My Internship at RISM: A New Cataloging Experience

Deanna Pellerano

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

We share with you the following report from Deanna Pellerano, a Master of Library Science (music specialization) and Master of Musicology candidate at Indiana University:

When I learned that RISM offered an internship at its Editorial Center, I knew immediately that this would be an excellent internship for me. At the time I applied, I was in the middle of my dual-masters program in musicology and music librarianship at Indiana University with interests in music cataloging, early music, and German. I had already dedicated some time to learning cataloging with MARC21 and RDA, and I saw this as an opportunity to broaden my experience with a different style of cataloging and to familiarize myself with bibliographic efforts outside of the United States.

My start to the internship was delayed due to the global pandemic. Though I feared I would not be able to follow through with the internship at all, the Editorial Center graciously agreed to host me virtually. Thanks to the flexibility of the staff and of Muscat, I found I was able to work with relative ease. After a detailed remote crash course in RISM’s cataloging practices, I received regular assignments to complete on my own.

I worked fairly independently as I added incipits in Plaine & Easie code (RISM ID no. 990001238), created subrecords (RISM ID no. 993120823), and researched thematic catalog numbers. At times the answers were straightforward, but frequently the assignments required some additional effort to solve. Imperfect scans of prints, ligatures and coloration in mensural notation, and finding exact matches in thematic catalogs all posed their own unique difficulties. Furthermore, as I enhanced hundreds of records, I needed to be constantly aware of minute and repetitive details. Nonetheless, I greatly enjoyed working through the challenges I encountered and the rewarding combination of musicology and music librarianship.

I am very grateful for the opportunity to have had this experience and especially to the staff of the Editorial Center for their warm welcome. I have grown to appreciate firsthand the work necessary to produce many accurate and detailed records of musical sources, and I know that in the future I will continue to refer to the skills I practiced while at RISM.

Image: Anonymous, “Deh piangi anima mia” (RISM ID no. 1001147241), from Il Terzo Libro delle Laudi Spirituali, Rome 1577 (RISM ID no. 990001240), copy from I-Bc R.262.

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