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Summary of Activities, 1988

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

Report No. 23: 1988

A total of 22 representatives of eight countries participated in the RILM session.

Issue XVII/2 is published, which means that in the year beginning last August, when XVI/2 appeared, we have put out five issues. We are also halfway through XVIII/3. With these five and a half issues we have satisfied the terms of the NEH grant for the first year. We wish to thank the national chairpersons for their splendid cooperation in keeping the abstracts moving steadily to the RILM office: this has certainly entailed much additional effort. We wish also to thank them for becoming more conscientious about supplying details requested on the abstract form—first names, page numbers, and the like, and especially time periods. We would ask only that they send more key words with citations, for purposes of classification and indexing. Often the title conveys nothing at all of the contents.

Cumulative Index

The international thesaurus for the third five-year index is virtually complete, and again we must thank the national chairpersons, who either supplied the list themselves or arranged to have it done. In order not to lose ground on the issues, we have sacrificed the index to some extent. Now, however, we are ready for the final merge of the subject and author indexes of the five volumes, and when this is proofread we can go on to photo¬composition of the pages. Because of the increase in the size of the issues, we are dealing with an impressive amount of material, all of which is being carefully checked for errors and inconsistencies. We have decided for our readers convenience, to put the thesaurus in a section by itself (each country separately), rather than weaving it into the body of the index.

The increasing volume of material received at the RILM office (owing partly to the many new serious journals which have appeared on the scene in recent years) has made it necessary for us to request a stricter observance of the guidelines on the part of the national committees. The guidelines make it clear that superficial material should be excluded. Indeed, superficial studies do little to improve the lot of the scholar looking for solid facts (or theory). Once again, we would like to draw attention to two statements in the guidelines: “All popular treatment of a subject, as well as practical manuals and methods of the ‘how-to’ type, should normally be excluded. Theses … at the master’s level should be included only when they are of unusual potential interest.” It was agreed that the guidelines be reconsidered at the next meeting, and it was also agreed that very short reviews be excluded—those which do little more than announce that a book has been published—even when they are in core journals.

Special Reports

Tomako Sumikawa, secretary of the RILM committee, reported on the activities of the Japanese national committee, and gave to foreign visitors the most recent issue of the annual Japanese version of RILM Abstracts.

Thomas F. Heck presented the results of a study (co-authored by Reiko Yoshimura) entitled Japanese musical term retrieval inRILM on-line: A status report and comparison to the Music Index and Zeitschriftendienst Musik, published in this issue (p. 31-37).

The authors selected ten Japanese terms or topics for the search—four musical genres, three instruments, two terms related to mode, and one well-known composer—and limited the scope to items published during the period 1979-82. It was determined that RILM on-line provides relatively plentiful references to most of the terms searched, and is, in the words of the authors, “the retrieval tool of choice in the West at this time for world-wide scholarship dealing with Japanese music.”

Following the meeting, an informal reception was hosted by Professor Shigeo Kishibe at the teahouse of the University.