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Summary of Activities, 2010-11

Barbara Dobbs Mackenzie, Editor-in-Chief

Overview: Répertoire International de Littérature Musicale (RILM) is a comprehensive bibliography of writings about music serving the global music research community. Today RILM has over 650,000 records in 214 languages from 151 countries. All document types are covered in RILM, including e-publications, journal articles, books, dissertations, conference proceedings and Festschriften at the article level, reviews, critical editions, and more.

In the year ending 30 June 2011, 39,796 publications as well as 5330 reviews were added to the database. Compared with last year, the national committees submitted almost the same number of citations and a higher number of abstracts. Some aspects of the database have changed, including the classification system and some document type designations. RILM continues to be available by subscription on EBSCOHost and ProQuest, and improvements to the online versions of RILM are aimed at allowing easier and more robust searching capabilities for researchers. Subscriptions are stable and usage has increased considerably.

Most importantly, RILM continues to consider how it can best serve the academic music community, and, as always, suggestions and input are very welcome.

Committees: This year RILM’s national committees contributed citations for 18,695 new bibliographic main records and 1201 reviews, and added 13,699 abstracts. (Last year we received 18,301 new records, 1310 reviews, and 12,592 abstracts). RILM colleagues in the U.S. submitted more than 5000 records this year, in China more than 4000, in Germany more than 3000, and in Russia and Poland more than 1200 each. The Dutch committee submitted over 500 records. Committees submitting between 100 and 500 records include Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Croatia, the Czech Republic, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, and the U.K. Those national committees from smaller countries that steadfastly contribute abstracts of their important publications to RILM are every bit as valuable, and RILM acknowledges and thanks all of them. We are delighted to announce the establishment of a new committee in Cyprus, headed by Annini Tsiouti. Without our committees, one of the strongest aspects of the database—its international coverage—would be far weaker. For a list of all national committees and members, see

As always, the RILM International Center in New York does its best to add publications not contributed by the national committees or by authors. This year 22,261 main records and 4448 reviews originated at the International Center. However, because the Center has limited or no access to publications in many countries, the only way to ensure their representation in RILM is with local help. To this end, RILM would like to establish new committees in countries that do not actively participate at present, and to add contributors to committees that are not able to keep up with their country’s publications. If you would like to become involved in the RILM project or know of colleagues who might be interested in doing so—or if you just want to find out more about what this involves—please contact Barbara Dobbs Mackenzie ( or Zdravko Blažeković (

Irish National Committee: In honor of IAML’s host this year, and in recognition of the successful revival of its RILM committee, RILM would like to draw attention to the work of the Irish National Committee. Chaired by Kerry Houston at the Dublin Institute of Technology, the members are Adèle Commins, Catherine Ferris, Helen Lyons, Maria McHale, Denise Neary, and Bryan Quigley. The previous Irish committee had been quiet for a few years, resulting in a backlog of entries. One of the most important developments during the year was the clearing of this backlog with the assistance of a grant from the Music Libraries Trust (UK), which enabled the committee to pay a researcher to work on records for Irish books and theses that had not been updated in the RILM database. The number of Irish records has been increased this year by more than 300 records, including the addition of 64 new abstracts to previously existing citations. While there is still some backlog of records in other formats and some records still without abstracts, the committee has identified a number of contacts and means of ensuring that a backlog of books and theses will be avoided in the future. One important development is this regard is that Roy Stanley, Music Librarian, Trinity College Dublin (TCD), has agreed to provide regular updates on the books submitted by legal deposit to TCD. Catherine Ferris, Assistant Librarian at the Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) Music & Drama Library, maintains the Society for Musicology in Ireland (SMI) Music Theses Register (, and will ensure that that all updates from that source will be added to RILM. Furthermore, the Irish committee made presentations at the SMI postgraduate students’ conference at Queens University Belfast in January and the SMI annual conference at the Royal Irish Academy of Music in June, thus communicating the work of the committee to musicologists throughout Ireland.

Catherine Ferris created a series of online video tutorials to encourage author submissions to RILM. These video demonstrations show how to create records for books (monograph),articles in a periodical,articles in a symposiumdissertations, electronic resources, and reviews. The tutorials were launched at the SMI conference in June together with a demonstration featured on the RILM Ireland page of the SMI website. The series of videos were also sent to the Executive Committee of IAML (UK and Ireland) as well as to the RILM International Center for further dissemination, and are available to view at

Author Submissions: If you are a music researcher, do check the RILM database to be sure your complete bibliography is represented. Doing so supports the efforts of our national committees and staff and helps to assure RILM’s comprehensive coverage. Moreover, now that RILM is searched almost 300,000 times every week, the presence of your publications and those of your colleagues ensures that researchers around the world will be able to discover this work. The submissions process is easy now: Simply log into the system on the RILM website at (creating a login takes only a minute), where you can search your name and see which of your publications are in RILM and which are missing. You can add new abstracts to already existing records (in English or in any other language or alphabet) and you can key in new records quickly. Last year 1051 records were added using these submissions forms.

Classification Change: In the spring of 2011 RILM amended its classification system for two main reasons: (1) with the increase in the number of records in the database, individual classes in the old system were becoming too large to facilitate efficient and meaningful searches; and (2) the discipline as well as RILM’s coverage of individual countries (especially in Asia) have changed over time and the old classification system was no longer adequate. For example, since the beginning of RILM, all records on Asian music were classified in 33 Ethnomusicology: Asia, seeming to suggest that in Asian countries all studies deal with ethnomusicological topics, and that Asian countries do not have a history of art music.

Except in two cases where entirely new classes were introduced (see below), the material is still placed in the same general class as before, but with decimal subdivision making it now easier to search either by continent or by narrower concept. Therefore the old classification will not conflict with the new system. All these changes were based on in-house experience with the abstracted material.

The main changes made to the classification system are the following:

The overall heading of the group of classes previously called “Ethnomusicology” (30-39) has been renamed to “Traditional music and non-Western art music”.

Asia (class 33) is subdivided as follows: Asia: General (33.0); Asia: Traditional music (33.1), and Asia: History of art music (33.2).

Jazz and Blues (class 38) and Popular music (class 39) used to be organized under the broader heading “Ethnomusicology”. They are no longer subsumed under this heading, but stand alone without broader heading.

Popular music (39) is geographically subclassified by continent.

Dance (76) is subdivided as follows: Ballet (76.21); Post-ballet dance developments (76.29); Social dance (divided by continent; 76:32-76:37); Jazz and musical theater (76:38); Popular stage dance & music video (76:39); Traditional theatrical dance (76.42-76:47).

Dramatic arts (77) is subdivided as follows: Theater studies as discipline (77.1), Opera (77.11), Popular music theater (77.12), Libretto (77.13), Film and television (77.14), Music video (77.15), Multimedia theater (77.16), Incidental music (77.17), Set design, staging, directing (77.18); Traditional dramatic arts (further divided by continent, 77.32-77.27).

Literature (78) is subdivided as follows: Literature studies as discipline (78.1), Song texts (78.2), Traditional literature & epics (subdivided by continent, 78:32-78:37).

Religion: Protestant (94) is subdivided by denomination: Lutheran (94.1), Calvinist (94.2), Anabaptist (94.3), Anglican/Episcopal (94.4), Baptist (94.5), Methodist (94.6), Pentacostal (94.7), Adventist (94.8).

Sound sources (40) is subdivided as follows: Organology as discipline (40.1), Conducting (40.2), and Orchestra (40.0).

Classes for instruments (strings, winds, percussions; 44-46) can be searched by continent.

Here is an example for the strings classification under sound sources: 44 String (chordophones), general

__44.2 Africa, general

____44.21 North Africa

____44.22 Sub-Saharan Africa

__44.3 Asia

____44.31 East Asia (includes Mongolia and Sibir’)

____44.32 South Asia

____44.33 Southeast Asia

__44.4 Europe

__44.5 North America (north of Mexico)

__44.6 Mexico, Caribbean, Central America, South America

__44.7 Australia, New Zealand, & Oceania

The newly introduced classes are:

Class 13: Imaginative literature (including film). We noticed in recent years an increase of reviews of fictional biographies, both on film and in literature, published in scholarly periodicals. The most obvious examples of such items are Milos Forman’s film Amadeus and Josef Skvorecky’s novel Dvořák in Love. Previously we did not have a class that accommodated these items adequately.

Class 67: Improvisation. Records on improvisation used to be classified with other material mostly in “Performance Practice & Notation: General” (class 50), but also in other places.

Document Types and Prioritization: In order to restrict searches to scholarly literature only, RILM has introduced three new document types that can be used as search parameters. As before, articles published in academic journals are designated with the document type AP. Non-academic periodicals are now classified as magazines (document type AM), newsletters (document type AL), and newspapers (document type AN).

Journals: As of July 2011, RILM’s database included a total of 12,264 journal titles (646 of them electronically available on open web). These titles originate from 122 countries.

Core music journals686Flagship journals of music studies; all articles are abstracted and all reviews are cited (with the exception of film and sound recording reviews, which are cited at the discretion of RILM national committees or staff editors).
Secondary music journals656Periodicals deemed significant for music studies. They are systematically scanned for articles that fall within RILM’s scope guidelines, and these articles are abstracted.
Tertiary music journals602Journals less oriented toward music scholarship and not systematically covered.
Non-music journals2504Multi-disciplinary journals that may occasionally have articles related to music; there coverage is selective accordingly.

About 7,800 journals in RILM have not been categorized yet, but since none of these titles is represented in the database with more than 4 records, it is highly likely that they will all join the group of non-music periodicals.

RILM Online: RILM is currently available by subscription on the EBSCOhost and ProQuest platforms. Both platforms have increasing search, browse, and display capabilities, now in roman and non-roman scripts. Users will also find an increasing number of abstracts in the language of publication (alongside the English abstract).

ProQuest is poised to launch RILM on its new user interface by the end of the summer. The interface will feature many easily browsable categories, including, for example, RILM’s main index headings as well as other categories such as instruments and ethnic groups (e.g., Aka people, Akan people, Akha people).

RILM’s online distributors report monthly usage statistics to us, and these reports have shown steady, large increases in usage in recent years, and particularly in the 2010-11 year. From 1 July 2010 to 30 June 2011 RILM was searched over 15 million times—nearly double the number of searches in the previous year. Thus RILM is searched almost 300,000 times every week.

BiblioLore: Simply by virtue of what we do, RILM editors have a unique perspective on music literature, and in October 2009 we launched the blog Bibliolore for sharing our observations with people who find them interesting and relevant to their work. Our focus includes matters of practical interest to music librarians and researchers—publication types, new periodicals, new series, resources, and so on—as well as particular writings that arouse our curiosity or make us smile. All posts have direct relationships to one or more entries in our database. We don’t include things that typically appear on more general musicology or librarianship blogs or listservs—we want to bring our readers things that they might not encounter elsewhere.

Since its inception in October 2009 Bibliolore has had over 31,000 visitors; the busiest month so far was March 2011, with 2704 visitors. At the moment our most popular post has been “Not a universal language” (, which has been multiply tweeted and linked to on other sites, resulting in over 1250 views. Incidentally, the post summarizes part of an essay included in our book Music’s intellectual history (2009).

Facebook: RILM has a Facebook page, developed in an effort to increase communication with our users and contributors. To find the page, go to and search for RILM. There you will find information about RILM, as well as an RSS feed from our website. If you choose to become a friend of RILM’s, you will receive updates when there is news to report. Most of all, we hope the page encourages dialogue with our users about accessing and navigating the database. There is a box at the top of the page where you can write comments, feedback, suggestions, or questions. RILM staff will be monitoring and responding to these communications, and friends can join in the discussions.

Barbara Dobbs Mackenzie