COMPEL seeks to meet the needs of modern composers in three ways: by providing visibility to their work, by supporting the exchange of ideas by a robust network of connections between people and ideas, and by preserving works in their original forms for future use and study.
The first step is visibility. COMPEL is building a database of computer music and the artists who work with it, including composers, performers, technologists, musicologists, and anyone else who participates in the creation of sound-based digital art.
The next step is exchange. Rather than a static list of compositions, COMPEL aims to display the connections between composers and their inspirations, between performers and the compositions they play, the ongoing discussions about music, and everything in between. In short, COMPEL is a relational database, not just a list of people and pieces. Eventually, this will mean that researchers will be able to ask and answer complicated questions, like "how many composers working with electronics are employed at universities?" or "what instruments are most commonly used in electroacoustic pieces?"
The final step is preservation. Concert music that includes electronics is complicated to create and includes the utilization of many software and hardware components. While digital preservation is a rapidly growing field, there are no standards or "best practices" yet developed for musical objects in their original form- not recordings of performances, but the electronics themselves. COMPEL aims to develop a preservation strategy for electronic music and multimedia objects to ensure that the works created now are available for future performance and study.