Annual Report 2022

Thursday, March 9, 2023

While the work of the RISM Editorial Center in Frankfurt was not strongly affected by the diverse Corona restrictions, the gradual return to personal meetings at major conferences inevitably made the year 2022 a “Retour à la vie” for the entire RISM community. This enabled us to pay due tribute to the 70th anniversary of RISM’s foundation with diverse professional programs: the annual conference of the International Association of Music Libraries (IAML) in Prague was extended by a special “RISM Day” (30 July 2022), offering an excellent opportunity for in-depth discussions with some of our most dedicated contributors and users, while the quinquennial IMS congress in Athens—bearing the memorable motto “Music across Borders”—allowed us to survey our history and ponder the chances for further development at a round table entitled “RISM at 70: Perspectives of a Project without Borders.”

The highlight of this RISM year, however, was undoubtedly our own anniversary conference, held from 7 to 9 October 2022 at the Academy of Sciences and Literature in Mainz, which sought to provide a panoramic snapshot of the research field in which RISM has been a key player for seven decades under the title “Musical Sources: Past and Future.” As a symbolic gesture, this conference started with the third RISM Lecture, which – expanding on the European focus of the first two lectures – called attention to the sources preserved in the archives of the Mexico City Cathedral through three interrelated presentations by Lucero Enríquez (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México), Drew Edward Davies (Northwestern University), and Analía Cherñavsky (Universidade Federal de Integração Latino-Americana). Approaching the end of the year, this series of anniversary events fittingly culminated in the publication of a special issue of the journal Fontes Artis Musicae (vol. 69/3) “In Celebration of RISM’s Seventieth Anniversary,” as guest edited by Nicole Schwindt.

Yet another highlight of the year was the official inauguration of RISM Online, a new service developed by the RISM Digital Center in Bern that is not simply meant as a new gateway to RISM data in general, but offers unique functionalities like direct access to authority data, a search for music incipits that highlights in red the relevant notes in the hit list, or the use of URLs simply copied out from the browser window as stable and citable permalinks. Notwithstanding this new option, most of our users still access the RISM database through the traditional RISM Catalog, developed and maintained by the Bavarian State Library, which was used ever more intensively also in 2022: on average, the catalog was visited by about 11,330 people per month over 30,140 visits (annually: 136,000 people with 361,700 visits and 15.7 million page views).

In keeping with the practice of recent years, the RISM Editorial Center sought to expand the source material available to our users by not simply relying on the ongoing cataloging activity of the traditional working groups (among which the German and the Polish ones proved the most active in 2022 as well), but also by importing records from outside datasets. Besides a modest – though, as compared to our earlier pool of records, nonetheless substantial – addition from the Mexican Musicat project (which also inspired the topic of the abovementioned RISM Lecture) we were able to include over 47,000 records from the Austrian National Library. Thanks also to this, at the end of the year the entire RISM data pool consisted of 1,459,458 records for descriptions of musical sources, including 1,240,932 records for manuscripts and 216,130 for printed editions. Meanwhile the number of links to digital objects has also risen to over 110,000 – once again a notable increase by more than 24,000.

While most of our recent work (including the import projects described above) focuses on manuscripts, the year 2022 brought about the completion of an important project related to printed editions: all of the over 2,700 records representing printed collections of the 16th and 17th centuries (originally included in volume B/I of the classic blue RISM set) are now available entirely revised and fully searchable in the RISM database. And to remind everyone that the B series of blue RISM volumes does not entirely belong to the past, either: B/XVIII,1—a catalog of Les sources manuscrites des séquences et proses notées (IXe–XVIe siècles) France—appeared in the autumn as edited by Christian Meyer.

The entire 2022 annual report can be found on the RISM website.

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