History of the project

1949 Decision to establish an International Inventory of Musical Sources through the International Musicological Society (IMS)
1951 Decision to carry out the project in cooperation with the International Association of Music Libraries, Music Archives and Music Documentation Centres (IAML)
1952 First conference of the Commission Mixte set up by both organizations. Elaboration of a master plan
1953 Establishment of the first secretariat in Paris. Director: François Lesure
  1953 1st RISM meeting, Paris 1953: François Lesure, Vladimir Fedorov, Nanie Bridgman, Nino Pirotta
1960 Zentralredaktion in Kassel established
1960–1967 Director of the Zentralredaktion: Dr. Friedrich W. Riedel
1960/64 First publications of series B: 1960 B/I: François Lesure: Recueils Imprimés XVIe-XVIIe Siècles; 1964 B/II: François Lesure: Recueils Imprimés XVIIIe Siècle. Since then more than 30 volumes have been published; see the RISM publications
1962–1987 Financial support from the City of Kassel
1964–1979 Financial support from the Ford Foundation
1965–1981 Financial support from Stiftung Volkswagenwerk Hannover
1968–1976 Director of the Zentralredaktion: Dr. Karlheinz Schlager
1971–1981 Publication of A/I: Einzeldrucke vor 1800 (Individual Prints before 1800); 9 volumes
1973 Establishment of regulations with regard to form and content for the description of manuscripts by the Advisory Research Committee
1976–1982 Director of the Zentralredaktion: Dr. Helmut Rösing
1978 Start of series A/II: Publication of the catalogue of the Fürstlich Hohenlohe-Langenburg’sche Schlossbibliothek in Fontes
since 1978 Support from UNESCO Conseil International de la Philosophie et des Sciences Humaines
1979 Foundation of the association Internationales Quellenlexikon der Musik e.V. First publications of series C: C/IV: Cecil Hill, Katya Manor, James Siddons, Dorothy Freed, Directory of Music Research Libraries. Volume 4: Australia, Israel, Japan, New Zealand. Since then, 5 volumes have appeared in series C (some revised; see RISM publications)
1979–1986 Publication of three special volumes: Norbert Böker-Heil, Harald Heckmann, Ilse Kindermann: Das Tenorlied. Mehrstimmige Lieder in deutschen Quellen 1450- 1580
1980 Inclusion of the Zentralredaktion in the “Akademienprogramm” financed by state and federal governments through the Conference of the Academies of Sciences
1981 Publication of the guidelines for series A/II in Fontes
  1981 Meeting of the Commission mixte, Budapest 1981: Israel Adler, Pierluigi Petrobelli, Barry S. Brook, Clemens von Gleich, Helmut Rösing, Wolfgang Rehm, Harald Heckmann
1982–1990 Director of the Zentralredaktion: Dr. Joachim Schlichte
1984 First microfiche edition of series A/II
1986 Second microfiche edition of series A/II
1986–1999 Publication of A/I Einzeldrucke vor 1800 (Individual Prints before 1800): Addenda et Corrigenda (4 volumes)
1987 Zentralredaktion moves to Frankfurt am Main, Stadt- und Universitätsbibliothek at Goethe Universität
1987–2015 Financial support from the City of Frankfurt
1989 Publication of INFO-RISM No. 1. Regular issues until 2001
1990 Introduction of the program PIKaDo to catalog musical sources
1991–2020 Director of the Zentralredaktion: Klaus Keil
1991 Establishment of a subcommission of the Commission Mixte for libretti. Transfer of approx. 90,000 entries from series A/II to the PIKaDo program by RISM Germany
1992 Publication of Libretti in deutschen Bibliotheken. Katalog der gedruckten Texte zu Opern, Oratorien, Kantaten, Schuldramen, Balletten und Gelegenheitskompositionen von den Anfängen bis zur Mitte des 19. Jahrhunderts. Microfiche edition
1995 First CD-ROM edition of series A/II (K.G. Saur). New editions annually until 2008.
1997 First version of internet database of series A/II, a joint project of the RISM Zentralredaktion and the U.S. RISM Office at Harvard University.
1999 Publication of the RISM library sigla as a complete index
2002 International congress: Scientific and Technological Challenges of Musicological Source Research at International Level — 50 Years RISM. Second version of internet database of Series A/II with biannual updates. Provider: National Information Services Corporation (NISC USA)
2006 Introduction of the program Kallisto to catalog musical sources; PIKaDo phased out
since 2008 Database offered through EBSCO
2010 RISM Catalog of Musical Sources database launched online free of charge with monthly updates at https://opac.rism.info/, a project of the RISM Zentralredaktion in cooperation with the Bavarian State Library (Munich) and the State Library of Berlin.
2012 International conference: Music Documentation in Libraries, Scholarship, and Practice
2013 RISM data offered as open data through the RISM Catalog of Musical Sources
2014 RISM data offered as linked open data through the RISM Catalog of Musical Sources
2015 International conference: RISM Colloquium. Updated German-English RISM brochure published
2016 International conference: Documenting Musical Sources in Latin America. Use of Kallisto ends; cataloging program Muscat adopted for the international RISM project, in cooperation with RISM Switzerland
2019 International conference: Works, Work Titles, Work Authorities: Perspectives on Introducing a Work Level in RISM
since 2020 Director of the Zentralredaktion: Dr. Balázs Mikusi
2021 RISM Lecture Series launched. The RISM Digital Center is established in Bern, Switzerland, which reports to the IMS and IAML through the Commission mixte.
2022 RISM Online launched, a project of the RISM Digital Center. Conference Musical Sources: Past and Future - An International Conference Celebrating 70 Years of RISM. Special issue of Fontes artis musicae, “In Celebration of RISM’s Seventieth Anniversary” (69, no. 3, July-September 2022).


Our motto…
Knowing what exists
and where it is kept

…lives through the exchange of information. Join the RISM Community and learn how you can contribute to the project.