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Summary of Activities, 1990

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

Report No. 25: 1990

Forty-three people, from 12 countries, were present at the annual RILM meeting on July 10, 1990, held during the IAML Congress at Boulogne-Billancourt. The meeting opened with the President of RILM, Barry S. Brook, summarizing the past year’s international activities and outlining the projected work for the year 1990-91. Cary Karp (Svenskt musikhistoriskt arkiv, Stockholm) spoke on his work on an annotated bibliography of works on musical instrument conservation. The bibliography will be produced by Art and Archaeology Technical Abstracts (Getty Conservation Institute, 4503 Glencoe Ave., Marine del Rey, CA 90292, USA).

Terence Ford (Editor in Chief, RILM Abstracts) summarized RILM’s publishing activities during the past year: (1) The annual volume for 1984 (vol. 18) was published for the first time in one volume, and with a detailed introduction. (2) The third cumulative index (covering vols. 11-15) was published, in two parts – the first, the index; the second, the headings translated into 17 languages. (3) The RILM Thesaurus no. 3 (for volumes 11- ) was printed, and is available in looseleaf format. (4) A user guide for aid in searching online with DIALOG was produced. (5) A final draft of the RILM Guidelines (defining the scope of RILM) was accepted and printed. (6) A paper entitled “How to Write a RILM Abstract” was printed; translations of the paper into French, German, Italian, and Spanish were made available. An increase in the subscription price has allowed the RILM Center to increase its staff, in order effectively to increase its currency. Instead of the usual one-year’s amount of bibliography, during the year 1990-91, two-years’ worth will be published – volumes 19 and 20, covering 1985 and 1986. RILM will be available on CD-ROM by December 1990 produced and distributed by NISC, (3100 St. Paul Street, Baltimore, MD 21218, USA).

Adam O’Connor (Editor, RILM New York) spoke on the subject of fundraising, announcing a program for visiting editors, in which scholars and students may work at the RILM center in exchange for a stipend. (Information on this program may be obtained directly from Adam O’Connor, RILM Abstracts, 33 West 42 Street, New York, NY 10036, USA.) He also proposed that individual countries that need financial support may receive documentary support from the RILM Center, and that joint proposals may be perhaps more fruitful. He stressed that the production of RILM is labor-intensive, and requires an unusually high level of financial support.

Robert Estrine (Editor, RILM New York) spoke on the subject of classification. The classification system of RILM has been called into question the past few years, and he explained and justified the system as a rational, pragmatic solution to a complex issue. His experience as editor responsible for classification for seven years allowed him to draw on a large fund of difficult and complicated issues and examples.

National Reports

During the year 1989-90, 6,700 abstracts were submitted to RILM New York by national committees in the following countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, France, East and West Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, South Africa, Soviet Union, Switzerland, United States, Yugoslavia.

Significant news from committees (aside from a general increase in the number and quality of abstracts being produced):
Bulgaria: Dimiter Christoff is now being assisted by Dr. Ph. Todor Todorov;
Colombia: The new national committee is Susana Friedmann (Chairperson), Benjamin Yepes, and Maria Cortes de Pineros;
West Germany: Stephanie Krappe has been replaced by Birgit Asmus;
Ireland: The new chairman is Nick Sandon;
Japan: The new committee contains Kazuo Fukushima (chairperson) and Toshiko Sekine (secretary-general);
Netherlands: Clemens von Gleich has retired from his position at the Haags Gemeentemuseum, and a new situation for the RILM national committee is being sought.

(Addresses for the committees and names of the committee members appear in each issue of RILM Abstracts.)

Commission Mixte

The following members were present at the annual meeting on 11 July 1990: Barry S. Brook (president) Melva Person, Harald Heckmann, and Hugh Cobbe. The resignation of the longtime (23 years) secretary of the Commission Mixte, Nanna Schiødt, was accepted with regret. After a brief report on the financial situation of RILM New York, a new set of Rules of Procedure were discussed in detail. The Rules were adopted in principal, and after emendation will be circulated for final approval.


Prague, 1991 (Report no. 25a; Adam O’Connor, Editor-in-Chief)

Barry S. Brook (President, Commission Mixte) reported on committee performance, noting the leading participation of the U.S., German, Austrian, French, and U.K. committees, and the especially enthusiastic cooperation of the Czech, Polish, and Soviet committees. He pointed out that certain areas, such as South Slav and Spanish-language coverage had benefited considerably from the editorial efforts of Antoni Piza and Zdravko Blažeković of the International Center. He noted with regret the reduced participation of the Israeli and Swedish committees. At the end of the meeting, representatives of Finland, Japan, and Sweden volunteered that they expected improvements in participation for the next issue.

Dr. Brook submitted an accelerated two-volume per year production schedule, designed to bring RILM Abstracts to currency by 1994. He noted the introduction of the compact disc, or CD, version of RILM Abstracts, known as MUSE, and solicited any comments from MUSE subscribers and questions from others. He also solicited comments from committee members or readers on the possibility of eventually issuing RILM Abstracts in a single volume combining the abstracts and index.

Carl Skoggard (Editor) reported on procedures observed over fifteen years of editing RILM Abstracts. He described, with distributed examples, some representative style, translation, and research problems. He urged that an ounce of prevention was worth a pound of cure, and that if national committees heeded certain points, this would—without proving much of a burden to them—greatly speed the production of the volumes, insure inclusion and correctness of submitted items, and reduce the number of queries sent to committees.

Adam O’Connor (Senior Editor) relayed to the national committees the gratitude of the editorial staff of the International Center and of subscribers. He noted the loyal participation of several committees working with limited resources and hoped that every committee could eventually send even more material, despite the increased load this would mean for New York. He added a wish that the list of committees would expand soon. He noted efforts from New York to encourage committees and said that these would be expanded. He asked committee members to reflect on any. connections they had in Asian, African, or Latin American nations with an eye to addressing under representation, an acute problem outside the European-North American sphere.

An extended question-and-answer, session followed. Thomas Leibnitz (Austria) noted the stringency imposed by the accelerated schedule. He added that he found the separate abstracts and index books easy to use in tandem, as it was his habit to keep both open at once, something that would be impossible with a single bound book. Mr. O’Connor noted that this had not been considered by the International Center, but wondered if it might be a “RILM insider’s” view, since in libraries most volumes are bound together.

Norbert Böker-Heil (Germany) agreed that he found the accelerated production schedule a challenge. He added that the new, unified German committee was working well, even with strained resources. He described the alternatives: sending unabstracted items by the committee deadline or sending abstracted items a year late. Mr. O’Connor replied that it was difficult to choose between these two, timeliness and completeness being desirable and sometimes incompatible. He suggested as a compromise that the committees send materials sufficient to keep the International Center fully occupied, thus “buying time” to do more work on the balance. Personally, in an emergency, he would prefer that the materials go in on time, even without abstracts. He urged that committees send materials promptly in small batches, so that the International Center would (1) have no lull in materials received and (2) be able to give time to the inevitably voluminous late-coming materials.

Dr. Böker-Heil added that he had often received replies to queries late from the International Center. Mr. O’Connor said that he was unaware of this, and that, in the future, quick answers could be expected from Heather Platt and himself.

Lenore Coral (United States) reiterated her past objections to the index’s preoccupation with first names. She said that this was not an example of standard bibliographic practice. Especially with authors known only by their initials, she could not appreciate the desirability of entering them with full first names. Mr. Skoggard replied that he thought that the index had been relaxing its first-name demands for authors—as opposed to subjects—with initials for first names.

Anders Lönn (Sweden) objected to NISC’s contractual requirement that a CD be returned upon the cancellation or lapse of a MUSE subscription. He noted that Music Index had no such requirements, and that he had raised this objection to Terence Ford some time earlier. Mr. O’Connor noted that RILM had entered into a five-year contract with NISC, and was thus legally bound to whatever provisions were in it. He felt that NISC’s knowledge of the field and its wish to protect its perceived interests should be considered and that, practically, if NISC were persuaded that it had burdened MUSE with an uncompetitive feature such as the return requirement, that it would removed. Others remarked that CDs were treated as leased items and that returning them at the close of the lease agreement was standard.

The observation was made that certain cut-and-paste changes were routinely made to RILM Abstracts after it was typeset; this raising the question of whether the fact that MUSE was a translation of RILM Abstracts‘ typesetting tape meant that there were uncorrected errors on MUSE. Mr. O’Connor explained that most of the cut-and-paste changes made to the book were either of a cosmetic nature that did not affect electronic delivery, or the addition of exotic diacritics that were likewise not available on the DIALOG file or on MUSE. He went on to say that all the data on the CD was subject to continual correction in a way that no printed book was, and that in some aspects the data for past years on MUSE (data reviewed before the first MUSE release) was actually more accurate than in the printed volumes. He noted that practical limits, such as the need to input new material as quickly as possible, imposed a limit on the amount of correction that could be undertaken, but that the potential for correcting data was great.