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Summary of Activities, 2017-18

Overview: This year RILM has continued to support and expand the resources we provide. We have added tens of thousands of records to RILM Abstracts, tens of thousands of full-text articles to RILM Abstracts with Full Text, and four new publications to RILM Music Encyclopedias. The content and platform of MGG Online continue to be updated and enhanced. We have been preparing for the addition of a fifth resource to the RILM family: the Index to Printed Music, which came under RILM’s ownership on 1 July 2018. And we are working on creating a robust thesaurus that will help connect all resources together and deliver ever better and more powerful search results to researchers.

Along the way, RILM’s technology team has expanded this year to support our work; we have spent considerable resources on complying with the General Data Protection Regulation that came into effective on 25 May 2018; and—as ever—we have been working toward increasing our global outreach, in terms of both coverage and of marketing and sales.

RILM Abstracts of Music Literature

Database Growth: In 2017–18 the database was enlarged by 104,605 new citations and 19,163 new reviews. This is an increase of 24,500+ citations, and about 19,000 reviews over the previous year’s totals. RILM broke the one-million-record mark in spring 2018. As of 19 June 2018, there were 1,007,269 published main records in the database and 131,763 published review records. The table below shows a steady increase in the number of records added to the database over the last four years.

FYBibliographic CitationsReview Records

Records added each year

National Committees and Coverage: This year the committees have submitted a total of 24,302 bibliographic records (15,321 with abstracts) and 983 reviews—approximately the same number as the previous year. Countries that submitted over 1000 records since 1 July 2017 are Germany (6350), China (6040), the U.S. (3336), and Russia (2921). In the past year RILM has terminated the national committees of Iceland and Ireland, since they have been inactive for several years. A new committee has been established in Cuba, and we are working with India to find a way to improve RILM’s coverage of its music publications.

Retrospective Work: Since 1 July 2017 RILM has added 2965 records to the database for publications that appeared before 1967. Records for publications from before 1967 are available only in the complete RILM Abstracts of Music Literature [not the version whose title ends “(1967 to present)”] and in RAFT.

Indexing Matters: RILM has created the following new headwords: lullabieswork songs (not yet implemented), protest musicperforming groups—Internetpuppetry (previously indexed under dramatic arts), sound studiesInternet (previously indexed under mass media), music industry (previously under economics), xiqu–generalxiqu–by placexiqu–by genrequyi–generalquyi–by place, and quyi–by genre. The headword choirs has been replaced by choruses and choirs.

Biographical Authority Cards: RILM currently identifies 177,834 personal names in the thesaurus with 52,852 name variants. We attach basic biographic information to these personal names, including birth and death dates and locations, roles, nationalities. Location details come via the Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names identification numbers. The table below lists the types of biographical data attached to names. While this data is not yet available through EBSCOHost, RILM and EBSCO plan to implement it to enhance discoverability.

individual people136,466155,769177,834
name variants33,04736,75652,852
individuals w/ birth/death dates36,77544,15358,188
individuals w/ roles38,53047,65557,446
individuals w/ VIAF numbers38,62250,78763,594
individuals w/ nationalities36,03544,14952,824
individuals w/ Getty IDs attached as birth/death place16,78118,49121,384
individuals w/ Getty IDs attached as residency197327812
fully edited bio cards680481419906

Usage: The number of searches of RILM databases on EBSCOHost continues to increase every year. In the 2017-18 fiscal year, the total number of searches across RILM AbstractsRILM Abstracts with Full Text, and RILM Music Encyclopedias totaled 216,334,596 searches. (The previous year’s total was 188,025,138.) Thus RILM is searched 18 million searches per month, or over 4 million per week.

RILM Abstracts of Music Literature (RAFT)

Overview: RILM Abstracts of Music Literature with Full Text (RAFT), which launched in July 2016, expands and enhances RILM’s flagship bibliography with full-text articles in PDF. The RAFT collection currently includes 235 licensed journals from 50 countries in 40 languages. When complete, its coverage will extend back to the first published issue for almost every title, and the complete content of each issue is included–that is, not only articles and reviews, but also miscellaneous auxiliary materials such as title pages, tables of contents, front and back covers, advertisements, indexes, etc. Unlike other products providing online full-text content, each one of RAFT‘s full-text articles is linked with and searchable via RILM’s indexed and abstracted bibliographic records, thus providing users with several layers of content–from bibliographic citation, to abstract, to full-text—and superior discoverability. Information regarding each journal in the collection and its current coverage status can be found at

Progress and Projections: At launch in July 2016, the RAFT collection included over 62,000 full-text PDF records; since then the content has grown to 228,103 full-text records available as of 30 June 2018 on EBSCOHost. When complete, this collection is expected to include some 400,000 PDF records.

RILM Music Encyclopedias (RME)

RME Content: In January 2018 RILM Music Encyclopedias was expanded to include four new titles, bringing the list of titles to 49, published in print from 1775 to the present, and containing 284,668 entries. The additions were:

Ernst Ludwig Gerber. Neues Historisch-biographisches Lexikon der Tonkünstler. Leipzig: A. Kühnel, 1810–1814. 4 vols., xxxii, 974 columns; 823 columns; 942 columns; 844 columns. After Ernst Ludwig Gerber (1746–1819) completed the two-volume Historisch-biographisches Lexikon der Tonkünstler (1790–1792), J.F. Reichardt and E.F.F. Chladni, among others, contributed substantial additions. Combined with new materials that Gerber himself assembled (in particular the work of Martini, Burney, Forkel, Reichardt, and Chladny), these formed the basis for the four-volume Neues historisch-biographisches Lexikon der Tonkünstler. The information in Neues historisch-biographisches Lexikon der Tonkünstler was rethought in light of the new material. Some entries are entirely rewritten, others contain additions; many of the entries found in the Historisch-biographisches Lexikon der Tonkünstler are omitted. Gerber did not aim at a critical approach: He created a historical and biographical dictionary of musicians that contains news of the life and works of music scholars, composers, singers, music amateurs, music publishers, and manufacturers of organs, and instruments of ancient and modern times and of all nations. In spite of these some flaws, the lexicon has been considered since a unique and valuable source, especially for late-eighteenth-century music, because of the quantity of material drawn from Gerber’s personal contacts with the great musicians of his time. It continued to hold the interest of the scholarly world; Gerber himself compiled further additions, and Carl Mainberger (1816) and F.S. Kandler (1817–1820), among others, provided supplementary material. A new edition announced in 1825, however, did not come to fruition.

Tobias Bröker. The 20th century violin concertante: A repertoire catalogue of the compositions for violin concertante written between 1894 and 2006. 2d rev. ed. Stuttgart: Tobias Bröker, 2015. 2770 pp. The 20th century violin concertante is the only comprehensive repertoire compendium of compositions written in and around the twentieth century for violin in a solo role in combination with an ensemble or other instruments. Bröker’s interpretation of the term “concertante” is very inclusive, embracing any composition that contains at least a solo violin part and an accompaniment by an orchestra or larger ensemble; works featuring the violin within a group of solo instruments; and works that carry the words concertoconcertante, or their derivatives in their titles and feature prominent solo violin parts. The catalogue therefore includes tone poems, concert works, and even short miniatures of less than two minutes. The catalogue lists 13,000 compositions by more than 7000 composers, with additional information on the works. Names of Arab, Armenian, Georgian, Greek, and Persian composers are given in original script as well as in roman transcription. The catalogue does not provide any sources, though in his preface Bröker assures readers of the accuracy and integrity of the data, which largely stem from bibliographies and from the composers themselves. Because of its comprehensive approach and its wide representation of composers and works, some of which are little known and not represented elsewhere, The 20th century violin concertante is an important addition to any reference collection.

Andrea Sessa. Il melodramma italiano: Dizionario bio-bibliografico dei compositori, I: 1861–1900 and II: 1901–1925. Firenze, Leo S. Olschki Editore, 3 vols., 2003. 533 pp.; x, 1012 pp. Il melodramma italiano is an unequalled source of detailed information about the figures who defined the golden age of Italian opera. It was conceived with the intention of satisfying scholars and enthusiasts interested in little-known aspects of a period of transition in theater history—from the unification of Italy to the advent of fascism. In addition to familiar composers such as Verdi and Puccini, lesser-known figures, whose careers were intertwined with those of their more famous colleagues but whose memory survives (at best) at the local level, are included; among them are not only musicians—conductors, bandleaders and kapellmeister, organists, and music teachers—but lawyers, judges, doctors, and engineers who had a passion for the stage. Entries on Italian and foreign composers working in the chosen time period and active in the Mediterranean theater circuit (particularly in Nice, Malta, Corfu, Dalmatia) represent the most important body of material in these volumes. Each quoted work contains a description of literary sources and the plot. The two volumes count altogether 1323 biographical entries from Gennaro Abbate (1874–1954) to Guglielmo Zuelli (1859–1941). They are enriched with a comprehensive bibliography. The first volume ends with an appendix that lists repertoire and other relevant information published in the Gazzetta musicale and Trovatore between 1861 and 1900. In this way the two volumes constitute a complete and comprehensive guide to 60 years of Italian opera, specifically highlighting those who made large and small contributions to it.

Marcos Antonio Marcondes. Enciclopedia da musica brasileira: Erudita, folclorica, popular. Newly rev. ed. São Paulo: Marcos Antonio Marcondes, 2010. 1000 pp. This revised and expanded edition of Marcondes’s ultimate reference work on music in Brazil covers all musical manifestations from ca. 1500 until the present day. It contains biographies of composers, musicians, and performers of classical music, from Villa-Lobos and Bidu Saião to contemporary artists such as Almeida Prado and Nelson Freire; definitions of national rhythms and dances; and entries on performing organizations, each with additional references to facilitate further research. The Enciclopedia da música brasileira also features great interpreters and composers of Brazilian popular music, including names of the newer generation. With more than 35,000 entries, the Enciclopedia da música brasileira is an essential reference work for those interested in the classical, popular, and folk musics of Brazil.

For the complete current title list, and information about each work, see

Coming Updates and Additions: In addition to the quarterly updates to Komponisten der Gegenwart, new search-term equivalencies are added quarterly, and the following new titles are planned for inclusion in 2019:

Domingo Prat. Diccionario de Guitarristas. Buenos Aires: Romero y Fernández, 1934. 468 p.

Curt Sachs. Real-Lexikon der Musikinstrumente, zugleich ein Polyglossar für das gesamte Instrumentengebiet. Berlin: Julius Bard, 1913. xviii, 443 p.

Hortense Panum. The stringed instruments of the Middle Ages: Their evolution and development—A detailed and comprehensive history, with illustrations, of the evolution of the mediaeval stringed musical instruments from their first appearance in the records of the earliest civilisations, through their gradual development in the Greek, Roman and Christian eras down to more recent times. Translated and edited by Jeffrey Pulver. London: W. Reeves, 1940. ix, 511p.

Sibyl Marcuse. A survey of musical instruments. New York: Harper & Row, 1975. xii, 863 p.

Sibyl Marcuse. Musical instruments: A comprehensive dictionary. New York: Doubleday, 1964. xiv, 608 p.

MGG Online

Content (provided by Bärenreiter): Since launch 262 articles and major article sections have been considerably rewritten, several new articles have been contributed, and countless small revisions have been made. The content continues to be revised on a daily basis, and many more new articles are planned, particularly in the area of popular music and ethnomusicology. MGG Online maintains the excellence and high scholarly standards long associated with its print edition, offering well-researched and authoritative texts on almost every aspect of music, as well as numerous professional directories, works lists, bibliographies, tables, figures, and indexes. With the launch of a “News” section on the homepage ( on 15 August 2017, MGG Online’s content is being linked to current events of interest to the global musicological community.

Platform (provided by RILM): Development work has continued to make MGG Online a leading resource for digital research. Work over the past year has focused both on general service improvements and on facilitating maintenance and expansion of the platform. General improvements over the last year include:Redesigning several interfaces for greater clarity and usability.Adding a “News” feature for editorial staff to update users on content changes or musical happenings related to MGG Online content.

  • Adding multiple interfaces that provide more information to users regarding significant content updates.
  • Providing greater support for visually impaired users
  • Providing an interface for institutional administrators to programmatically access usage logs.
  • Significantly refining the search algorithm and site load time.
  • Supporting SAML-based institutional access.
  • Supporting delivery of metadata to discovery services.
  • Institution authentication via IPv6 addresses.
  • Identifying and publishing more links between MGG Online and RILM Abstracts subjects.

And there is more in the works, so stay tuned!

Index to Printed Music

A New RILM Resource: On 1 July 2018, RILM took over the Index to Printed Music (IPM) from the James Adrian Music Company. IPM is a digital finding aid for searching specific musical works contained in printed collections, sets, and series. It indexes individual pieces of music printed in the complete works of composers, in anthologies containing pieces from disparate historical periods, and in other scholarly editions, providing access to this content for students, scholars, teachers, and other researchers. Performers, conductors, and directors of ensembles also find IPM a valuable search tool because it provides a granular level of detail about each piece, including performing forces, language, music incipits, multiple clefs or figured bass, and more. Different editions of the same piece can be located easily. Since new volumes and works are added to existing sets and series, and new editions appear on the market continually, IPM—currently with over 550,000 entries—will contine to expand every year to be as comprehensive and up-to-date as possible.

The process of integrating IPM data into the RILM editorial database system began this year and will be complete in the next weeks. By the end of 2018, an enhanced IPM will be available via EBSCOHost with the following new features:

  • Biographical facts identifying composers, editors, and lyricists, such as birth and death dates and locations, occupations, and more, via the RILM Biographical Authority Cards
  • Hyperlinks to open-access editions
  • Music incipits for works that are otherwise difficult to distinguish from each other
  • Easy toggling between collections and the individual works contained therein
  • Expanded search filters to enable refined searching by place and date of publication, document type, genre, and language of text

These enhancements will be implemented over time, and new features are planned.

RILM Thesaurus Project

RILM initiated its new thesaurus project in September 2017. This project aims to construct an ISO 25964 and SKOS-compliant multilingual music thesaurus based on topical terms in the RILM index (including index terms tagged as T, D, Z, M, E, and I). The thesaurus will improve recall and precision of searches across RILM databases, providing a better search experience for RILM end users; increase connectivity among RILM products; enhance indexing practices at RILM by reducing inconsistencies and increasing the depth and granularity of levels of indexing, especially for non-Western musics; and more.

Other RILM News

RILM and GDPR: The European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a legal framework that defines guidelines for the collection and processing of personal information of individuals within the European Union (EU). The GDPR significantly strengthens a number of users’ rights to determine how their personal data is collected, processed, shared, and used.

In response to the requirements of GDPR, RILM has addressed all of its processes and systems where personal data is being collected so that they are GDPR compliant. Furthermore, RILM has applied the regulation to its global user community, regardless of citizenship. All public facing websites have been modified to collect only essential personal data where required to provide a service, or to obtain explicit consent from users for specific uses of their data, such as email marketing. GDPR-compliant privacy policies have been developed and published, as has all documentation as required by GDPR.

Bibliolore: RILM’s blog, Bibliolore, continues to be very active, with new posts every week and increasing numbers of viewers. To our surprise and delight, our five-year-old post The sultan’s bagpipes became very popular when it was linked in a post by Quick Facts, earning it over 2000 hits in a single day. We also saw a surge of interest in our four-year old post Slonimsky and Coltrane, apparently because jazz enthusiasts discovered that it contained little-known information about John Coltrane’s practising habits.

As we have done for some time now, this year we continued our tradition of celebrating “round birthdays” (those ending in zeros) of musical figures—both well-known ones, like Irving Berlin (Irving Berlin and jazz), and those less remembered today but no less worthy, like Ananthalakshmi Sadagopan. All of our birthday posts are linked here.

Here are the top 10 posts (hyperlinked) from the past year:

The Sultan’s bagpipes2766
Mahler and Beyoncé2462
Slonimsky and Coltrane1916
The Nawāb’s musical bed1535
Music for cats1144
Debussy and gamelan1123
Wampanoag music and dance828
Nickelback jokes814
Jazz and early cartoons793
George Breed’s electrified guitar609

Bibliolore has published over 1250 posts and has been viewed over 447,000 times since its inception in October 2009. It currently has 419 subscribers, and it is rare for a day to pass with fewer than 150 views. It now has its own Facebook page.

Other Social Media: RILM’s Facebook account now focuses exclusively on RILM activities with occasional shares of articles of interest as well MGG Online-related information. The Twitter feed continues as before.