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Summary of Activities, 1968

Barry S. Brook, President de la Commission Mixte du RILM
Nanna Schiødt, Recording Secretary

Report No. 3: September 1968

During the 1968 joint International Music Council/ International Association of Music Libraries congress, there were two meetings devoted to RILM, one in New York and one in Washington, D.C. All delegates received a copy of RILM Abstracts, plus three demonstration bibliographies available as direct byproducts of the RILM system and illustrating its potential (The demonstration bibliographies will be published in RILM Abstracts I/4):

1. A bibliography of a single author’s publications, with abstracts, arranged in four groups: books and pamphlets, articles, reviews, works reviewed.
2. A bibliography with abstracts of thematic catalogues reported for 1967, arranged by composer, compiler, or library. Articles relating to thematic catalogues were listed separately, alphabeticaIly by author.
3. Two sample pages of a bibliography of published and unpublished doctoral and master dissertations reported for 1967, arranged by RILM classification.

These bibliographies, and many others, can be produced automatically in the form of camera-ready pages, from data already stored in the computer; no further typesetting or proofreading is necessary.

The New York meeting on September 11th, attended by about 100 persons, was an open session at the Auditorium of the Lincoln Center Library and Museum for the Performing Arts. It was designed to acquaint those present, especially the IMC colleagues, with the nature and current state of the project. Dr. Thomas J. Condon, executive associate of the American Council of Learned Societies, described how the RILM project related to current automated bibliographic efforts in the Arts and Humanities. RILM is the pilot project for the larger ACLS interdisciplinary bibliographic network. We must avoid the errors of the natural sciences, where each discipline developed its own untransferable data processing techniques. The ACLS objective is to avoid duplication of effort in both the gathering and processing of data by, on the one hand, international cooperation in the establishment of data-banks and by, on the other, making the methods of automation compatible from one discipline and machine to another.

The President of the Commission Internationale Mixte reported on the international status of the project. Approximately 40 countries on six continents have established national RILM committees. Several new countries have recently been added to the roster. The work center for West Germany has at last been firmly established in the Staatliches Institut fur Musikforschung in Berlin. However, many countries in South America, Asia and Africa are as yet not participating; it was expected that IMC delegates, hearing about RILM for the first time, would help in the creation of national committees for their countries. The number of subscriptions has been mounting steadily; the total thus far is 700 approximately, divided equally between individual and institutional subscriptions. Bärenreiter, Kassel has been designated as distributor of RILM Abstracts in Europe.

A lively discussion and question period followed this report.

The second meeting was held in Washington on September 12th in the Woodrow Wilson room of the Library of Congress. This was a working session with 36 participants including the members of the Commission Mixte, national chairmen or their representatives, core journal editors and invited guests from countries not yet officially represented. The president opened the session with a brief progress report. He invited those present to send in corrections for the first three issues of RILM Abstracts so that these could be included in I/4 now being worked on. The forthcoming issue, I/4, will be a combined subject-author cumulative index for 1967 with the addition of several demonstration bibliographies illustrating the automatic capabilities of the system (see above). The president introduced Mr. Murray Ralph, RILM’s new associate editor and Mr. Richard Golden, computer systems analyst. Mr. Golden arranged for interested delegates to visit the computer center of the N.Y.U. Institute for Computer Research in the Humanities. The president stated that RILM had need of specialists to serve as area editors particularly in related disciplines. The area editor reports on the literature in non-musical publications; he is not concerned with works appearing in the standard musicological periodicals and festschriften, which are processed in the usual fashion, i.e. by the author sending in his abstracts to the editor of the periodical. For example, the area editor for Sociology would send in abstracts of works on music and sociology appearing in the books, periodicals, and festschriften of the Social Sciences, that is, in sources that the musicologist is not likely to see or ever hear about.

The central portion of the meeting consisted of reports from national chairmen or their representatives. The following were presented orally:

Great Britain
Mercedes de Moura Reis Pequeno
Beverley Procter
Jaroslav Jiránek
Nanna Schiødt (for Torben Schousboe)
François Lesure
Harald Heckmann
Joan Harrison
Iván Pethes
Israel Adler
Alfons Annegarn (for Clemens von Gleich)
Folke Lindberg (for Ingmar Bengtsson and Anders Lönn)
Barry S. Brook

Written communications from the following national chairmen who were unable to attend were read or summarized:

South Africa   
Pola Suarez Urtubey
Donald R. Peart
Gerhard Croll, Sibylle Dahms
Bernard Huys
Maria-Ester Grebe
Konrad Niemann
Tassos Valavanis
Senkar Sen Gupta
Emma Pirani, Luciano Petazzoni
Yosio F. Nomura
Kornel Michalowski
Maria Fernanda Cidrais Rodrigues
Hugh T. Tracey
Victor Ravizza
Grigorij Šneers on (reported by Vladimir Fédorov)
Dragotin Cvetko

Also attending and speaking briefly about how they might cooperate with RILM were IMC representatives from three countries not yet participating in the project:

Hye-Ku Lee
Elisio M. Pajaro
Mahi Ismail

The following delegates participated as members of national committees or as visitors:

Great Britian  
Helmut Kallmann, Roger Lauzon
Ladislav Mokry
Vladimir Fedorov
Klaus-Ernst Behne, Hans-Peter Reinecke, Karlheinz Schlager, Roswitha Schlager
Elizabeth M. Hart, Richard MacNutt, Alan Sopher
Otto Albrecht, Lenore Coral, Virginia Cunningham, Elisabeth H. Dietz, Vincent Duckles, Egon Kenton, Betty M. Libbey, Geraldine Ostrove, Melva Peterson, Gustave Resse, Ruth Watanabe

The concensus of the reports of the national chairmen is that steady and substantial progress in RILM work is being made in virtually all countries. During the preceding year, new national centers had been established in West Germany, Portugal and USSR. Still without national committees are Spain and most Latin-American countries. The methods whereby committees operate are varied. In countries where musicological activity is limited, small committees can get the work done without much difficulty. In countries where the output is extensive, it is usually necessary to obtain the official support of the national library, of a cultural foundation, or of the city or state government. The national center- may be established in a bibliographic institute, a national library, or a university music department. It was clear that some committees need to expand their abstract-gathering activities to include published and unpublished dissertations and especially, significant literature in non-musicological publications. Authors are becoming more familiar with the project and are increasingly willing to prepare abstracts. Editors of major periodicals (core journals), festschriften and yearbooks have, in the main, been extremely cooperative. However, journal editors and book publishers need to be reminded regularly to send in copies of their publications along with the abstracts. These copies are needed in the International Center for indepth indexing.

The final portion of the meeting was devoted to discussion. In general, the decisions made at the Salzburg and Ljublana meetings in 1967, as described in Report No.2, were reaffirmed. See Fontes XV/1 (1968) 2-9 or Notes XXIV/3 (1968) 457-66. The following points received particular attention:

1. Abstracts
The principle of the author-abstract was reinforced. It will be necessary, however, to continue the process of education for several years until, as is now the case in the natural sciences, authors learn to provide abstracts automatically and journal editors insist that abstracts accompany all articles submitted for publication. It has been shown that most authors (70°/0) respond positively to a direct request for an abstract of their published work. Instructions for the writing of a good informative abstract appear on the reverse side of the abstract form. Good examples are listed in Report No.2.

It was stated that abstracts could be somewhat shorter than they are at present. However, the abstract must be of sufficient length to summarize the content and conclusions of the original. Keywords alone are incapable of informing the reader as to whether he really needs to read the original document, since keywords alone do not indicate results and conclusions. Some articles or books lend themselves to brief descriptive or “indicative” abstracts, which give the chapter headings, so to speak, of the item. However, if a proper abstract is unobtainable, keywords are better than nothing, since the item can then at least be indexed.

It was agreed that abbreviations would be increasingly necessary to save space, but that they would be introduced gradually. On the question of whether space could be saved by eliminating translations into English of German and French titles, it was overwhelmingly felt that title translations are desirable for a 11 languages. Regarding transliteration from cyrillic and other alphabets, the recommendations of the I.S.0. are being followed although it will take some time before total adherence is achieved.

2. Subscriptions
It was pointed out that there is a shortage of articles explaining the work and purpose of RILM and that this should be corrected. After the appearance of I/4, periodical editors will be invited to write reviews of the first year’s operations. Furthermore, the International Center is prepared to print and/or mail out promotional material, special letters, etc. to mailing lists provided by the national committees. It was requested that national committees be sent a list of current subscribers in their country so that they may be in a position to improve the situation. Editors of core journals automatically receive a subscription gratis. In return, they send a copy of their periodical regularly to the International Center. (The assembled abstracts and review citations are sent first to national chairmen.) The arrangement with Bärenreiter, Kassel, to serve as European distributor for RILM should simplify things for European subscribers.

3. Printing, Indexing and Retrieval
The RILM system is being very carefully designed to print the journal, produce an index automatically, and at the same time, create a data-bank for efficient information retrieval. This has required a substantial amount of time and funds for research and computer experimentation. It will take at least another year before the system is fully automated. Already, however, the system has incorporated some of the most advanced techniques known and has developed a simple, but technologically sophisticated method of its own for error correction. The system is capable of printing, automatically, without involving further human effort or error, a limitless variety of indices and bibliographies drawn from the stored abstracts and arranged in any desired format and type-font combination. This includes, in addition to the demonstration bibliographies mentioned above, library index cards in standard size, complete subject-author index to a participating periodical, etc. After the appearance of I/4, we will have an open-ended, working thesaurus of subject-index terms. A committee of librarians and indexing specialists (including members of the IAML International Commission on Classification) will be invited to advise the editors on how the thesaurus may be made as useful and effective as possible.