Who uses RISM?

  • Musicologists who are looking for source material in their field of research and use RISM’s data as a foundation for thematic catalogues or music editions.

  • Musicians who discover a breadth of lesser-known works in order to give concerts that go beyond the usual repertory.

  • Librarians who want to know if additional copies of a certain manuscript exist at other institutions.

  • Students who need to consult primary sources for an assignment or term paper.

  • Music antiquarians who want to identify the prints they bought.

Comments from RISM users

Gloria Eive (Fine Arts Editor, ECCB: The Eighteenth-Century Current Bibliography; Saint Mary’s College of California)

“I have been searching through RISM’s entries since the very first hard-copy volumes were published many many years ago, so you will understand how much I appreciate the online database now. You will understand my delight recently at finding another ‘new’ manuscript by ‘my composer’ Paolo Alberghi, one I had not found before although I have made repeated searches in RISM for many years. The ‘new discovery’ of course is mine, since the manuscript is almost 250 years old, and I am infinitely grateful to RISM for making this new discovery possible.”

Anna Pensaert, Cambridge University, “A few of my favourite things,” MusiCB3 blog

“The RISM online catalogue of musical sources has been extended last May to include the entire contents of A/I, Individual Prints before 1800 and a portion of B/I, Recueils imprimés, XVIe-XVIIe siècles (Printed collections of the 16th-17th centuries), covering the years 1500-1550. Not only is this making my life as a music librarian much more comfortable, I would have absolutely loved this in my student days.”

Dr. Bernhold Schmid (Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Orlando di Lasso-Gesamtausgabe)

“Ohne den RISM Online-Katalog wäre ich bei der Fertigstellung der Lasso-Gesamtausgabe schlichtweg aufgeschmissen gewesen.”

Prof. Michael Schneider (Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst, Frankfurt am Main; Conductor, La Stagione Frankfurt)

“As a period instrument musician who is both a performer and a researcher, I am constantly in search of original music sources, be it manuscripts and publications of relatively unknown works or the ‘classics.’ The work that RISM does is an invaluable and irreplaceable service in my own daily work. This includes the published volumes of music prints, the recently released online catalog of manuscripts, and the on-the-spot support of the RISM staff. I, for one, am thankful that this institution, so very important for the music world, happens to be based in Frankfurt!”

And here are some comments from our RISM survey (2014-2015):

  • “A powerful tool for research.” (United States)
  • “Einfach die ‘erste Adresse’.” (Germany)
  • “Scholarly gold standard.” (United States)
  • “The RISM online catalogue is the single most useful research tool for musicology that I know, and discoveries in it have stimulated or enriched countless books and articles I have written.” (United Kingdom)
  • “Unentbehrlich für Wissenschaft und Praxis.” (Switzerland)
  • “An awesome, monumental project.” (United States)
  • “Hervorragendes Werkzeug in der Musikbibliothek.” (Germany)
  • “I use RISM on a daily basis, wouldn’t know what to do without it!” (Netherlands)
  • “I have found both the catalogue and the personnel very helpful to my work.” (Malta)
  • “A true gift for scholars!” (Italy)
  • “I think that RISM is one of the most important things for research in music sources.” (Russia)
  • “I value the amount of scholarly research available to me via RISM.” (Australia)
  • “Weiter so! Die Arbeit ist unglaublich wichtig und bedeutend!!!” (Germany)
  • “RISM is a very important and fundamental resource for music scholars.” (Italy)
  • “RISM is one of the most amazing initiatives in musicological research. Simplicity, scholarly thoroughness and ambition put together.” (Switzerland)
  • “RISM ist großartig! Es ist ein unentbehrliches Werkzeug, das mir schon viel Nutzen gebracht hat. Machen Sie weiter so!” (Germany)


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.