One music format that is particularly challenging is the folio score. The name comes from an old publishing term for using a full large (e.g. 25″x38″) sheet of paper, printed with four images and folded in half into a single 4-page folio, rather than printing it with more smaller images and folding it several more times before trimming it to produce a gathering of two to four folios.

Now the term is used interchangeably with “oversize,” to refer to any volume too large to fit on a standard shelf. Standard shelf spacing in a music library is usually 14″ (wider than the standard spacing for text-based books), so folio scores are generally considered to be those more than 14″ tall.

Folio scores require special shelving, not only because they are too tall to fit upright on standard shelves but also because many standard cover solutions, such as pressboard, are not rigid enough to support volumes over about 20″ in height without external support. Therefore, the two common storage solutions for folio scores are:

  • map drawers provide excellent (horizontal) support for a few scores, but lead to problems with finding scores and with support (of larger scores placed over smaller ones) when used for more than about 3 scores per drawer
  • vertical shelving works well as long as the shelf supports are placed no more than 6″ apart (4″ is ideal) and are the full height and depth of the shelf, as in the photograph above.

Although shelving is problematic, most library binders and suppliers can deal with the binding of folios up to 20″ and more in height, though there are generally surcharges, and scores over 24″ tall may require special arrangements depending on the individual binder.

Alice Carli, formats
Last updated: March 16, 2008, at 04:16 PM EDT

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