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Summary of Activities, 1970

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

Report No. 5: Leipzig, 1970

Three sessions were devoted to RILM at the 1970 Leipzig AIBM session. One was a general meeting (June 12th) and two were in conjunction with the cataloguing commission (June 13th and 14th). About 60 delegates attended from 19 different countries.

At the general meeting, the president of Commission Internationale Mixte reported as follows:

1. The international RILM center is functioning much more efficiently in its new quarters in the City University of New York Graduate Center. There is additional personnel since the last report, as well as a magnetic tape typewriter on which abstracts can be typed directly into the computer.

2. Both England and Bulgaria have established working RILM committees. There are now 40 active national committees.

3. Issue II/3 has appeared and was distributed on the last day of the meeting (due to postal delay). The 1968 index issue (II/4) is being processed in the computer. The 1969 issues III/1 and 2 will be combined in one double issue in order to speed up production and make RILM more current. This is expected to go to the printer in a few months. The computer programming for the next phase of the project’s development is being completed and will be applied to II/4 in part and to III/3 in full. Mr. Richard Golden, our computer specialist, now has two assistants to help him perfect the complex programming required. The RILM system has engendered a good deal of, interest from other disciplines which are planning to use its techniques. Documentalists from the Library of Congress and several of the physical sciences have been consulting with Mr. Golden about some of the very novel aspects of the RILM system.

4. RILM is fortunate to have funds with which to continue operations for the next year-and-a half from the National Endowment for the Humanities, but subscriptions must increase to make it self-sustaining after that. There are now almost 1200 subscriptions (including those handled by Bärenreiter) and they are about 50 % individual and 50 % institutional. This represents more than three times the number of 1967 subscribers. The goal is to have 4,000 subscribers by 1973, and every effort must be made to publicize RlLM to institutions and libraries in each country.

Reports from National Committees

Twenty national chairmen were heard from either in person or in summaries of written reports. The general impression is one of greater appreciation and understanding of the project, a decided increase in author abstracting and the participation of journal editors in gathering abstracts and disseminating information about RILM. The following are typical quotations from the reports received:

Hungary (Pethes): “The Hungarian RILM committee has had some difficulties in the last sixteen months. This year difficulties seem to be over. Edition Musica, which could not send in abstracts for a year, sent them two weeks ago retrospectively. Similarly the recently established Music Librarian Section of the Association of Hungarian Librarians underwent favorable change. At the same time I have much pleasure in informing you that we started an appeal for subscription to RILM Abstracts among music libraries and hope to have the possibility to report at the next conference that the situation in Hungary has been improved.”

Sweden (Bengtsson; Lönn): “The Swedish National Committee has moved its centre of operations with the Swedish Music History Archive to new and larger quarters; working conditions have thus improved considerably. Costs are moderate, and covered by an annual grant from the Swedish Humanistic Research council. Since the time of the Amsterdam meetings, the Swedish committee has delivered ca. 90 abstracts of 1968 and 1969 material to the International Center.”

France (Lesure): « L’organisation du RILM en France a continué d’être assurée par le Département de la Musique de la Bibliothèque Nationale avec la collaboration de Monsieur Fédorov et de l’équipe de la Bibliographie de I’Histoire de France. Dans un proche avenir sera constituée une équipe plus cohérente et plus effective que celIe qui était indiqué officiellement sur la couverture des fascicules. »

Some idea can be gathered from the reports as to how RILM work is organized in various countries. In most Eastern European countries the resumes have been written by designated abstractors rather than authors although author abstracting is on the increase. In Czechoslovakia almost all abstracts are prepared by committee abstractors except for very complex articles, in order to overcome translation difficulties. In Poland:

“All the RILM contributors are active music librarians. [Eight persons from three cities] prepare abstracts under the direction of Mr. Kornel Michalowski the chairman of the Polish National Committee for RILM. During [1969-1970] 161 abstracts were sent to the RILM International Center covering all significant literature on music published in Poland from July 1969 to April 1970.”

In some countries, recent literature is abstracted by the authors, while the older items are handled by committee abstractors to speed up the process and make the coverage complete. Germany BRD (Behne) reports:

“Nachdem die Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft zum 1. Mai 1970 die Mittel für zwei bibliographische Halbtagskräfte für die Dauer von zwei Jahren bewilligt hat, sind die drängendsten Personalprobleme der RILM-Redaktion zunächst beseitigt. Dadurch wird es möglich sein, musikwissenschaftlich relevante Arbeiten auch aus anderen Fachgebieten und aus nichtmusikalischen Periodika und Festschriften vollständiger zu erfassen, als dies bisher geschehen konnte. Hierzu werden etwa 300 Zeitschriften und Jahrbücher verwandter Fachbereiche ständig durchgesehen und ausgewertet werden.

…Die Frage nach der Bereitschaft der Autoren, unentgeltlich abstracts zu schreiben, darf jetzt wohl positiv beantwortet werden. Innerhalb der Musikwissenschaft sind es nach wie vor nur etwa zehn Wissenschaftler, die sich von einer Mitarbeit ausschließen. Bei Autoren aus anderen Fachgebieten liegt die Anzahl der Absagen naturgemäß etwas höher. Der Prozentsatz der Autoren¬abstracts liegt bei den bisher insgesamt 1400 nach New York weitergeleiteten abstracts zwischen 85 % und 90%.

Vor Jahresfrist erklärten skh die Schriftleiter ‘Ion acht wichtigen Musikperiodika der Bundesrepublik Deutschland bereit, den Autoren ‘lor Auslieferung der Publikationen vorgedmckte ,abstract bitten’ und abstract-formulare zuzuschicken und uns über diesen Versand zu informieren. Es hat sich jedoch bedauerlicherweise herausgestellt, daß dieses Verfahren nur für Die Musikforsmung erfolgreich war.”

The most effective method for journal coverage seems to be for the editor to send out an abstract form with each set of proofs, requesting that the form be completed and returned with the proof corrections. The journal editor then gathers the abstracts, inserts pagination, and completes the issue coverage by giving citations for all reviews as reviews do not usually require abstracts. He then forwards them to the national chairman indicating which abstracts have not been forthcoming. The national chairman arranges to have the missing abstracts written before sending them on to the international center. Editors of international journals usually work directly with the international center. For books and dissertations one especially successful method of encouraging future author cooperation is for the national chairman to acknowledge the receipt of each author abstract with a brief note of thanks, enclosing one or two abstract forms for the author’s future publications. Most countries are able to make a substantial effort to find the relevant literature as quickly as possible, scanning catalogues, prospectuses and publishers’ announcements, as well as journals and lists of dissertations. For dissertations it was suggested that each national chairman make contact with the heads of musicological institutes in his country to insure that when dissertations are accepted, the author sends in an abstract aussitôt.

Some countries are maintaining their own catalogues of national publications, checking them off as abstracts are sent to the international center.

On the continuing problem of inclusion and exclusion, there is a wide range in selection of material from country to country, e.g., in popular literature, translated works, and material of purely national interest. Countries which produce a great deal of musicological literature can, of course, filter the quality much more than smaller countries, and comparison of quality of material would be useful. Bathja Bayer has proposed the use of a “quality filter” schema which has been successful in Israel. A copy of her revised “filter” will be sent to all chairmen and area editors. This coincides with the proposal by Lesure that:

«. . . à la prochaine réunion du RILM (Saint-Gall) on procède à une discussion (sur pieces) à propos de quelques categories problematiques, par exemple: articles sur la vie musicale contemporaine, éditions critiques de musique. Chaque responsable apporterait des exemples concrets d’inclusion et d’exclusion, en indiquant ses raisons. Une comparaison de ces critères serait profitable à tous, à condition d’arriver en séance avec les publications elles-mêmes et de les faire circuler. »

Henry Pleasants has reported that the inclusion question is particularly difficult in the field of jazz, where so much of the information is in “popular” periodicals. The Jazz Center in Graz (Professor Friedrich Kömer) covers certain “scientific” jazz periodicals, and Pleasants is plagued as to what to do with the rest:

“In the past year (1969) and continuing into this year, there has been a flood of books, periodicals, articles, etc., on rock and pop. The majority of them are quickie, bandwagon jobs, reasonably well-informed, as a rule, but appallingly redundant. I would assume that selection is one of an area editor’s responsibilities but criteria for selection might be a fruitful topic at your meetings.”

In regard to the writing of abstracts, it was reiterated that the verso of the abstract form contains succinct instructions as to how to write a good abstract which too many authors forget to read. It is always preferable for an abstract to present objectively the author’s findings, viewpoints and conclusions rather than to merely indicate what the publication deals with. The 1970 and 1971 issues may include abstracts from previous years as well.

Reports from Area Editors

We now have 21 Area Editors. Their reports indicate increased activity and more dependable coverage although obviously we still have far to go before coverage is complete. To avoid overlapping it was suggested by Dr. Bayer that each area editor delineate his field as precisely as possible, and that the national committee should not assume that it may omit anything published in its country because an area editor might abstract it. The primary function of the area editors remains to cover non-music publications which might be missed by the national committees. For example, Edward Roesner has defined his area of medieval studies very precisely in his report:

“The area of Medieval Studies embraces scholarly writings in the history and culture of the period ca. 500-1400 A.D. Because of the scope of the topic, I am concentrating on materials relating to Western Europe and am not systematically surveying the Eastern European, Byzantine or Oriental studies. Nor am I covering the fields of ecclesiastical history and liturgy, since this would in large measure duplicate the work of M. Huglo…”

A further suggestion by Dr. Bayer regarding the use of what she has named “RILMemos” was presented. These are bibliographical citations (without abstract) on the top half of the RILM abstract form made by area editors, chairmen and other interested persons whenever they notice a significant item – not in their field – which might be of interest to RILM. These RILMemos are sent to the international center for distribution to the appropriate area editor. Von Gleich made the suggestion that area editors and national chairmen have each other’s addresses to help simplify this problem.

The June 13th and 14th meetings were held in conjunction with the cataloguing commission (Kurt Dorfmüller, president) and its subcommittee on classification. About 40 delegates from 15 countries attended both meetings.

At the first meeting, the principal topic was the draft version of the RILM Thesaurus of index terms. This draft is to be corrected and amended by experience and committee advice. Several specific points were raised. Iván Pethes asked whether “basso continuo” should be included in Hungarian and Russian. Brook said that this should not be necessary because we will have the Polyglot Dictionary. Alfons Ott suggested an index for specific terms which might not appear in other languages; an example suggested by von Gleich was names of odd instruments. Brook suggested that as a test we incorporate about 100 index terms from Swedish, Hungarian and Russian in the index. It was decided to ask Anders Lönn, Iván Pethes and Galina Koltypina if they would be willing to undertake this task.

At the June 14th meetings, the president discussed development of the RILM classification system from a combination of systems used by Schmieder, the Library of Congress and the New York Public Library, adding that it should be changed only when the need is urgent. Mrs. Cun¬ningham had suggested that the system was too tight, not allowing for additions, e.g., the 21st century. That century excepted, there will, however, be room for virtually all necessary additions. Harald Heckmann suggested that in view of the computer technology the emphasis should be on the index and thesaurus rather than classification.

Countries Participating in the June 12th Meeting



Germany (BRD)
Germany (DDR)

United States
Rudolph Angermuller, Harald Bogner, Sibylle Dahms
Mercedes Reis Pequeno
Milka Miladinova, Lili Nikolaewa
Juny Dotnak, Vladimir Dvořák, Markéta Kralovcová, Jan Krupka, Eman Muntag, P. Payorksi, Marie Svobodova
Nanna Schiødt, Elizabeth Strandbygaard, Herbert Rosenberg
Susan Stanley
Bernard Bardet, Francine Bloch, Mme H. de Chambure, Yvette Fédoroff, Paule Letailleur, Simone Wallon
Kurt Dorfmüller, Ruth Froriep, Harald Heckmann, Fritz Kaiser, Alfons Ott, Lisbeth Weinhold
Ina Albert, Walter Eisen, Rose Hebenstreit, Peter Krause, Konrad Niemann, Bernd Pachnicke, Viktor Werner Promnitz, Ellen Roser, Linde Rühlmann, Konrad Sasse, Herta Schetelich, Hans-Joachim Schulze, Walther Siegmund-Schultze, Margot Tischmeyer, Isolde Unger, Liselotte Willi, Charlotte Wolf, Helmut Zeraschi, Frisen Zukurk
Magda Forrai-Graf, Iáan Pethes, Veronika Vavrinecz
Marlangela Donà, Sergio Paganelli
Simonas-Egidipur Juodis
Clemens von Gleich
Wanda Bogdany, Aniela Kolbuszewska, Maria Prokopowicz
Laurentia Galis, Veronica lenciu, Radu Stan
Galina Koltypina, Irene Medvedeva
Carl Johannson, Bengt Kyhlberg
Lisbet Thew
Rita Benton, Barry S. Brook, Virginia Cunningham, Donald W. Krummel, Thor E. Wood
Vera Bonifačić

Countries sending written reports: Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Israel, Japan, Sweden.

Countries presenting oral reports: Austria (Dahms), Bulgaria (Nikolaewa), Brazil (Reis Pequeno), Denmark (Schilødt), France (Bardet), BRD (Heckmann), DDR (Niemann), Italy (Donà), Holland (von Gleich), Poland (Prokopowicz), Rumania (Stan), Switzerland (Thew), Russia (Koltypina), United States (Brook).

Barry S. Brook, President / Nanna Schiødt, Recording Secretary