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Summary of Activities, 2000-01

Barbara Dobbs Mackenzie, Editor-in-Chief

Overview: RILM’s year has been one of challenges and opportunities. Due largely to technological problems, the publication of Vol. 31 has been significantly delayed. On the other hand, the resolution of these problems is in sight, work on Vol. 32 has proceeded despite the delays, and several of RILM’s long-term goals are finally within reach. The RILM national committees are going strong; they submitted over 14,000 records this year.

Volume XXXI (1997): The publication of Vol. 31 (1997) has been delayed due primarily to problems with our database program. However, the final pages are currently being printed and the final index edit and proof is underway. The completed volume will be sent to the printer by the end of July. This volume will be considerably larger than any previous RILM volume, containing just under 20,000 records.

Volume XXXII (1998): During a two-month suspension of work on Vol. 31 (due to the above-mentioned technological problems), editors turned their attention to Vol. 32 (1998), with the result that, while Vol. 31 is still not published, significant progress has been made on the next volume. This volume already contains some 21,000 records and is likely to reach 24,000 by the time the editors at the International Center finish accessing submissions for this volume. We hope to publish it by late next spring.

Volume XXXIII-XXXV (1999-2001): Vol. 33 (1999) already contains 8500 records; Vol. 34 (2000) contains 2500 records; and Vol. 35 (2001) contains 1600 records. This is the result of RILM’s current citations initiative.

Guidelines: In response to the broadening disciplines of music scholarship and the expansion of publishing media, as well as to ensure more uniform coverage among committees, RILM is considering a revision of our coverage guidelines. Some issues involved in this will form the basis of our discussion at this IAML meeting.

New database application: RILM’s in-house database system, designed for Paradox 9 for Windows, has been very unreliable and unstable since we first began to use it, delaying significantly the publication of our current volume. After many failed attempts to fix it, it has become clear that we must begin again to design a modern, reliable, and efficient system for the RILM database. It will be a SQL Server database with a web-based interface. We are hoping to be able to establish several user levels, including two for people outside of the International Center: One for committee members to use, which will enable them to access the database directly, and one (with very limited access) for authors or other volunteers who want to submit a record. We are still working out many of the specifications for this, so stay tuned for the final results. We hope to have a test version by fall. In the meantime, the popular submission forms written by Alan Green will continue to be available on RILM’s website:

RILM Website: RILM began a redesign of our website last fall, which has not yet been completed. Nevertheless, you can see the changes on several of the initial pages, so please take a look if you haven’t recently. The web address is More changes will be coming in the next six months; if you have suggestions for it, or items you would like us to add, please let us know!

RILM Online: RILM continues to be available online through OCLC’s FirstSearch and NISC’s BiblioLine. SilverPlatter will also offer subscriptions to RILM online by fall. All three will be updated monthly with new records. NISC has worked hard in the last year to improve their RILM interface and data display. The display of reviews and articles in collections is particularly excellent now. Subscribers to NISC can now also get RIPM online, and RIPM and RILM can be searched independently or simultaneously. OCLC is also working on an improved version of RILM, which they hope to launch by fall.

RILM on CD-ROM: NISC continues to produce RILM’s CD-ROM, and its interface has improved in tandem with NISC’s online interface development. The NISC CD is updated with new records quarterly. SilverPlatter is planning to create a RILM CD-ROM as well. It should be available by fall and will be updated monthly.

RILM Data from 1969 to 1988: We have been unable to access our data from before 1989, when RILM began using a modern relational database system. There have been errors of various kinds in this data, which we have been unable to fix. However, this year we discovered a way to access it, and improving this data has become a project which we expect to finish this summer. The kinds of things that have been corrected include unscrambling corrupt data, fixing journal titles and author names, correcting typos, expanding abbreviations, and adding full source information where it was missing. We believe this is a major improvement for our users.

RILM and JSTOR: JSTOR is a not-for-profit organization that digitizes and archives runs of scholarly journals. They focus on archiving, not on providing current content; when they digitize a journal, they begin with the first issue and generally stop digitizing five years prior to the latest issue, leaving the current issues for the publishers or other sources to digitize. JSTOR’s approach is to work discipline by discipline, and once they’ve decided on their next area, they find an organization within that area to advise and help them, and they apply for funding to cover the costs of digitization. JSTOR is interested in focusing on music as their next area, and in working with RILM as their music consultants. Stay tuned for developments in this exciting new venture!

RILM’s Retrospect File: A first step. RILM has received a grant from the Mellon Foundation which will support its work with JSTOR, and will also begin to help RILM develop a retrospective file, a long held dream of RILM’s that may slowly now be realized. The two first steps this grant will fund are (1) the addition of RILM’s first two years of printed data (1967 and 1968) for publication online and on CD-ROM; and (2) the addition of congress reports from 1900 to the present, which were collected by Barry Brook long ago and kept in file drawers in the Brook Center at the City University of New York.

Staff: This year there have been few staff changes at the International Center. RILM has hired several accessors in the last year to help with the large backlog of committee submissions. No new editors joined our team this year, though we hope to hire some this fall to work on the grant projects as well as on RILM’s current data. Risa Freeman, long-time RILM editor and our main index editor for years, was promoted to the position of Managing Editor last fall. She has already made a substantial impact on RILM’s business affairs in this short period of time. Kenneth Yarmey, a senior editor at RILM for some years, was promoted to Database Administrator last fall. He is the most technologically knowledgeable staff member we have, as well as an excellent editor. RILM now employs 20 part-time freelance translators to keep up with the amount of foreign-language material we receive from our committees.

Barbara Dobbs Mackenzie