As a guest of a meeting of the Central Council Computer Coordination Committee in the mid 1990's, Graham John presented a paper identifying the need for Compositions Database.
At that time some objectives of a Composition Database and associated software were identified as follows:-
For the Peal Compositions Committee to:
For Conductors to:
For Composers to:
For Historians to:
It is now well over 20 years since these words were written, and in that time the internet has developed enormously. There are many online collections of compositions available, and the largest, www.ringing.org, maintained by Don Morrison, contains over 14,000 compositions.
Excellent though these resources are, if one reviews the objectives above, many of them are still not met. The principal reason for this is that the compositions are stored (to all intents and purposes) in printed format, albeit available online. Since no software is available to analyse the compositions, they cannot be reproven, the musical properties compared, nor can they be tested against other methods.
New methods are being rung very frequently. Conductors would like to know which compositions in a collection will work for them, and what music would be produced. What is needed is the ability to select a method from the method library, or enter a new method place notation, and run a query that proves all suitable compositions against that method, with selection, music analysis and scoring configured to the conductor's taste. Without such software and a comprehensive database, conductors have to continue sending their requests to a composer, or undertake an often time-consuming exhaustive search for a composition using a composition generator, such as BYROC or SMC32. Even once a composition has been generated and selected, the conductor still does not know whether the composition has been previously published under someone else's name.
Another example is when a composer wants to know if a composition they have produced has already been published by someone else, perhaps for a different method. If they could input their composition and run a query to identify similar compositions from a database for inspection, they could then publish with greater confidence that it is new.
In August 2008, Graham John started developing some proof of concept software for Composition Library. This was the foundation for the Composition Library project which endeavours to address the need identified above by developing software, building up a library of compositions and providing services to method ringers. Composition Library was first made generally available in March 2016.