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Summary of Activities, 1979

Barry S. Brook, President de la Commission Mixte du RILM
Catherine Massip, Acting Secretary

Report No. 14: Salzburg, 1979

Forty-one participants from sixteen countries attended the RILM session.

Report by the President

RILM Abstracts is halfway through its anniversary volume X. With the completion of X/2, we have already published 4,538 abstracts, approximately our usual number for an entire year. X/3 will contain more than 3,000 abstracts, and X/4 – the banque des lacunes – probably over 6,000. Our second five-year cumulative index, covering volumes V to X (1972-1976), is well under way, and will be published shortly after X/4.

After a period of intensive testing over the summer months, Lockheed Information Systems put RILM’s data base “on line” on 1 September 1979. All material in volumes VI to X is now instantly retrievable. Lockheed has offered to buy our tapes outright, but we have preferred to rent the tapes to them for a three-year period. We are the first journal in the arts to be included in this type of service.

Item no. 9 on the RILM abstract form has been changed to include indications for charts and tables, transcriptions, and sound recordings. The number of words suggested on the back of the form for the length of an abstract has been reduced to 25-100. The volume of material coming in has made this limitation essential.

RILM has met its matching goal for the second year of the current three-year grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, with the help, once again, of our subscribers, the Mellon Foundation, Miss Alice Tully (Maya Corporation), and the professional societies: AMS, IMS, IAML-US, GfM, CMS, and MLA. We are facing unusually high production costs this year because of the oversize issues. Dr. Simone Reagor, former Acting Director of the Division of Research Grants of the Endowment, has given voice to our problem in a paper written for Computers and the Humanities. She writes as follows:

“The NEH should establish a policy of ongoing annual support for certain large-scale, computer-based projects in the humanities that serve international bibliographic purposes. In the past NEH has tended to support such projects on at most a two-to three-year basis with the understanding that they would then find other support or become self-supporting. Projects like… RILM … serve the broadest scholarly needs in their fields; they are international in scope and service. Their need for funding is permanent and it is for the most part unrealistic to suppose that projects of this sort can become altogether self-supporting. NEH should provide a permanent base of support, tied to an ongoing evaluative process, for such major bibliographic services”.

The People’s Republic of China has announced the publication of a journal called Studies in Music. It will carry articles on, among other things, ancient music, the history of Chinese and foreign music, folk music, opera, national minority music, music education, and Chinese and foreign composers. We have made contact with the People’s Music Publishing House and hope to go on from there to form a Chinese national committee.

In a discussion concerning the BRD committee, following questions raised by Dr. Günther Wagner, it was reiterated that RILM will publish all of its backlog within volume X and that every effort will be made to avoid the development of a new backlog. Beginning with volume XI (covering 1977), RILM will publish all abstracts within the appropriate year. As for the problem of cutting and editing the abstracts, it was agreed on the one hand that the editorial staff would keep both to a minimum and on the other hand that the contributors would be asked to write their abstracts as concisely as possible, within the new limit of one hundred words. Should the editorial staff find it advisable to shorten some abstracts, in order to arrive at a more concise formulation, it will add the words “Author [abstract], abridged.” For some lengthy monographs, dissertations, and other documents (where it is anticipated that the full-length original may not be easily accessible), it may be useful to provide additional keywords for indexing purposes.


Special reports. Erna Bruckbög of the Austrian committee announces that Evelyn Roitinger has joined the RILM staff. Kathleen McMorrow writes that the Canadians have added two new core journals: Studies in Music, published by the Music Department of the University of Western Ontario, and Journal of the Canadian Association of University Schools of Music. Our Indian committee has been reorganized by Dr. Kumud Mehta. Dr. Grigorij Sneerson, chairman of the USSR committee, writes, in part: “… more than 2,500 abstracts were sent to the RILM center, the overwhelming majority of which were published. . . The thoughtful organization of the material, the fine informational facilities, the existence of cumulative indexes – all of that makes RILM an invaluable source and a most valuable effort on an international scale. . . The group of musicologists helping in the work of the Soviet committee of RILM express a positive evaluation and will seek to broaden their cooperation.”