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Summary of Activities, 1986

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

Report No. 21: 1986

A total of 60 representatives from 17 countries participated in the RILM sessions.

Of the three sessions devoted to RILM, the first was a meeting of the project group on classification, reported on elsewhere in this volume. A new project group on RILM indexing and Thesaurus questions was formed, to be chaired by Ann Briegleb Schuursma.

The second session, a general meeting, heard a paper by the President, RILM: The early years. It spoke of the multitude of difficulties that had to be overcome: seeking the cooperation of the scholarly community, raising money for the project, stooping to conquer in RILM’s first home—a low-ceilinged attic room at Queens College. National committees had to be established, computer programs worked out, an appropriate cover for the journal designed. That RILM survived at all during its first decade is quite miraculous.

After a report from Lenore Coral on the deliberations of the project group on classification, the session was given over to a discussion of ways for RILM Abstracts to narrow the time gap in the publication of material. Of the possibilities suggested—such as printing abstracts in their original language, i.e., without translation (rejected), or publishing double issues (accepted for further checking)—none seemed as efficacious as the list of requests sent out to the national chairman earlier in the year, which read as follows:

We would like to enlist your aid in our speed-up program. The following steps on the part of our national committees would be of tremendous assistance:

1. We ask you urgently to cut all abstracts to the 100-word limit listed in the guidelines on the back of the abstract form. Dissertations may need 150 words, but, please, no more than that. If for some reason the cutting cannot be done in your office, we ask permission to do the cutting ourselves. A short abstract will be our biggest time-saver.

2. Will you please check each abstract and citation to see that the following information is invariably included:

For articles—volume number of the journal, issue number, publication date (month and year), and page numbers

For books—editor and translator (if any), place of publication, date, number of pages, and special features (bibliography, etc.)

We spend many hours trying to find these items when they do not appear on the abstract form and even then we are not always successful—often the publication is not available in this country. In the cases where we have to return the abstract form to the national committee, much time is lost. In all cases, please do not forget to add the time period requested at the bottom of the form.

3. Please try at all times to provide the first names of authors, editors, composers, etc.—the more obscure the personage, the more necessary your cooperation. All too often we do not have access to the sources at your disposal. We also need the complete titles of works.

4. It will be helpful if you use the ISO transliteration tables when working on material that requires transliteration into the Roman alphabet. We will be sending copies of the transliteration tables that we use in the RILM office.

5. It would also be of great assistance to us—indeed, it is essential—to have you accompany abstracts of papers in collected writings (Festschriften, Congress Reports) with a photocopy of the title page (and please see that the editor’s name is listed there) and of the table of contents of the volume.

6. The titles of many pieces of literature give no indication of the contents of the piece. If there is no abstract, our indexers are at a complete loss. Please be so good as to suggest a RILM category when the citation alone may be mystifying and to add two or three key words, so that our indexers can maintain their present standard of accuracy.

The third session devoted to RILM was the closed meeting of the Commission Internationale Mixte. The following members of the Commission were present: Harald Heckmann, Hugh Cobbe, Melva Peterson, Barry S. Brook, and Nanna Schiødt (Secretary). Three papers were handed out: report of the RILM indexers (by Marilyn Bliss), reports of the national chairmen, and the report of the local finance committee (chaired by Floyd Grave). Among the other topics discussed were the recommendations from the general meeting (e.g., “speed-up”), the optimal number of issues per year (two, both containing a subject as well as an author index), and revision of the guidelines for inclusion and/or exclusion of items.