The Networked Environment for Music Analysis (NEMA) project is a multinational, multidisciplinary cyberinfrastructure project for music information processing that builds upon and extends the music information retrieval research being conducted by the International Music Information Retrieval Systems Evaluation Laboratory (IMIRSEL) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). NEMA brings together the collective projects and the associated tools of six world leaders in the domains of music information retrieval (MIR), computational musicology (CM) and e-humanities research. NEMA provides an open and extensible webservice-based resource framework that facilitates the integration of music data and analytic/evaluative tools that can be used by the global MIR and CM research and education communities on a basis independent of time or location. To help achieve this goal, the NEMA team is working co-operatively with the UIUC-based, Mellon-funded, Software Environment for the Advancement of Scholarly Research (SEASR) project to exploit SEASR’s expertise and technologies in the domains of data mining and webservice-based resource framework development.
Shown in the diagram below is the current architecture of the NEMA system. Click on it for a larger view. An in depth description of the NEMA architecture can be found here.
The NEMA project was inspired by the lessons learned over the course of the Mellon-funded Music Information Retrieval/Music Digital Library Evaluation Project (2003-2007) led by Prof. J. Stephen Downie and his IMIRSEL team at UIUC's Graduate School of Library and Information Science (GSLIS). Downie’s experience in running the annual Music Information Retrieval Evaluation eXchange (MIREX) on behalf of the MIR community has brought to the fore three important issues that have a direct impact on the present NEMA project. The automation, distribution and integration of MIR and CM research tool development, evaluation and use are but some of the important issues being addressed under the NEMA rubric.
NEMA Phase I offers the promise of a new and expanded MIR/CM research paradigm. Under this new paradigm, it should become possible for MIR/CM researchers to overcome limitations of time-specific and location-specific resources. In the new NEMA reality, for example, it should become commonplace for researchers at Lab A to build a virtual collection from Library B and Lab C, acquire the necessary ground-truth from Lab D, incorporate a feature extractor from Lab E, amalgamate the extracted features with those provided by Lab F, build a set of models based on a pair of classifiers from Labs G and H and then validate the results against another virtual collection taken from Lab I and Library J. Once completed, the results and newly created features sets would be, in turn, made available for others to build upon.
- Resource accessibility. For example, new means to provide access to good ground-truth sets, to broad-based music collections, to feature sets, and to pre-built models, etc. must be found.
- Resource discovery. For example, new discovery tools are needed so that individual items or resource subsets might be put to use.
- Resource sharing/re-use. For example, new standards for ground-truth and feature sets must be developed to facilitate their re-use.
- Resource customization. For example, new ways need to be developed to help researchers amalgamate aspects of independently produced feature sets to create novel feature sets.