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Summary of Activities, 1974

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

Report No. 9: Jerusalem, 1974

During the Triennial Congress of the International Music Library Association held in Jerusalem on August 18th-24th, 1974, there were two RILM sessions. The first was a general meeting devoted to a discussion of the RILM five-year cumulative index I-V, 1967-1971, questions of coverage, the publication of RILM retrospectives, and a special report by the West German National Committee. The second was a meeting of the RILM Thesaurus Sub-Commission, which dealt with revisions in the RILM English Thesaurus and the RILM Multi-lingual International Thesaurus. The following is a brief summation of the proceedings.

General Meeting

Report by the President

The printing of volume VI of RILM abstracts covering 4174 publications for 1972 und earlier including articles, books, dissertations, music editions, bibliographies, etc. – is nearing completion. Volume VII for 1973 publications and the RILM five-year cumulative index I-V, 1967-1971 are in preparation. Both VII/1 and the cumulative index will be published by the end of the year.

RILM now has the benefit of perfected computer programs that handle a great deal of work that formerly was done manually. Beginning with VI/3 our keyboarders have been inputting edited abstracts in random order. The computer later 1) assigns abstracts to their proper categories, alphabetizes them, and numbers the entire issue, 2) automatically distributes cross references to the specified categories, and 3) automatically generates the author index. Heretofore the RILM staff had to edit an entire issue and assemble it by hand before committing it to any kind of computer processing. Now data is input while editorial work on remaining abstracts is still in progress; all routine work is shifted to the computer. The time saved is considerable.

New computer programs have also been developed for the five-year cumulative index, a project which has consumed much time on the part of programmers, indexers, keyboarders, and proof-readers. (See the report on the Thesaurus Sub-Commission below.)

RILM is currently receiving modest funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities to meet the deficit between costs and subscription income. Additional funding, though in a still smaller amount, has been requested for 1975; in 1976 RILM should approach self-sufficiency. Subscriptions are rising slowly, but steadily. An increase in subscription income, a smaller salary schedule than in the past, and a second price rise with volume IX in 1976 to $48.00 for institutions and $15.00 for individuals should come close to sustaining RILM financially. RILM needs the support of all IAML members in subscribing to the journal- both individually and institutionally.

Regarding RILM retrospectives, volume I, entitled Thematic catalogues of music: An annotated bibliography, is presently available. Volumes in preparation include the following: volume II, French dissertations in music, edited by Jean Gribenski, volume III, The iconography of music, edited by Frederick Crane, and volume IV, Congress reports.

Special report from the West German Committee

Several National Committees sent written reports about their activities in the last year. Peter Wagner reported orally about the West German Committee as follows.

Stephanie Krappe of the RILM Center at the Staatliches Institut flir Musikforschung in Berlin recently compiled statistics for the period 1970-1972 and found that: 1) 82 % of all abstracts sent from West Germany were written by the authors themselves, 2) 25 % of all West German abstracts were revised in some way by the Committee, and 3) 5% were condensed. The BRD Committee no longer has funds to pay assistants to write abstracts in cases where authors do not comply. The possibility of printing in RILM abstracts only the citation of books and articles, etc., in instances of non-cooperation by the authors is being considered.

In the discussion that followed, the President pointed out that at the inception of RILM Harald Heckman had said that German authors simply would not cooperate, and yet several years later Klaus Ernst Behne – Stephanie-Krappe’s predecessor – reported that 86 % of all West German abstracts were author-abstracted. It was agreed that a 4% decline in cooperation was not especially alarming and that advertising by Bärenreiter for the forthcoming five-year cumulative index would recall the importance of the RILM project and author cooperation for many West German authors.

Thesaurus Sub-Commission Meeting

Anders Lönn, Chairman

The principal topics at the joint meeting of the Thesaurus Sub-Commission and the IAML Classification Sub-Commission were as follows.

1) Professor Brook reported that the RILM five-year cumulative index I – V, 1967-1971 would be published by the end of the year, and he demonstrated a computer printout of the multi-lingual thesaurus, which incorporates references from French, German, Russian (transliterated on a trial basis), Polish, Hungarian, Swedish, and Danish. A draft of part of the introduction to the index, explaining the aims and principles of the multi-lingual approach, was distributed by the Chairman.

2) Of additional languages, Italian and Czech were among those urgently needed; various possibilities of assistance were mentioned. For forthcoming annual indexes, the existing lists of non-English terms should be checked for consistency, completeness, etc., by the Chairman.

3) The special problem posed by Cyrillic and other non-Latin alphabets was discussed at some length. It was suggested that the transliterated terms should be retained in the thesaurus (as in the demonstration version in printout form), but omitted from the index. However, if similarity to Russian is to be a criterion for excluding terms from other Slavic languages not in Cyrillic, then the transliterations cannot be omitted: if they were, the entire complex of variants would be without representation. At the same time, since Russian readers are unlikely to need transliterations, their main effect would be to replace Czech or Polish terms by similar terms in Russian – resulting in a loss of convenience for Czechs and Poles with no gains for Russians.

4) On the question of terms specific to a particular language, culture, or ethnic groups, it was decided not to attempt to draw up detailed lists of – for example – the names of folk instruments, but to keep the present practice of grouping them under folk instruments. However, the name of the instrument would probably be preferable as the first subdivision rather than the country, at least for instruments found in more than one country. Also, a see-reference from the specific instrument to the general heading should be added if possible (ie., gusli, see folk instruments); this might be especially important where the instrument is also entered under its individual name as an art music instrument. Varying names for the same folk instrument must be connected by means of cross-references, if a preferred form cannot be found. This could probably best be done by revision at regular intervals, rather than by trying to establish a standard beforehand.

It was pointed out that a description of structured headings like folk instruments should be included not only in the thesaurus (as at present), but also in the index itself.

5) A list, compiled by Galina B. Koltypina, of suggested additions to the thesaurus dealing with important concepts in Marxist musicology was examined. In some cases revisions in the present thesaurus were made, while in other cases her terms could be accommodated by existing thesaurus terms. For instance, “Soviet mass song” would be entered under USSR, “revolutionary hymns” and song, “revolutionary”; “Party principle in music” would be entered under aesthetics, “Marxist-Leninist”. It was emphasized that where terminology was, ambiguous – as for example in the cases of “Marxism”, “Communism”, “Socialism”, “sociology”, “culture”, etc. – the article’s definition had to be accepted for indexing purposes.

6) Regarding the relations between the classified abstract and the index, it was agreed to re-examine the present practice of not duplicating entries in a particular class under the corresponding index term. (e.g., items classed in category 07 have not been entered under bibliographies in the index.) While leading to some inconvenience, this has seemed the only economical solution. It was suggested that each class should be looked at anew for structuring, to ensure that items included therein would be indexed under all relevant specific terms. (e.g., a bibliography of 19th-c. German piano sonatas would be indexed under Germanypiano music, and sonatas.) In this way, inconvenience would be kept at a minimum.

Barry S. Brook, President, Commission internationale mixte; Anders Lönn, Chairman, Thesaurus sub-commission; Carol Neuls-Bates, Managing editor RILM abstracts.