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Summary of Activities, 1983

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

Report No. 18: 1983

Forty-five participants from, fifteen countries attended

Report by the President

Volume XII of RILM Abstracts is virtually finished—that is, two issues are out and XII/3 is completely edited. XII/3 would be coming out shortly if the staff were not concentrating on the second cumulative index, for volumes VI-X, which is now ready to be set into pages. Most of the work is done: the collating, the research, the ferreting out of inconsistencies, the reading and rereading of mountains of printout, and above all, and most time-consuming, the refining of the interior structure of subject headings. In the final phase the pages will have one more reading and the last errors will be corrected through cutting and pasting. [Ed. note: Since this meeting took place, the 529-page index has indeed appeared in print.]


The production of the second five-year cumulative index was made possible by a grant of $ 33,000 from the National Endowment for the Humanities toward staff salaries. The grant was awarded as a kind of codicil to the grant for lacunae issue X/4, because the size of the index is directly attributable to the extraordinary number of entries in that issue. We can no longer depend on funding from government sources, however, and are looking in other directions to cover our yearly deficit.

Staff reports

The meeting was devoted mainly to the reading of papers by the RILM staff, for whom the proximity of Washington made attendance possible for the first time.

Dorothy Curzon, the managing editor, speaking on the present status of RILM and noting that issues have increased in size beginning with volume XI, announced that RILM will be maintaining the new output of some 6,500 abstracts per year. In this way the journal will avoid any buildup of backlog: every abstract in the files will be printed within the appropriate year. At the same time, we have greatly improved our American coverage, owing to the advice and energetic assistance of the MLA/IAML-US committee; we have added several names to the list of core journals—those that are fully abstracted. Also, we will revert to a more liberal use of arrow references, a practice curtailed by lack of space in volume X and one that eliminates ambiguity in classification.

Carl Skoggard, RILM’s editor, reviewed the guidelines for preparing abstracts and asked for cooperation in the following ways: 1) Please give complete title and subtitle, avoiding paraphrases and explanatory phrases. 2) Names of authors, editors, translators, reviewers, etc., are to be given in full whenever possible. 3) Titles of musical works should be included in the original language. Translations are helpful to assist RILM editors in identifying obscure items, but the original language is mandatory. 4) Whenever possible, abstracts for collections of essays, conference reports, Festschriften, or first issues of periodicals should be accompanied by a Xerox of the table of contents. 5) All indexing terms should be included within the abstract rather than listed at the bottom of the page.

Marily Bliss, the index editor, spoke about the new version of the RILM English-language Thesaurus: Subject headings for vols. XI-, a substantially revised and updated version of the previous English-language Thesaurus, which listed subject headings for volumes I-X. The introduction to the revised thesaurus, which presents a clear, step-by-step procedure for choosing the utilizing heading, includes a summary of major revisions, the main revision being the treatment of folk categories—indeed, in the general treatment of non-Western music. In another development, the RILM indexing staff is planning a separate publication of the International Thesaurus, which lists foreign terms, their English equivalents, and see references to the appropriate headings in the English-language Thesaurus. Until now the International Thesaurus, covering 16 European languages, has been available only in the body of the cumulative index.

Naomi Steinberger, who is in charge of accessions at RILM and who has also been handling questions on the DIALOG data-base, spoke on the advantages of using RILM on line: 1) combining concepts; 2) searching by variables other than subject or author; 3) free-text searching; and 4) speed.

Rosalie McQuaide, associate editor, the final speaker, summed up the international goals and purpose of RILM.

Commission Internationale Mixte

The meeting was attended by the following members: János Kárpáti, François Lesure, Oliver W. Neighbour, Melva Peterson, and Barry Brook. Maria Fernanda Cidrais Rodrigues was present as a guest. The discussion, which was concerned with RILM finances, resulted in a decision to establish a budget committee—made up, for practical reasons, of US members—who would furnish expertise in reconciling expenses with income. A second, fund-raising committee will also be established, this one with international membership. Suggestions for members in both committees were considered.