Zentralredaktion Frankfurt

Annual Report, 2022

Foundation: Internationales Quellenlexikon der Musik e.V., Frankfurt am Main.

Honorary Presidents: Dr. Harald Heckmann, Ruppertshain; Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Christoph Wolff, Cambridge/Freiburg; President: Prof. Dr. Klaus Pietschmann, Mainz; Vice President: Prof. Dr. Andrea Lindmayr-Brandl, Salzburg; Secretary: PD Dr. Laurent Pugin, Bern; Treasurer: Jane Gottlieb, New York; co-opted members of the board: Prof. Dr. Ulrich Konrad, Würzburg; Prof. Dr. John H. Roberts, Berkeley. Commission Mixte (delegates of the International Association of Music Libraries, Archives and Documentation Centres and the International Musicological Society): Mathias Auclair (IAML); Prof. Dr. Egberto Bermúdez Cujar (IMS); Richard Chesser (IAML); Prof. Dr. Dinko Fabris (IMS); Prof. Dr. Markus Grassl (IMS); Prof. Dr. Beatriz Magalhães Castro (IAML); Prof. Dr. Thomas Schmidt (IMS); Prof. Dr. Barbara Wiermann (IAML); Prof. Dr. Christiane Wiesenfeldt (IMS), Sonia Wronkowska (IAML). Director of the Zentralredaktion: Dr. Balázs Mikusi.

Project leader: Prof. Dr. Klaus Pietschmann, Mainz.

Address: RISM Zentralredaktion, Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität, Campus Bockenheim, Senckenberganlage 31–33, D-60325 Frankfurt am Main. Telephone: +49 69 706231, fax: +49 69 706026, email:, website:

Publishers: Series A/I, Series B volumes VIII,1–2, and Series C: Bärenreiter Verlag, Kassel; Series A/II, Internet subscription database: EBSCO Publishing, Inc., Birmingham, AL, USA; Series B (except for volumes VIII,1–2): G. Henle Verlag, Munich.

Web and server hosting: Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Munich and Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, Preußischer Kulturbesitz (databases); RISM Digital Center, Bern (website).

Personnel – core staff: Dr. Martina Falletta (75%), Stephan Hirsch, Guido Kraus, Alexander Marxen (75%), Dr. Balázs Mikusi, Jennifer Ward. Project staff: Martin Bierwisch (50%), Kristina Krämer (50%). Assistance was provided by Julia Rosemeyer and Carina Umanski, as well as student interns.

The International Inventory of Musical Sources (Répertoire International des Sources Musicales – RISM), with its Zentralredaktion (Editorial Center) in Frankfurt, is under the patronage of the International Association of Music Libraries, Archives and Documentation Centres (IAML) as well as the International Musicological Society (IMS) and is responsible for documenting printed and manuscript transmissions of music worldwide. According to the original concept, Series A/I indexed printed music published by a single composer between 1600 and 1800, while series A/II registered music manuscripts after 1600, with extensive descriptions, including their locations. Series B is designed to cover specific repertories, such as printed anthologies from the 16th to 18th centuries, source literature on music theory in Latin, Greek, Arabic, Hebrew, and Persian, etc. Series A/I and A/II are still enriched today, whereby catalogers no longer need strictly to observe the original chronological boundaries. Volumes of the Series B appear now only sporadically (depending on the submission of appropriate manuscripts), and the source catalog proper has long been complemented by a Series C, the Directory of Music Research Libraries.

Series A/I: Originally issued in nine main volumes, four supplementary volumes, and one index. A CD-ROM containing all of the entries from the printed volumes was released in December 2011. Later on the CD-ROM data were imported into the cataloging program Muscat (see below), and have been available online in the RISM Catalog of Musical Sources since July 2015. Some national groups take advantage of the opportunity to correct and enhance entries, especially by adding new locations and links to digital reproductions. In this way, the data available online increasingly diverge from the original book publication. As part of a project realized in cooperation with the Sächsische Landesbibliothek – Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek (SLUB) in Dresden, new templates for printed music editions were developed and have been available to Muscat catalogers since 2018.

Series B: Thirty-four volumes in this series have been published so far, most recently B/XVIII,1: Les sources manuscrites des séquences et proses notées – IXe–XVIe siècles – France, ed. by Christian Meyer (Munich: Henle, 2022). Revised entries from volume B/I, for sources published between 1500 and 1550, were added to the online catalog as early as 2015. As part of a larger project (relying predominantly on third-party funding),in the past years additional B/I entries (pertaining to printed anthologies up to 1700) could be updated and expanded also this year. Thanks to these efforts by now all B/I entries appear in the RISM database fully revised and searchable.

Series C: Five volumes have appeared to date, the last of which were published together with the IAML Publications Committee as revised versions of volumes II and III,1. Apart from this, the RISM Zentralredaktion issued the special volume RISM Bibliothekssigel-Gesamtverzeichnis (RISM Library Sigla, Complete Index), which has since been made available through RISM’s website as a searchable database of the library sigla. The database also contains contact information such as mailing address, website link, and email address. IAML established a successor to the project group Access to Music Archives (AMA) in July 2019 to revise Series C. In this three-year project, functionalities of RISM’s cataloging program were optimized and synchronized in close cooperation with the Zentralredaktion, in order to align Muscat with recent initiatives and bibliographic data models. In July 2022 the project group submitted its final report to the IAML Board, and summarized the results in an “Instruction Manual for the Creation of Institutional Authority Records.” An in-depth analysis of their findings and suggestions is an important task for the coming years in the hope that the cooperation with IAML’s national branches could significantly enhance RISM’s institution authorities.

Series A/II: In this series, manuscripts containing polyphonic music written after 1600 are thoroughly described and cataloged. Series A/II is the most comprehensive endeavor that the RISM project has undertaken, and is its main focus at present. Contributors from more than 35 countries around the world document music manuscripts in their home libraries and archives. The national working groups use computers to prepare their descriptions, and the majority relies on the Muscat software, developed expressly for this purpose, and provided to our contributors free of charge. This way the information entered is directly registered on RISM’s servers, which reduces the amount of editorial work, and thus allows for the import of additional external datasets.

Complying with the repeated wish of several partners, in this year we adjusted the end date of our annual statistics, which exceptionally results in a 14-month reporting year (from beginning of October 2021 to end of November 2022). In this period the following groups were able to create new records with Muscat: Andorra: 1 record; Argentina: 166 records; Australia: 16 records; Austria: 2,145 records; Canada: 86 records; China (Hongkong): 12 records; Czech Republic: 1,483 records; Germany: 30,572 records; Italy: 1,581 records; Lithuania: 8 records; Mexico: 10 records; Poland: 12,609 records; Slovakia: 1,086 records; Slovenia: 16 records; Spain: 3 records; South Korea: 54 records; Switzerland: 1,278 records; United Kingdom and Ireland: 616 records; USA: 1,316 records. The Editorial Center also created a total of 6,265 records (partly in the context of workshops and internships), while participants of the project “Mapping the Musical Landscape of the Sixteenth Century” added 719 records to the central database.

Many working groups also revise older records. Besides, the Zentralredaktion receives numerous additions and notifications of mistakes and composer attributions from users, which are incorporated into the records in consultation with the working groups. Some libraries have also sent the Zentralredaktion lists with links to digital objects; these can be copied into the data, in most cases automatically. Thanks to such developments the RISM database proves more and more attractive not only to musicologists but also to performing musicians who seek to expand their repertory. RISM considers it as an important mission not simply to document musical sources, but also to help them reach an ever larger audience. It should be noted, nonetheless, that the ongoing improvement and expansion of the database requires persistent and thorough supervision, without which RISM could not maintain its central position in musical source research in the longer run.

A great deal of effort is required on the part of the Zentralredaktion for projects that involve importing datasets from external databases. Data concerning music manuscripts from the United Kingdom and Ireland were imported into the RISM database in 2011 – since then, these 55,000 records have been searchable in our online catalog. Thanks to similar projects executed in the past years, our database has been enriched by close to 20,000 records from the catalog of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France and over 27,000 records from the database of the Swiss RISM working group. An even more ambitious cooperation brought its first major fruits in 2021 with the publication of more than 60,000 records from the catalog of the Istituto Centrale per il Catalogo unico delle Biblioteche Italiane (ICCU). Although the addition of further ICCU records requires laborious editorial preparation, the Italian repertory is now much more completely represented in RISM than before this significant import project.

Notwithstanding the great time investment, the Editorial Center completed two crucial import projects also this year. First, we took over some data from the catalog of the Musicat project that cover diverse sources kept in the music archive of the Mexico City Cathedral. Although the size of this import (about 2,000 records) may seem modest in comparison to the RISM dataset in general, it nonetheless triplicates the number of our source descriptions from Mexico, and is at the same time a promising first of a larger cooperation with our colleagues there.

In 2022 we could also realize the long-standing plan to import a significant portion of the manuscript descriptions from the catalog of the Austrian National Library, an exchange involving more than 47,000 records, and thereby proving to be the third largest import project ever undertaken by RISM (after those pertaining to data from Italy and the United Kingdom). As a matter of fact, an addition of such dimensions has significantly improved our coverage of Austrian sources, and thereby further compensated for the historically defined geographic asymmetries of the RISM dataset. Looking now back at the experiences of several years, the above series of import projects can certainly be considered as a success story, since the juxtaposition of sources from different countries not only offers better search possibilities for RISM’s users, whether researchers or musicians, but also reveals special relationships between different regions, thus fostering the reconstruction of historical cultural networks. These reach way beyond the borders of Europe: the records produced by the working groups in South Korea and China, or the upcoming import of source descriptions from Mexico, effectively exemplify the enormous scholarly potential inherent in the further expansion of the international network.

After publishing the data for series A/II on microfiche in the 1980s and annually on CD-ROM beginning in 1994, RISM has offered the data free of charge in the online catalog since 2010. The development of the software for searching was made possible through collaboration between RISM, the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek in Munich (BSB) and the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, Preußischer Kulturbesitz. In the meantime the catalog (traditionally based on the proprietary software TouchPoint, which however will be abandoned in 2023) has been enhanced in several steps, thanks to the support received in the context of the FID (Fachinformationsdienst) program of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft.

Currently (November 2022) the entire data pool in the catalog consists of 153,625 authority records for personal names, as well as (following further cleansing of the data) 27,859 for institutions. A total of 1,459,458 records remain for descriptions of musical sources, which can be further differentiated into 1,240,932 records for manuscript descriptions and 216,130 for printed editions, as well as 836 libretti and 422 treatises on music.

Since most users of the online catalog search for music manuscripts in the first place, the substantial additions precisely in this category – as compared to the previous year, an overall increase by almost 90,000 source descriptions – is of special relevance. Meanwhile the number of links to digital objects, a popular feature, has increased to 110,000 – once again a notable increase by over 24,000. These additions to the dataset also help RISM remain an indispensable tool for both researchers and performing musicians, and maintain in the long term its indisputable reputation as the “first stop” for those looking for historical music sources anywhere in the world. This prominent status is also reflected in the intensive use of our online catalog: 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). The database is also offered through EBSCO Publishing, Inc. as a subscription package with our partner projects RILM and RIPM (see

Since 2013, the data in the RISM Catalog of Musical Sources have been available as open data and as linked open data since 2014. This service is directed at libraries that wish to import their records into local catalogs, or musicological projects that want to make a catalog of sources that covers a specific topic as a basis for further research. The Zentralredaktion has developed tools to simplify the data delivery process, such as an SRU interface that is intensively used by our diverse partners. Through the website of the online catalog one can download the entire dataset (including source records as well as authority files) or but some part of it in MARCXML or RDF format, whereby the data regarding music incipits and instruments are used by researchers particularly often. In late 2019 the RISM data were admitted into re3data, a global register including repositories of research data of diverse academic disciplines. In addition, the data related to digitized sources have also been included in EROMM (European Register of Microform and Digital Masters). It is RISM’s wish that users take advantage of these services and in turn share corrections or supplemental information with the Zentralredaktion, thereby improving the overall data quality.

While most users know RISM through its online catalog, behind the scenes the cataloguing software Muscat, which has been running to the great satisfaction of its users ever since its release in November 2016, plays an equally important role. Muscat is based on an open source software and can be adapted to the needs of other projects, thereby facilitating the reuse of RISM data for scholarly purposes. As a matter of course, it is continuously being developed; currently (November 2022) version 8.2 is available. The development and maintenance are undertaken in partnership with the RISM Digital Center in Bern, which is the most important partner of the RISM Zentralredaktion on an international level. Thanks to this intensive cooperation we can guarantee also in the future the optimal technical and professional support of our working groups, which the Editorial Center considers a fundamental priority. This year the Digital Center – in coordination with the Zentralredaktion but essentially as its own product – developed and inaugurated a new gateway to the RISM database under the name RISM Online ( The optimization of the search opportunities offered by this new service and the increasing exploitation of the new perspectives for linking with other databases it also promises belong to the most important challenges that RISM faces in the coming years.

The connections with Muscat users are becoming ever more intensive. Inspired by the countless online meetings prompted by the COVID pandemic, we have started also to offer virtual “Muscat Coffee Hours” that as a rule take place after a major release and – besides an introduction to the most recent features – allow for free discussion between the developers and the users of the software. As center of a broad international network, the RISM Editorial Center is deeply invested in convincing ever more libraries, research projects or even individual scholars about the vast advantages of Muscat. Even though during the COVID-19 pandemic the Zentralredaktion intensified its online activities, further refining the methodology of virtual workshops in particular, the most important venues for our outreach activity has traditionally been the annual IAML congresses, where not only a closer circle of regular participants but also new colleagues can effectively be reached. Besides, the 2022 materialization of the twice-postponed congress in Prague provided us with a chance to append a special RISM Day (30 July 2022) to the end of the official program. As part of this informal full-day event we offered several sessions dedicated to the history of the RISM project, the activities of the Czech RISM working group, the cataloguing of printed editions and especially their (often somewhat problematic) dating, etc. The RISM Day was warmly received by its over 40 participants, and ended with the first “live” edition of the “Muscat Coffee Hour” that fruitfully combined a frontal information session and with free discussion. Notwithstanding the obvious success of this event, we plan by all means to keep offering our online workshops as well as a means to reach out e.g. to librarians from the Australian continent or PhD students in Asia or South America. As complemented by a series of tutorials we publish on RISM’s YouTube channel on an ongoing basis, these online workshops promise to consolidate and also widen the international network in the very regions where our earlier efforts inevitably found less resonance.

RISM’s 70th anniversary inspired us to organize other events during the 2022 conference season. At the quinquennial congress of the IMS we connect with the main motto of the event (“Music across Borders”) by offering a roundtable with the title “RISM at 70: Perspectives of a Project without Borders,” followed by an information session “What’s New at RISM.” Finally, from 7 to 9 October 2022 we held a conference on “Musical Sources: Past and Future” at the Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur in Mainz, which was festively opened by the 3rd RISM Lecture. Our three speakers (Lucero Enríquez, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México; Drew Edward Davies, Northwestern University; Analía Cherñavsky, Universidade Federal de Integracāo Latino-Americana) allowed us insights into their investigations into the music archives of the Mexico City Cathedral. The rest of the conference program, which will partly be published on RISM’s YouTube channel, brought together scholars from 15 countries and offered intriguing snapshots of RISM’s long history as well as an overview of the current questions and methodologies of musical source studies. The journal “Fontes Artis Musicae” also paid honors to RISM historic by running a special issue (vol. 69/3) “In Celebration of RISM’s Seventieth Anniversary” edited by Nicole Schwindt.

RISM’s new website was inaugurated in 2020 and enriched with new features for the working groups this year. Our Facebook page has more than 4,700 fans, and RISM is also active on Twitter, with more than 2,900 followers. In addition, our freshly revised printed information brochure may also be obtained from the Zentralredaktion.

In the autumn of 2020, the Editorial Center became a member of the consortium NFDI4Culture, and is preparing with the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek (DNB) and the Sächsische Landesbibliothek – Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek (SLUB) in particular the use of GND (Gemeinsame Normdatei) work authority data in Muscat. The related software development is undertaken by the RISM Digital Center. Thanks to support from NFDI4Culture the analysis and validation of RISM’s ca. 2,000,000 music incipits is now also underway, in cooperation with the RISM Digital Center and the Centre for Digital Music Documentation of the Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur in Mainz.

March 2023

Balázs Mikusi


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)