Works, Work Titles, Work Authorities: Perspectives on Introducing a Work Level in RISM

Conference and Workshop: Works, Work Titles, Work Authorities: Perspectives on Introducing a Work Level in RISM
Conference flyer (PDF)

Report by Chantal Köppl on the Gesellschaft für Musikforschung’s website

The conference “Works, Work Titles, Work Authorities: Perspectives on Introducing a Work Level in RISM” took place May 9-11, 2019 at the Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur, Mainz, in cooperation with the Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz.

Libraries worldwide have been discussing work titles with increasing intensity. Transferring this idea to musical works seems particularly feasible at first glance, seeing as the production of catalogs of works has a tradition of more than 100 years in musicology.

However, especially in recent decades, the concept of the work itself has been uncovered as a construct of the 19th century. In many cases, attention has been drawn to those genres that cannot be forced into a fixed form. This especially applies to operas, whose form can change from performance to performance. But it also concerns chamber music, which is sometimes presented in different versions and with different instruments, etc., when it is first published. The examples could easily be continued.

Nevertheless, work titles in libraries are an important tool with which musical sources, modern printed music, books about specific musical works, and audiovisual media can be given detailed cataloging and made available. RISM would therefore like to adopt this tool by introducing a work level. But RISM has more, and other, possibilities than an individual library does, because descriptions of sources from a wide variety of libraries can be found in the RISM database.

The conference and workshop was intended to enable a dialogue for the different points of view and expectations of musicologists and librarians and to develop solutions for RISM as a project between the two sides.

Presentations are available on RISM’s YouTube channel.


Thursday, May 9


14:00–14:50 Welcome and Introduction

  • Gabriele Buschmeier (Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur, Mainz): Welcome
  • Klaus Pietschmann (Universität Mainz, RISM Board of Directors): Opening Remarks
  • Klaus Keil (RISM Central Office): Work Titles in RISM, Planned Procedure, and Perspectives
    Slides Video on YouTube
  • Stephan Hirsch (RISM Central Office): Technical Aspects
    Slides Video on YouTube

14:50–15:30 Work Titles in National Libraries and Library Cooperatives (I)
Chair: Klaus Pietschmann (Universität Mainz, RISM Board of Directors)

  • Constanze Schumann (Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek) and Jürgen Kett (Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek): Work Titles in the GND (Gemeinsame Normdatei, German Integrated Authority File)
    Abstract Video on YouTube
  • Caroline Shaw (The British Library): The Musical Work: Pragmatic Approaches to an Abstract Entity
    Abstract Slides Video on YouTube

15:30–16:00 Coffee break

16:00–16:20 Work Titles in National Libraries and Library Cooperatives (II)

  • Kevin Kishimoto (Stanford University, USA) and Trina Thompson (Independent Scholar, USA): Superworks, Subworks, and Works with Fuzzy Edges
    Abstract Video on YouTube

16:20–18:00 Workshop

Friday, May 10

9:00–10:00 Work Titles in National Libraries and Library Cooperatives (III)
Chair: Jürgen Diet (Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Munich)

  • María Teresa Delgado Sánchez (Biblioteca Nacional de España): Standardization in the National Library of Spain: Name Authority Headings and Name-Title Authority Headings in Musical Works
    Abstract Slides
  • Maria Aslanidi (Ionian University, Greece) and Michalis Stefanidakis (Ionian University, Greece): The Library Reference Model and MARC 21 Format for Authority Data: A Case Study on the (Musical) Work Entity
    Abstract Slides Video on YouTube
  • Nancy Lorimer (Stanford University Libraries, USA): A Multitude of Works: Modelling Musical Works in BIBFRAME
    Abstract Video on YouTube

10:00–10:20 Uses and Perspectives (I)

  • André Guerra Cotta (UFF-CAPES/UNL-CESEM, Brazil): Considerations on the Work Level, International Standards and ISWC
    Abstract Video on YouTube

10:20–11:00 Coffee break

11:00–13:00 Workshop

13:00–14:20 Lunch buffet

14:20–14:50 Uses and Perspectives (II)
Chair: Laurent Pugin (RISM Switzerland, RISM Board of Directors)

  • Katrin Bicher (SLUB Dresden, Germany), Andrea Hartmann (SLUB Dresden, Germany), and Sylvie Reinelt (SLUB Dresden, Germany): Work Authorites Workshop in SLUB/RISM

14:50–15:30 Discussions in Digital Editions

  • Kristin Herold (Universität Paderborn, Germany), Johannes Kepper (Universität Paderborn, Germany), and Kristina Richts (Universität Paderborn, Germany): MEI Metadata in RISM
    Abstract Video on YouTube
  • Peter Stadtler (Carl-Maria-von-Weber-Gesamtausgabe, Germany), Irmlind Capelle (Universität Paderborn, Germany), and Kristina Richts (Universität Paderborn, Germany): Creating Work Titles in the Context of Digital Musicological Editions
    Abstract Video on YouTube

15:30–15:50 Discussions in Other Projects (I)
Chair: Rodolfo Zitellini (RISM Switzerland)

  • David Day (Brigham Young University, USA), Jeff Lyon (Brigham Young University, USA), and Greg Reeve (Brigham Young University, USA): Work Authority Records and the Application of Linked Data Models
    Abstract Video on YouTube

15:50–16:30 Coffee break

16:30–17:30 Discussions in Other Projects (II)

  • Richard Smiraglia (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Institute for Knowledge Organization and Structure Inc., USA), Marnix van Berchum (University of Utrecht, The Netherlands), J. Bradford Young (Institute for Knowledge Organization and Structure Inc., USA), Andrea Scharnhorst (Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, The Netherlands), and Ronald Siebes (Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands): Composers and Musical “Works” in the Linked Open Data Cloud
    Abstract Video on YouTube
  • Andrew Horwitz (RILM Office, USA): RILM: Interlinking Metadata Across Music Research Collections
    Abstract Video on YouTube
  • Emmanuel Signer (King’s College London, UK): Ceci n’est pas un titre. Or: What We can Learn from Titles in Early Modern Printed Music
    Abstract Video on YouTube

18:00–19:00 Concert: Songs by Robert Eitner, Ella Adaïewsky, and Carl Banck
Yuliya Shein, soprano
Natalia Keil-Senserova, piano

Saturday, May 11

9:00–10:20 Composers and Their Work Titles
Chair: Balázs Mikusi (National Széchényi Library, Budapest; RISM Board of Directors)

  • Daniel Boomhower (Dumbarton Oaks, USA): J. S. Bach, the Meanings of Print, and the Implications for Work Records
    Abstract Slides Video on YouTube
  • Luca Lévi Sala (Université de Montréal, Canada): The Textual Tradition of Muzio Clementi’s Output: Consistency and the Problem of the Work Title
    Abstract Video on YouTube
  • Jacek Iwaszko (The Fryderyk Chopin Institute, Poland) and Marcelina Chojecka (The Fryderyk Chopin Institute, Poland): The “Work” in RISM within Projects of the Polska Cyfrowa POPC (2018-2020 and 2019-2021)
    Abstract Video on YouTube
  • Ulrich Leisinger (Mozart Institut/Digitale Mozart-Edition Internationale Stiftung Mozarteum, Austria): Versions and Historic Titles of Instrumental Works by W. A. Mozart
    Abstract Video on YouTube

10:20–11:00 Coffee break

11:00–12:20 Issues with Special Genres (I)
Chair: Klaus Keil (RISM Central Office)

  • Roland Schmidt-Hensel (Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin – Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Germany): Work – Version – Individual Movement. Thoughts on Work Titles and Work-Level Records for Operas from the 18th and 19th Centuries
  • Sonia Wronkowska (Polish RISM Centre, National Library of Poland): Parody or Contrafactum? Revising RISM Guidelines for Derivative Works of Music
    Abstract Slides Video on YouTube
  • Gesa zur Nieden (Universität Mainz, Universität Greifswald (Germany) and Jonathan Gammert (Universität Mainz, Germany): Is it a Work? FRBR-based Work Concepts of Opera Pasticcios
  • Andrea Zedler (Universität Bayreuth, Germany): Chameleons of Music History: Opere buffe and the Problem of Work Levels
    Abstract Video on YouTube

12:20–14:00 Lunch buffet

14:00–15:20 Issues with Sepcial Genres (II)
Chair: Barbara Wiermann (SLUB Dresden)

  • Barbara Haggh-Huglo (University of Maryland, College Park, USA): Work Titles for Church Music: Chant, Polyphony, Sacred Keyboard Music, and Their Manuscripts to 1650, using Low Countries’ Repertory as Examples
    Abstract Video on YouTube
  • Drew Edward Davies (Northwestern University, USA): Quae est ista? Multi-Generational Responsory Collections from Mexico City
  • Edgar Alejandro Calderón Alcantar (Conservatorio de las Rosas, Mexico): Reflections and Challenges for Cataloging Collections of Villancicos, Cantatas and Related Genres in Musical Archives and Libraries from New Spain
    Abstract Video on YouTube

15:20-17:00 Workshop and Final Discussion


Series A/I; series B, volume VIII, parts 1 and 2; series C
Series B (except for volume VIII, parts 1 and 2)
Series A/II CD-ROM (1995-2008)
Series A/II subscription database (2002-2006)
Series A/II subscription database (2006-present)
Congress report (2010)