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Summary of Activities, 2012-13

Barbara Dobbs Mackenzie, Editor-in-Chief

Overview: There is a great sense of momentum at RILM these days. Productivity has increased significantly thanks to a concerted effort to increase our rate of record completion per staff hour. The national committees are fairly stable, though their contribution levels have declined somewhat. The online database has been updated every month as expected, and the RILM subscriber base has increased this year. We continue to work with our distributors, EBSCO and ProQuest, to improve the online interfaces, and both have added new features for the benefit of RILM’s users. And perhaps the biggest news is that RILM published a new file—RILM Retrospective Abstracts of Music Literature—in late June.

RILM Retrospective: RILM launched RILM Retrospective Abstracts of Music Literature in June 2013 through EBSCO. ProQuest plans to publish the new file as well, perhaps early next year. At launch, the database includes the following:

  • Conference proceedings from 1835 to 1966.
  • Festschriften back to 1840 published in honor of music scholars.
  • Anniversary volumes published before 1967 in honor of composers and musicians, and some music institutions, performing organizations, etc.
  • Other document types.

The file will be updated monthly. We are currently in the process of adding articles in journals not indexed by RIPM; the two databases will continue to be complementary.

Committees: In the 2012–13 fiscal year committees contributed citations for 15,284 new bibliographic records and 1949 reviews, and added 11,824 abstracts. (For comparison, last year we received 18,695 new records, 1201 reviews, and 13,699 abstracts). The largest citation contributions came from the United States (5558), China (4237), and Russia (2836). The German committee is always a very important contributor to RILM as well, generally submitting between 2500 and 3000 records annually to the database. Due to a technical issue, the committee has not been able to send their last two batches, but expects to do so in due course. Next year’s submission numbers, therefore, are expected to be especially large from this committee.

Within the last year RILM has developed an automated process to upload MARC-format records for U.K. publications downloaded by the British committee from the online catalogue of the British Library.

Committees submitting between 100 and 500 records include Austria, Belgium, Croatia, the Czech Republic, France, Greece, Hungary, Japan, New Zealand, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, 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 to RILM and its users as the countries publishing and submitting a large number of publications. Without our committees, one of the strongest aspects of the database—its international coverage—would be far more limited indeed. For a list of all national committees and members, see

Of course, the staff of the RILM International Center in New York does its best to add bibliographic information for the publications not contributed by the national committees or by authors. This year some two-thirds of the records added to the database 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. Particularly critical areas with scarce coverage in RILM are the Middle East, Central Asia, South Asia, and parts of South America and Africa. If you are interested in becoming involved with the RILM project, or if you know of colleagues who might be interested in doing so, please contact Barbara Dobbs Mackenzie ( ) or Zdravko Blažeković (

Author submissions: RILM strongly encourages authors to submit records of their publications directly into the database by using the forms available at Through these forms, authors can create citations; they can also add abstracts and reviews to existing records.

In FY 2013, ca. 700 main publication records were submitted by authors, 600 of which have been verified, edited, and indexed by the RILM editorial staff. Authors also added 48 abstracts and 32 reviews to existing RILM records. These numbers are slightly higher than last year’s author submissions of 660 main publications and 19 reviews.

RILM online: RILM continues to be available online through the EBSCOhost and the ProQuest platforms.

EBSCO : This year brought subtle but significant changes to the user experience of RILM on the EBSCOhost platform. Most importantly, the thesaurus of personal names that RILM has been compiling has been fully implemented. The result is that a search for any spelling of a name that is in our thesaurus, even in a non-Latin alphabet, will retrieve all records related to that name. We have also begun implementing the terms thesaurus, with 1485 already represented in the database.

Users can now search for journal titles using non-Latin characters, and the titles of such journals are now displayed in full records. Improvements have been made in the alphabetical ordering of the browsable lists of “Names”, “Subjects”, “Instrument families”, and “Countries” that were implemented last year. Display inconsistencies have been resolved, and DOIs are now displayed in full records and linked to the relevant item.

ProQuest : Regarding the presentation of RILM on the ProQuest platform, DOIs are now properly displayed in full records and linked. Also, clicking on a subject term now searches for the string of terms up to that point. For example, given the indexing string “improvisation > jazz > piano playing”, clicking on “improvisation” retrieves all records with “improvisation” as subject, but clicking “piano playing” finds only those records that concern improvisation in jazz piano playing. More improvements are expected when ProQuest completes the reload and update of RILM on their platform before the end of the year.

We continue to work with both vendors to resolve issues related to the export of citations into bibliography-management software.

Usage: The exponentially increasing searches of RILM mentioned in last year’s report have continued. Here is the number of searches run against the RILM database on the EBSCO platform for each of the previous five 11-month periods (11 because we did not yet have June 2013 statistics when this report was generated, so for consistency, each period below covers 1 July through 31 May):

FY 2013 (11 months): 64,294,327
FY 2012 (11 months): 43,646,660
FY 2011 (11 months): 13,736,285
FY 2010 (11 months): 6,265,732
FY 2009 (11 months): 4,287,342

The FY 2013 figure breaks down to more than 5.3 million searches per month, which is over 1.2 million per week. Much of this increase is likely attributable to the EBSCO Discovery Service and other federated searching situations.

Indexing matters: medical institutionsgender studies, and migrations. The latter replaces diaspora studies, which we realized was too limited to reflect the scope of current materials.

Bibliolore: Since its inception in October 2009 the RILM blog, Bibliolore (, has had over 129,000 visitors. Over the past year its audience has grown dramatically—from 4024 visitors in January 2012 to 8327 in January 2013. It is rare for a day to pass with fewer than 100 visitors. Most come from North America, but people from all of the other populated continents are visiting it also; each month the tally of different visiting countries is around 100.

Last year we reported that “Sexual attraction by genre” ( and “Beethoven and Peanuts” ( were the most-viewed posts; now “Mozart and folk proverbs” ( is in first place, with “Beethoven and Peanuts” coming in second.

Other social media: RILM has been using other social media as well to communicate with our community in as many ways as possible. We’ve had a Facebook page for several years now, and our blog posts appear there along with other newsworthy items. The RILM Twitter account (handle: RILMMusicLit), begun one year ago, now has 159 followers, and we’ve tweeted 111 times. We also have a one-year-old Tumblr page that automatically publishes our blog posts (

Database growth: From 1 July 2012, the beginning of RILM’s fiscal year (FY), to 11 June 2013, when this report was generated, 45,662 publications (not including reviews) were added to the database, and 45,811 records were given complete editorial and indexing treatment. In addition, 4,164 reviews were added. The total number of records in the database now stands at 744,260, of which 649,028 are main record citations and 95,143 are reviews.

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Barbara Dobbs Mackenzie