About RISM Library Sigla

Since 1960, RISM has published catalogs with descriptions of musical source material from libraries and archives in many countries around the world. From the very beginning, institutions that hold musical sources were given an abbreviation, called a library siglum. The RISM library sigla make it possible to concisely name holding institutions – sometimes a large number of them – without having to cite very long institutional names. We do not require sources to be in the RISM catalog in order for a siglum to be created, and the materials do not necessarily have to be old.

A siglum consists of uppercase letters, which designate the country and city, and lowercase letters, which stand for the institution. The code for the country is taken from the list of international vehicle registration codes maintained by the United Nations. City and institution codes are created by the RISM Editorial Center.

For example:
F-Pn = France, Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Département de la Musique.

In the case of private collections, the entire last name of the owner is added to the city code:
I-PEbattisti = Italy, Perugia, Biblioteca privata Renzo Battisti.

The library sigla are administered in a database maintained by the RISM Editorial Center in Frankfurt am Main. Each year, the RISM office receives a couple hundred inquiries on average for institutions that do not yet have a siglum. In such cases, RISM consults with the national group in question and assigns a new siglum.

Contact us to request a new siglum or to inform us of any incorrect information: contact@rism.info