long-standing. He has brought his knowledge of music bibliographic needs, as well as his wit and humor, to his many music cataloging positions, and his contributions are greatly appreciated by all who have had the pleasure of working with him.
Robert Cunningham was the first music specialist hired by OCLC in 1979. While at OCLC, Robert helped plan annual MOUG meetings, inviting speakers, providing programs, and participating in music cataloging workshops at several MOUG meetings, in the days when MARC was new and music catalogers were figuring out how best to encode musical works in MARC. Robert encouraged Glenn Patton, then of Illinois Wesleyan University, to apply to be the second music specialist at OCLC, which Glenn did. When Robert left OCLC, his position was filled by the inimitable Jay Weitz.
Prior to OCLC, Robert was a music cataloger at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. During that time, he helped organize and present music cataloging workshops for the New England Chapter of the Music Library Association.
After working at OCLC, Robert returned to New England to become the music specialist at NELINET, the library cooperative for academic, public, school, and special libraries across New England. In this role, Robert gave music encoding workshops on scores and sound recordings to librarians from the Northeast region. To honor Robert’s contributions to the profession, NELINET renamed their annual bibliographic services conference in Robert’s name, presenting five Robert L. Cunningham Annual Bibliographic Services Conferences which continued until the company’s final conference in 2009.
In true demonstration of his dedication to and interest in the craft of music cataloging, Robert continued to catalog music after his retirement from NELINET. In the past several years, Robert has been a cataloger for the Boston Conservatory, M.I.T., and the Loeb Music Library of Harvard University. Robert is currently Music Cataloger at the Boston Public Library, where he carries on his unique devotion to the practice of music bibliographic description. Robert is also an active participant in MOUG, MLA, the New England chapter of MLA, and the New England Technical Services Librarians association.
Robert’s love of the field and his interest in current practices and future developments for music bibliographic control are exceptional and admirable, and Robert continues to be an inspiration to his colleagues.