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Summary of Activities, 1996-97

Barbara Dobbs Mackenzie, Editor-in-Chief

Size of the volumes: The following chart lists the number of entries in each volume. The publication date demonstrates the widening, then narrowing gap between the year covered and the publication date. RILM’s goal is to decrease this gap to two years; we are currently at two years and six months.

Vol.Number of EntriesPub. Date Vol.Number of EntriesPub. Date Vol.Number of EntriesPub. Date
19672,5321969 19776,0421982 19879,8441991
19684,3111970 19786,0421983 198811,7531992
19695,1061971? 19795,9161984 198912,9501993
19704,2011972? 19805,9271985 199012,0931994
19714,6391973 19816,6411986 199112,8021994
19724,1591975 19826,1651987 199214,598Dec. 1995
19734,5041975 19836,6541988 199315,119Aug. 1996
19744,2351976 19847,6811989 199416,782June. 1997
19754,7011978 19857,6391990    
197617,121*1980 19867,0591991    

Vol. XXVIII (1994): Vol. 28 was sent to the printer at the end of June 1997. It contains 16,782 records, which is ca. 11% larger than Vol. 27. Vol. 28 was completed in just over ten months, during which we also completed Cumulative Index 5 (see below). As our volumes continue to grow, they become more cumbersome to use; to help compensate for this, Vol. 28 is printed on slightly thinner—though still high-quality, acid-free—paper (606 pages per inch instead of 500 pages per inch). As a result, Vol. 28 is no thicker than Vol. 27.

Vol. XXIX (1995): We have completed work on the first 2000 abstracts of Vol. 29, which we plan to publish next spring. With this volume, a new work flow has been initiated at the International Center in order to provide monthly updates to our online services. Instead of finishing half a book at a time, as we did with Vol. 28, we are now completing the editing and proofreading of 2000 records before moving on to the next 2000. It should take approximately four weeks to complete each batch; thus, each month, 2000 fully abstracted and indexed records, along with about 300 additional current citations, will be uploaded to OCLC’s FirstSearch and Epic and to NISC’s BiblioLine.

Cumulative Index 5: Cumulative Index 5, covering Vols. 21-25 (1987-91), was completed in November 1996 and contains 1013 pages. We anticipated that sales for this volume would be low, since many subscribers now have access to RILM online or on CD-ROM, rendering a cumulative index unnecessary. However, sales for this index exceeded our expectations; many subscribers still rely on the printed volumes.

Current Citations: The current citations project, approved by the Commission Mixte at last year’s IAML meeting, has proved to be a great success. Beginning in 1996, the International Center began to add article citations for major music periodicals as soon as the periodicals are published. The citations are taken primarily from journals we receive in the office; some citations from electronically submitted data are also included. RILM’s national committees have been consulted regarding the titles to include. Already several thousand citations from 1996 and 1997 have been entered on our database, and our CD-ROM and online products currently include 3376 citations from 1996 and 733 citations from December through June 1997. These short citations are not abstracted or indexed, but they are classified by major topic, and title translations are provided for non-English titles. Of course all of the data is searchable. When our normal editing work catches up to these citations, all will be replaced with fully indexed and (where committees have supplied them) abstracted records. This project has served to bring RILM’s electronic products completely up-to-date.

RILM Online: RILM has been available online through OCLC for one year, and subscriptions to this service are growing: Some 500 institutions searched RILM on OCLC in the month of April alone. OCLC has made some significant improvements to its search interface recently, and the result is that both sophisticated and basic searches are easier and more effective. RILM became available on a second online web search service, NISC’s BiblioLine, last month. This search interface is almost identical to the CD-ROM interface, with three search modes: Novice, Advanced, and Expert. While OCLC offers institutional annual subscriptions and pay-per-search options, NISC offers institutional annual subscriptions and reduced-rate subscriptions for individuals. Both online services are updated monthly, providing the most complete, up-to-the-minute RILM coverage.

RILM on CD-ROM: RILM’s CD-ROM, produced by NISC as the MuSe disc, continues to improve and expand each year. The latest release (July 1997) includes all complete RILM records from 1969-94 as well as current citations through June 1997. Beginning in 1998 the CD-ROM will be updated quarterly, and a Windows version is expected to be released.

Website: RILM’s website (, designed by Alan Green, has now been online for a year. News about RILM, subscription information, staff and national committee lists and contact information, etc., are available there. The site’s most sophisticated section, however, is entitled “Send Abstracts to RILM”. From there, one can either print out the standard RILM form, fill it in, and mail it to us, or one can enter abstracts directly into the interactive forms, click the SEND button, and the records are FTP’d to RILM in a format that is automatically uploaded into our database. The International Center has received approximately 250 web documents from national committees and some directly from authors.

Old Data: The 1967 and 1968 data, which has never been in machine readable form, has been completely tagged and is ready to be uploaded into our database. These two years will be added to our CD-ROM and online products early in 1998. In addition, we have begun to clean up our pre-1989 data, which has been inaccessible to us because it was produced on a different system that resulted in a different format. The goals of this clean-up are to reformat the data to match our current system, and to load it into our database where we can make any corrections needed and conform all entries to current style and authority lists. This is a long-term project; we are currently working on RILM’s 1988 data, and will work backwards from there.

International Thesaurus: The International Thesaurus was put on hold while we raced to get Vol. 28 and Cumulative Index 5 finished. We plan to resume work on it this year and, when it is done, it will include RILM’s English-language thesaurus and translations into as many as 20 languages. Many national committees have already helped us with these translations.

Windows 95 application: As part of our ongoing effort to ensure that RILM remains technologically up-to-date, RILM’s programmer has begun to rewrite our database program for Windows 95. Part of every staff meeting is currently devoted to brainstorming about what changes would be helpful to our work, while our programmer works to implement them. We expect that by late fall the new application will be ready to test.

Staff: RILM’s staff has been unusually stable this year. No editors left and no new editors, whose training takes so much time, were hired, which has resulted in a high level of productivity. Zdravko Blažeković is now the Executive Editor, and Kristine Day is Managing Editor. In addition, Suzanne Osborne, an excellent editor who worked at RILM in 1991 and 1992 and returned in 1995, has been promoted to Senior Editor.
Move:The CUNY Graduate Center is scheduled to move into a newly renovated building (the old B. Altman Building, across from the Empire State Building on Fifth Avenue) in the summer of 1998. However, it may be that the move will not happen until January of 1999, or possibly even the following summer. RILM’s space in the new building will be almost the same size as our current space.

Barbara Dobbs Mackenzie