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Summary of Activities, 2001-02

Barbara Dobbs Mackenzie, Editor-in-Chief

Overview: RILM’s 2001-02 year has been marked by opportunities and challenges. The national committees are working hard; they submitted almost 15,000 records this year. Volume 31 has been published, Volume 32 is expected to be completed in late 2002, and the electronic versions of RILM already include up-to-the-moment records. Not only has RILM made great strides toward currency online and on CD-ROM, we have also begun to work backwards, expanding the bibliography in both directions. Technological problems have continued to plague our in-house database system, but a new system is soon to be launched.

Progress: While RILM’s editors have focused on editing and indexing abstracts for the forthcoming printed volume, assistant editors have keyed records into the RILM database for the most recent years. There are six assistant editors on staff now, triple the number of just a few years ago, reflecting RILM’s mission to be as current as possible online and on CD-ROM. As a result, submissions to the International Center are entering the database much more quickly than in the past, and are published online (sometimes with unedited abstracts) almost immediately thereafter. In addition, for all journals received at the International Center—and these number several hundred now—article citations are published within two months of receipt. Thanks to this effort, work on current years has advanced, as of July 2002, to the point shown in the following chart. The number of records for each year present in our in-house database is listed; the number in parentheses indicates how many of these have already been published online, either as citations only or with unedited abstracts.

Publication Year
(corresponding print volume)
Records in database (published)
1999 (Vol. 33)18,095 (15,843)
2000 (Vol. 34)7,987 (7,323)
2001 (Vol. 35)5,732 (5,350)
2002 (Vol. 36)1,797 (1,349)

Statistics as of 1 July 2002

RILM Online and on CD-ROM: RILM continues to be available on CD-ROM through NISC, and online through OCLC (FirstSearch) and NISC (BiblioLine), and as of February 2002, through Ovid’s SilverPlatter interface as well. The online versions are updated monthly, and the CD-ROM is updated quarterly. Thanks to a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, in 2002 RILM completed the work of digitizing its 1967 and 1968 data (6,625 records, never before in machine-readable form) and adding this data to its electronic file.

RILM on OCLC is now available as an annual FirstSearch subscription only (with unlimited searching), and no longer as a pay-per-search database.

All three vendors have enhanced RILM online significantly this year, including linking to full-text journal articles, library holdings, the ability to export records formatted for bibliographic managers such as ProCite and Endnote, and much more. NISC now offers online subscriptions to RIPM and RISM as well as RILM, and all three databases can be searched simultaneously or separately.

RILM in print: Volume XXXI (1997): After much delay, due largely to technological problems with RILM’s in-house database system and the CUNY network over which it runs, Vol. 31 was shipped to the printer in the fall of 2001, and was mailed to subscribers by the end of the year. It contains 19,689 records, by far the largest RILM volume to date.

Volume XXXII (1998): Vol. 32 is scheduled to go to the printer in late 2002.

Retrospective Congress Reports: Thanks to a generous grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, RILM was able to hire three editors and one assistant editor to focus solely on accessing, editing, and indexing congress reports from 1966 back to the 19th century. We think this is particularly valuable data for our users, and we view it as the first step in developing a robust retrospective file. Four sources formed the starting points for this project: (1) abstracts collected years ago by Barry S. Brook; (2) Tyrrell and Wise’s A Guide to International Congress Reports in Musicology, 1900-1975 (New York: Garland, 1979); (3) Briquet’s La musique dans les congrès internationaux, 1835-1939 (Paris, Société française de musicologie, 1961); and (4) the list of congress reports in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 2nd edition (2001). Based on these sources, RILM editors, with some help from members of the Music Library Association, wrote some 6500 abstracts for music-related papers presented at conferences between 1835 and 1966.

Scope Guidelines: After much discussion of a revision of RILM’s scope guidelines last year at IAML, the Commission Mixte is close to approving a final draft. Once approved, the new guidelines will be sent to all national committees, and posted on RILM’s website ( The revision takes into account the expanding nature of musical inquiry, its many subdisciplines with their varying resource needs, and the ever-increasing role of e-publications.

New database application: The development of RILM’s new database system has been entrusted to SoftWhite, Inc., a New York-based company. The primary programmers working on the project are Rick White and Will Limratana. The system will be a SQL Server database with a Web-based interface written in ASP/VB. Work has been much delayed, in part because of September 11 (our programmers’ offices were next door to the World Trade Center; they were unable to go to work there for some time after the attack). We’d hoped to begin using the new database early in 2002, but we have not yet reached the testing phase. We expect the new system to speed up our work at the International Center through the introduction of many new efficiencies, including easy defaulting from authority lists, the ability to view abstracts while indexing, and providing filtering systems that allow editors to focus on those records that are within their spheres of expertise. Moreover, national committee members should be able to use the database over the Internet, allowing them to key records directly into the database, while, for the first time, having access to RILM’s authority tables and editorial systems as they work. This should improve the uniformity of RILM’s data, provide committees with an efficient system to support their efforts, and eliminate the need for rekeying data at the International Center.

RILM and JSTOR: RILM has been working with JSTOR on developing their new Music Collection, a digitized set of full-runs of core music journals. RILM’s role was to help in the selection of journals to be included. To do this, we convened a committee of musicologists, ethnomusicologists, theorists, and librarians, provided them with JSTOR’s guidelines for inclusion, and asked them each to submit a ranked list of the most important periodicals for musicology, ethnomusicology, and music theory. The results were collated, and the final list included some 35 titles. JSTOR is now in the process of negotiating agreements with these journals and publishers. The next stage will be the digitizing of those journals that have agreed to participate. The RILM bibliography will eventually be linked to the full-text articles in JSTOR’s Music Collection.

Staff: As mentioned above, RILM hired 4 new staff members in December 2001 to focus on the retrospective congress report project: David Bloom (who is returning to RILM after a hiatus of several years), Michael Adelson (also an Assistant Conductor of the New York Philharmonic), Susan Poliniak (with years of experience editing music text books), and Leonard Lionnet (a doctoral student in composition at CUNY). These new colleagues have increased the staff of the International Center to 24. This summer four people are leaving: Senior Editors Andrea Saposnik (who is finishing her D.M.A. degree in voice and will be teaching) and Elizabeth Wollman (who is finishing her Ph.D. in ethnomusicology and will be seeking a teaching job), Accessions Editor Mark Pottinger (who is working on his Ph.D. in musicology and will begin a teaching post at Manhattan College), and Assistant Editor Michael Berry (who is working on his Ph.D. in theory and will begin teaching at the College of New Jersey). They will all be much missed. We are currently advertising for new staff members.

September 11: When tragedy struck the U.S.A. on 11 September, everyone on our staff was fine, if shaken. Our office is located in mid-town, across from the Empire State Building and some distance from the World Trade Center site. In the weeks following the attack, my e-mail was innundated with messages from all over the world—mostly from the national committees and IAML members—expressing concern, support, and solidarity. It was very touching, even overwhelming, and helped us all enormously. I shared each message with the entire staff, and have carefully saved every one of them. When RILM helped organize a benefit concert shortly after the attack, we printed out many of these messages and hung them on a bulletin board at the back of the concert hall. During intermission, we encouraged the audience to peruse them. The messages are a moving tribute to our worldwide community of collaborators and colleagues. The RILM International Center would like to thank IAML members and the national committees from the bottom of our hearts for this incredible response.