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Summary of Activities, 1981

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

Report No. 16: 1981

Thirty-four participants from sixteen countries attended the RILM session.

Report by the President

The lacunae issue, X/4, containing material not found in RILM Abstracts in its first ten years of publication, was completed in July of this year. The production was delayed by technical complications which arose from the unprecedented size of the issue—9,378 entries. XI/I will be out in October; Xl/2 should follow at the end of the year. The RILM staff is making a staunch effort to get the issues out as quickly as possible in order to narrow the time gap, which had widened as a result of the publication of X/4.

The subject indexing for volume X, which would normally have appeared in X/4, will be included in the second cumulative five-year index, now in progress. In the meantime, it is available on our Lockheed data base. Inasmuch as the second five-year index will contain 50% more material than the first, technical problems must again be anticipated, and with them some delay in the final production of the volume. The Thesaurus Subcommission is no longer functioning. Its duties will be taken up in specific areas by specialists.

RILM Retrospectives

Volume III in the RILM Retrospectives series, dealing with Congress Reports from the 19th century to the present, continues to be worked on and will be published in the not too distant future.


Issue X/4 was made possible by a special grant for staff salaries from the National Endowment for the Humanities—$50,000 outright, with additional funds available for matching. The matching funds were contributed by the Mellon Foundation, the International Musicological Society, and the College Music Society. It was our final grant from the Endowment, whose own resources have been substantially cut under the present administration in Washington. We are again looking to the private foundations for funding and are raising our prices—inevitably—not only for volume XI but also for volume XII to keep pace with inflation.


The first two years of our exclusive contract with the Lockheed system (DIALOG) have been completed; we are exploring possibilities with additional information systems. Inquiries about our on-line operations are increasing constantly and we have had orders for more than 150 copies of the Thesaurus, to be used in conjunction with data-base searches. As of this writing, volumes VI-X are on line, as well as XIII. In keeping with our promise to add the first five volumes, we have started to input volume V, of which the first issue, V/I, is also on-line.

Commission Internationale Mixte

After a decade of RILM Abstracts, the original Commission Mixte is being reconstituted. On the recommendation of the Boards of IAML and the IMS, the present officers (Barry Brook, François Lesure, Harald Heckmann, and Nanna Schiødt) will retain their posts. The IAML Board has appointed the following as its new representation on the Commission: Günter Brosche, János Kárpáti, Melva Peterson, and Grigori Šneerson. The IMS nominations for its new representatives are as follows: Israel Adler, Ludwig Finscher, Oliver Neighbour, and Pierluigi Petrobelli. A meeting of the Commission took place in Budapest on 9 September, with Svetlana Sigida representing G. Šneerson. A written communication from François Lesure instigated a discussion on ways to narrow the time gap in publication. New avenues for funding were discussed, since the simplest way to decrease the time gap would be by adding staff.

Chinese National Committee

There is an excellent chance that a Chinese National Committee will be established in the near future as a result of the president’s recent visit to the People’s Republic. Ann Briegleb, area editor in Chinese music, reports that during the Cultural Revolution movement, 1966-76, musicological research was at a standstill. Now, however, new lines of scholarly communication have opened up and several periodicals have been launched.

Discussion: Selection Criteria

The principal item on the agenda was a proposal set forth by the Joint MLA/IAML-US/RILM Advisory Committee. Led by Melva Peterson, the discussion covered the following recommendations: 1. That the statement inside RILM’s cover be changed to read “scholarly literature” (or “literature of scholarly significance”) rather than “significant literature.” 2. That fully abstracted, or core, periodicals be only those which are scholarly in nature, and that each national committee endeavor to include all of its country’s scholarly journals in this category. 2a. That “fully abstracted” be understood to exclude regular features of core journals, such as lists, indexes, news notes, notices of future meetings, etc., and to include all of their reviews but only in citation form unless special content requires an annotation. 3. That all popular treatments of the subject, as well as textbooks, practical and technical manuals and methods of the “how-to” type be excluded from RILM. 4. That, given RILM’s space limitations, “non-musicological literature” be excluded from RILM, except in cases where it deals with aspects of music which have received little or no coverage in the scholarly literature of the country concerned. Or (if this is thought to be too drastic): That “non-musicological literature” be included only if space is available, with scholarly literature having priority; that when such items are included, they be given a citation only; that in cases where the citation is insufficient to indicate the subject or to provide for proper indexing, a one- or two-sentence annotation (or perhaps a few keywords) may be added. 5. That if either policy suggested in Recommendation 4 is adopted, RILM’s list of Principal Periodicals Abstracted be revised accordingly, and that titles be listed only if they are regularly examined. 6. That appropriate scholarly writings found in non-musical sources be included whenever possible.

These recommendations will be submitted to the new Commission Mixte for final decision.