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Summary of Activities, 1967

Barry S. Brook, President de la Commission Mixte du RILM

Summary of Objectives and Scope, as formulated at the Warsaw Meetings of the International Association of Music Libraries. For a statement of the objectives of RILM, see Fontes artis musicae XII/2–3 (1965) 120–122; see also RILM complete Inaugural Report in Notes: Quarterly journal of the Music Library Association XXIII/3 (1967) 462–467.

The Commission Internationale Mixte du RILM was recently established under the joint sponsorship of the International Musicological Society (IMS) and the International Association of. Music Libraries (AIBM) and with the support of the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS). RILM is a computer indexed international bibliography of scholarly writings about music; it has two major aspects, current and retrospective:

Part 1. Current RILM

Will compile and publish abstracts and computer generated indexes of all scholarly writings on music published after January 1, 1967. including:

     1. Periodicals (First Priority)
          A. Scholarly musicological periodicals (including reviews)
          B. Other musical periodicals (selected articles only)
          C. Non-musical periodicals (selected articles only)
     2. Collective volumes
          A. Yearbooks
          B. Festschriften
          C. Congress reports
          D. Collections of essays, studies, etc.
     3. Individual works
          A. Books
          B. Dissertations
          C. Monographs, pamphlets, essays, reports, Introductions and Kritische Berichte to scholarly editions (Denkmäler and Gesamtausgaben).

All scholars are hereby requested to prepare abstracts, preferably although not necessarily, in English, for all of their writings published after January 1, 1967. Abstracts of periodical articles should be sent to the rédacteur of the journal. The same for Festschrift and yearbook articles. Abstracts for all other writings will be channeled through national RILM committees now being established or may be sent directly to the International center at the address below. All abstracts will bear the name of the abstractor and will be published in English with, ultimately, cross-indexing in other languages.

Part II Retrospective RILM

Will ultimately compile and publish union indexes by author, title, and where possible, key words for articles published prior to December 31, 1966. The computer will make massive cross. indexing feasible. The first order of business for the retrospective part of RILM will be the preparation of a Check List of Indexes to scholarly musical periodicals (published, manuscript, card files, etc). All information regarding existing indexes should be sent in to the address below.

Report No. 2* September 1967

It is most appropriate that the first issue of RILM Abstracts should have come into being during this fortieth anniversary of the International Musicological Society, especially while it is under the presidency of Vladimir Fédorov. It was Monsieur Fédorov who, almost twenty years ago at the Lüneburg Congress of the International Association of Music Libraries, called for an “Entente et organisation internationales pour Ie dépouillement des périodiques musicaux”. Since I first brought the idea of RILM to his attention two years ago, his help, encouragement and, on occassion, his penetrating criticism have been invaluable.

As most of you know, RILM was formally established in the summer of 1966 under the joint sponsorship of the International Musicological Society (lMS) and the International Association of Music Libraries (AIBM). It also enjoys the support of the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). The members of the Commission Mixte of RILM, as designated by’ the respective executive boards of the IMS and the AIBM in Ljubljana and Salzburg are as follows: Harald Heckmann (AIBM) and François Lesure (lMS), vice-presidents; Zofia Lissa (lMS), Israel Adler (AIBM), Clemens von Gleich (AIBM), Alexander Hyatt King (AIBM), Jan LaRue OMS), Claudio Sartori (lMS).

Although RILM will eventually hope to deal with retrospective materials, its immediate objective is to deal with current literature by compiling and publishing abstracts and computer generated indexes of all scholarly writings on music appearing after January 1, 1967. This includes: Articles and reviews published in scholarly musicological periodicals and yearbooks which are to be fully abstracted; in other music periodicals which are selectively abstracted; and in non-musical periodicals which are likewise selectively abstracted. (Reviews are given only a bibliographical citation except when they are of unusual significance.)

Articles in collective musicological volumes such as Festschriften, congress reports, collected essays or studies, etc. plus all significant articles in non-musical Festschriften, congress reports, etc.

Individually published works such as books, dissertations (doctoral and masters’, published and unpublished), monographs, pamphlets, essays, reports, bibliographies, iconographies, catalogues, introductions and critical commentaries to scholarly editions.

The first issue of RILM Abstracts has now appeared. It must be regarded as only a starting point. Its purpose is three-fold: first, to illustrate the nature and potential of an abstracting journal in music; secondly to invite all readers to examine its contents in the light of their own needs and to send in their critical comments so that the usefulness and effectiveness of the journal may be enhanced; third, to persuade all authors of the need to prepare abstracts of all of their significant writings on music published after January 1, 1967.

The author abstract, it should be added, is the essential first step of the project. Abstract forms in six languages are available on request from the International Center (Queens College, Flushing, NY 11367) or from the chairman of your National RILM Committees.

RILM Abstracts illustrates the first of the three levels of RILM’s usefulness, namely, perusal (dépouillement, durchlesen) of an abstract journal in music giving the reader a quick survey of all the significant literature that has appeared in the four months prior to publication and containing detailed author and subject indexes. RILM’s second level involves an annual cumulative index plus later five-year indexes, specialized bibliographies of all kinds, and indexes prepared for individual journals of their own contents. The third level would involve specialized searches of the complete data, stored in data cells and linked to similar computer storage cells prepared for other humanistic disciplines. This inter-disciplinary search is the principal objective of the American Council of Learned Societies’ bibliographical center now in its planning stage. RILM has been designated by the ACLS as the pilot study for this long-range project.

During these two weeks of international conferences, there have been three meetings devoted to RILM; one in Salzburg and two in Ljubljana. As of September 8th, when Finland, Ireland and Portugal officially joined in the project, RILM was represented by National Committees in 36 countries on 6 continents. Reports by national chairmen in most of these countries indicate good progress. Agreement was reached on what kinds of items to include and exclude, on the principle of channeling abstracts, in most cases, through the national committee in each country, and on the method of transliteration from Cyrillic and other alphabets into roman letters. (These and other decisions are reported in detail below.)

There is widespread acceptance of the view that the objectives of RILM must be realized if we are not to be inundated by an unorganized mass of musicological documents. It is a fact that the quantity of scholarly literature in most disciplines doubles every fifteen years. In musicology, because of its relative youth, the rate of increase is probably even greater.

The value and success of RILM will depend largely on its completeness-on how closely it approaches its visionary goal of total coverage of the important world literature in musicology. Its success depends therefore, not on its Commission Mixte, its national chairmen and national committees, nor on its computer which stands ready to perform a variety of miracles but indeed, on every single one of us, on our willingness to assume the obligation, now and henceforth, to prepare abstracts of all of our significant writings on music published after January 1, 1967. The keyword is cooperation.

* Prepared from reports given at the final session of the AIBM Annual Meeting in Salzburg,August 29, 1967, and the General Assembly of the IMS Tenth Congress in Ljubljana, September 8, 1967.

1st Meeting of the Commission Mixte (Ljubljana, September 7, 1967)
prepared by Nanna Schiødt, European Secretary for RILM

At a meeting of the members of the Commission Mixte (or their representatives), to which chairmen of National Committees and editors of periodicals were invited, the following decisions and clarifications were arrived at regarding the procedures and functioning of RILM. Where appropriate, summaries of discussions at prior RILM meetings in Salzburg and Ljubljana have also been included.

It was agreed that abstracts of all works published in a country should in general be channeled through its national committee. By this centralized method of operation each National Committee will be able to maintain full surveillance of its country’s published output and prevent duplication of effort.

The National Committee will usually decide which periodicals belong in Category I (major musicological periodicals and yearbooks to be fully abstracted) and which belong in Category II (music periodicals to be selectively abstracted). Only periodicals in these categories will be included in the list published in each issue of RILM Abstracts (Category I in roman type, Category II in italics). As Vladimir Fédorov suggested, publications belonging to Category III (non-music periodicals, selectively abstracted) are too numerous to be listed; their names will appear only if significant articles on music appear therein regularly.

In the preparation of Volume I Number 1, it was often necessary for the editorial staff to check back to the original documents, both for the verification of minor points and for the addition of key words for indexing purposes. It is deemed essential that the International Center receive, from the publisher, a copy of all Category I periodicals and yearbooks, plus a copy of all collective volumes such as Festschriften, congress reports, collections of essays, etc. Obviously, with respect to other materials, it is not possible for National Committees to send copies of all the publications they receive (secondary periodicals, books, dissertations, etc.) to the International Center. However, in the United States, at least, publishers have usually been very willing not only to send in review copies of all of their books on music to the International Center but to secure abstracts from their authors as well. A simple, written request has usually sufficed. National chairmen are therefore urged to ask publishers to send “review copies” to the International Center. When the original publications are not available in the Center, the need for careful checking by the National Committee becomes doubly important.

For major musicological periodicals and yearbooks (Category I), the editor (rédacteur) will be responsible for gathering all abstracts from their authors and for providing review citations for each issue. One effective procedure was for the periodical editor to send a copy of the Abstract Form to each author when he sends out the proofs of his article; the editor adds the pagination etc. himself, later when it becomes available. Some editors have begun to follow the example of their colleagues in the physical sciences by making it mandatory that an abstract be provided when the article itself is first submitted. It was emphasized that all abstracts and review citations from a specific issue of a periodical will be published at one time in RILM Abstracts, rather than piecemeal in different fascicules. If an author abstract has not been received, this will necessitate the writing of that abstract by the editor, by a National Committee member, or by a volunteer abstractor, in order that undue delay may be avoided.

When the abstracts for an issue are assembled, the editor will send them to his national chairman, or, by agreement, directly to the International Center (saving time and postage). In either case, it is essential that the International Center receive a copy of the periodical for purposes of checking and indexing. Each editor of a major periodical or yearbook is therefore requested to put the International RILM Center on its subscription list; he will, in return, receive a regular subscription to RILM Abstracts. The President pointed out that computer programs are now being written to provide, automatically, complete author and subject indexes to any journal fully abstracted in RILM. As an experiment, a computer created index for the periodical Notes is now being prepared as a by-product of the abstracts from Notes stored in machine readable form for RILM. Results of this experiment will be made available as soon as the first full year of the computer-produced index can be compared with the man-made index for the same period.

International periodicals and yearbooks, such as Acta Musicologica, Fontes Artis Musicae, Musica Disciplina, etc. will send their abstracts directly to the International Center.

Editors of Festschriften and Congress Reports are asked to proceed as do the editors of major periodicals and send their collected abstracts to their National Chairman, or by agreement, directly to the International Center. In either case, it is ‘essential that the International Center receive a copy of the volume itself. [N. B. In the case of Festschriften, Congress Reports, collections of essays, etc., not only should each article be abstracted, but the volume as a whole should be reported on a separate abstract form so that it may be cited in RILM Abstracts under classifications 15 to 18; the” abstract” in this instance would provide a brief, general description of the contents of the volumes.

The question of what to include and exclude in RILM Abstracts was discussed at length at all three meetings. The following guidelines were drawn:

General Principles

The National Committee in each country will make the primary decision regarding its own materials in keeping with the recommendations given below. The basic yardstick for inclusion remains that all too vague phrase “works of scientific significance”, During the first year of operation, it was agreed that a liberal approach was desirable and that in case of doubt, an item should be included. As the production of music literature increases, the need for greater seIectivity by RILM will become inevitable; it is hoped that the experience gained during the first year will facilitate the establishment of more precise criteria.

Specific Decisions

a) Complete coverage of major musicological periodicals, yearbooks, Festschriften, congress reports, etc. is expected by the scholarly community. Therefore all articles, reviews, correspondence, etc. in such publications must be included; only such ephemera as notices of future meetings, etc. should be omitted.

b) Reviews of books, and of scientific editions of music, appearing in our major musicological publications should usually be cited with only bibliographical information. However, when the review is of special significance and presents new material or important corrections an abstract or brief comment should be added.

Reviews appearing in non-musicological periodicals should be selectively included and similarly treated.

Reviews of contemporary music that are of obvious scholarly interest and viewpoint, such as those appearing in “Current Chronicle” of the Musical Quarterly should be included and usually with abstracts.

c) All significant articles in non-musical periodicals, Festschriften, congress reports, etc. should of course be included. One of RlLM’s major objectives is the control and indexing of such difficult-to-locate literature. Musicologists and music librarians writing on music in non-musical periodicals (and in obscure music publications as well) should be especially careful to send in abstracts and offprints (offprints should if possible be sent to the International Center as well) of such writings to their National Chairmen.

d) Doctoral dissertations in musicology, both published and unpublished, should be included. Unpublished dissertations, however, must be available for examination at a public institution (or for microfilming with the permission of the author). Abstracts of master’s and other non-doctoral dissertations should be included on a selective basis, the choice to be made by the National Committee. As with doctoral dissertations, unpublished master’s theses must be available for examination. Appropriate dissertations in related disciplines should also be reported.

e) Newspaper articles, as well as ordinary reviews of concerts, operas, recordings and music editions should be excluded except in the most unusual of cases, for example, when the subject matter is of highest significance and is not likely to appear subsequently in a scientific publication.

f) Record jackets and booklets published with record albums will be excluded except in the rarest of instances, such as a scholarly booklet accompanying a comprehensive recorded anthology of a nation’s music.

g) Teaching manuals and pedagogical articles will generally be excluded unless their scientific significance is clear.

As soon as feasible, RILM will adopt the method of transliteration from the Cyrillic (and other alphabets) recommended by the International Organization for Standardization (I.S.O.) and now being increasingly employed for scholarly purposes throughout the world. In RILM Abstracts, the author’s name and the title is first given in the original language; where necessary the name is then transliterated and the title translated into English.

For the first issue of RILM Abstracts, abbreviations have been almost totally avoided in order to achieve maximum clarity for an international readership. However, the need to save space will eventually necessitate some use of abbreviations. These will be introduced gradually and chosen logically. Among those now being planned are abbreviations for the names of the months and of the major periodicals.

In the first issue of RILM Abstracts, keywords and names used in the index were given in boldface at the end of the abstract. This practice will be discontinued. Instead, keywords and names to be indexed will be indicated in bold face within the body of the abstract. Only additional keywords will appear at the end. National chairmen and editors of periodicals, Festschriften, etc. are therefore requested, when they check through the abstracts they receive, to circle suggested index terms in pencil. This will facilitate the work of the International Center and assist in the preparation of the thesaurus of RILM indexing terms (keywords) now being developed.

Although there was some mild hysteria about the appropriateness and aesthetic qualities of the cover design, there was only praise for the layout and typography in the inside pages. The President mentioned that several minor changes were being tested to improve clarity and appearance even further.

The point was made that annual or semi-annual publication of RILM Abstracts might cut down on editorial work, and on binding and mailing costs. The President stressed, however, the importance of rapid availability of information which has been a cardinal objective of RILM since its inception and which will become even more significant as the number of productive scholars grows. Annual, or even semi-annual publication of RILM Abstracts would create an extended and self-defeating time-lag. Greater use of automation in printing and indexing techniques planned for forthcoming issues of RILM will, it is hoped, make it possible to keep both costs and time-lag down, even as the quantity of literature increases. It was agreed to follow the original plan for 1967 of three regular issues plus a fourth which would be the annual cumulative index.

Volume I/2 will include literature published during the second 4-month period of 1967 (May-August) plus items published during the first 4-month period but omitted from I/l. Deadline for the receipt of abstracts for I2 is October 15, 1967. Volume I/3 will include literature published during the last 4-month period of 1967 (September-December) plus all 1967 items previously omitted. Deadline for the receipt of abstracts for 1/3 is January 15, 1968. Volume I/4 will be the cumulative index for 1967 and will appear, according to present plans, together with I/3.

National Chairmen, periodical editors and special area editors were urged not to wait for deadlines but to send in their assembled abstracts at regular intervals. This will make possible the orderly flow of editorial work in the International Center. Chairmen and editors were further requested to report any errors found in their contributions to Volume I/l, and to subsequent issues as soon as they are received. In this way, errors will be corrected for the annual cumulative indexes. It was added that the present classification system employed in RILM Abstracts is subject to revision; suggestions will be welcomed.

Several participants suggested that examples of well-written abstracts be provided as models to National Chairmen. editors and authors. The following abstracts as published in the first issue of RILM are offered as good examples of “informative abstracts”: nos. 94, 138,177, 367 and 485. Information specialists agree that the “informative abstract” is the most valuable type of abstract for it tells you what the article actually says. However, the nature of a publication may sometimes dictate the use of the “indicative abstract” which tells you what the article includes. ( A bibliography would be the ideal example of a work that needs an “indicative abstract”). To put it in another way, the “informative abstract” summarizes the content and the “indicative abstract” lists the contents. Some examples of indicative abstracts in the first issue are nos. 76, 248 and 418. For certain publications a combination of the informative and the indicative approach is desirable.
N. B. The “Guidelines for Preparing Abstracts” printed on the reverse side of each abstract form and now available in six languages contain a brief paragraph under the heading of Styl e which describes how a good abstract should be written.

In response to the suggestion that it might be safer for National Committees to prepare all abstracts by themselves, the President pointed out that, despite all difficulties, the author is generally the best man available to write an abstract of his own work. The” author abstract” represents the essential first step in the RILM project. Indeed the success of RILM is predicated on the supposition that the majority of authors will ultimately respond to the need to prepare abstracts. Existing abstracting services (e. g. Sociological Abstracts) have found that the great majority of authors do readily respond to a request for cooperation. The fact is that musicological publications in many countries are far too numerous to be abstracted by already overworked National Committee members. Constant efforts must be made to educate scholars to prepare their own abstracts as a matter of regular procedure. Only when this procedure fails should National Committee members write the abstract themselves. A continuous educational program begun now in each country will, it is hoped, bring about a full fledged acceptance of the author abstracting principle within two years. The work of the National Committee can then be centered on the gathering and checking of the abstracts rather than on the writing of them.

All colleagues were invited to subscribe to RILM Abstracts and in particular to urge their libraries and institutions to do so.

List of Participants, Reports and New Chairmen
Ingmar Bengtsson, Sweden
Barry S. Brook, U.S.A.
Gerhard Croll, Austria
Mariangela Donà, Italy
Vladimir Fédorov, France
Ludwig Finscher, Germany (BRD)
Romeo Ghircoiasu, Roumania
Axel Helmer, Sweden
Jan La Rue, U.S.A.
Zofia Lissa, Poland
Sven Lunn, Denmark
Andrew McCredie, Australia
Konrad Niemann, Germany (DDR)
Pierluigi PetrobeIli, Italy
Nanna Schiødt, Denmark
Bogomil Starchenov, Bulgaria
Alicia Terzian, Argentina
Tassos Valavanis, Greece
Jack Westrup, Great Britain

In addition, the following National Chairmen and National Committee members participated in the two prior meetings in Salzburg and Ljubljana. (Approximately 90 persons in all attended the three meetings).

Finn Benestad, Norway
Werner Bollert, Germany (BRD)
Dragotin Cvetco, Yugoslavia
Kurt Dorfmüller, Germany (BRD)
Kurt von Fischer, Switzerland
Clemens von Gleich, Netherlands
Harald Heckmann, Germany (BRD)
Andre Jurres, Netherlands
Cari Johansson, Sweden
Donald Krummel, U.S.A.
Ivan Pethes, Hungary
Maria Prokopowicz, Poland
Hans Sittner, Austria