Searching by city in the RISM Catalog

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

The Online Directory of RISM Library Sigla makes it easy to search over 8,500 institutions that have official RISM library sigla. Library sigla are the abbreviations that RISM assigns to any institution that holds materials related to music research. See this video on YouTube for a demonstration.

The sigla make it possible to refer to an institution in a concise way, such as in a catalog or other publication.

And there is another use for them: Using a RISM siglum when searching the RISM catalog is the most accurate way to find musical sources in a particular country, city, or institution.

A siglum consists of uppercase letters, which designate the country and city, and lowercase letters, which stand for the institution.

For example:
F-Pn = France, Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Département de la Musique

In the case of private collections, the entire last name of the owner is added to the city code:
I-PEbattisti = Italy, Perugia, Biblioteca privata Renzo Battisti

Since each musical source in RISM includes a siglum indicating its current location, the sigla will help you find the sources in a particular location.

In the catalog’s Advanced search, select Library siglum.

To search for all the sources in a particular country, enter the initial capital letters followed by a hyphen and asterisk:
F-* for all the sources in France.

Add the city abbreviation to this for all the sources in a particular city:
F-P* for all the sources in Paris.

And search by the entire siglum to find all the sources in RISM from the institution.

This is the most accurate way to search by location in RISM, and will give you better results than simply searching by “France” or “Paris.”

Watch this video on YouTube for a demonstration:

Image: Paris, Bibliothèque nationale, salle de lecture des Imprimés by Louis-Émile Durandelle (1888), from Gallica.

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Category: RISM online catalog

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