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RISM Series A/II Update Survey

The AMS-MLA Joint RISM Committee seeks to update the U.S. holdings in RISM Series A/II: Music Manuscripts after 1600, an online inventory of music manuscripts primarily of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Our goal is both to update the holdings of libraries currently represented in the RISM A/II database and to add new libraries with appropriate collections and manuscripts not presently included in the resource. We are gathering information now in order to seek grant funding for the cataloging and digitization of these manuscripts.

The A/II database is now freely available for searching at http://opac.rism.info/, an open-access site developed collaboratively by the RISM Central Editorial Office, the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, and the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek; an English interface is available.

What We Need Now
The RISM Office needs an inventory list of manuscripts (preferably formatted in Word or Excel, but an ordinary e-mail will suffice) that you consider eligible for inclusion in the RISM A/II database (see the appended guidelines section) providing as much of the following information as possible:
* Shelf or call no.
* Composer (if known)
* Title
* Physical description (extent), such as score or parts, no. of folios, approximate no. of items (for collective manuscripts), etc.

Please note:
* The RISM cataloging standard is oriented towards cataloging each individual musical work contained in a source rather than the musical document as a whole. For this survey, however, it is not necessary to list the individual works of a collective manuscript, although RISM will catalog these bound collections of manuscripts on both the collective and individual item levels.

* Examples of submitted data:
Single manuscript:
Shelf no.: Mus 745.1.302.5
Composer: Mozart [include first name; often available and sometimes necessary]
Title: Quartetto di Mozart [K. 478]
Material description: 4 parts

Collective manuscript:
Shelf no.: Mus 542.26
Composer: [Various composers]
Title: Italian songs and duets
Material description: [Contains 8 arias]; score, 156f.

Guidelines for Submissions to this RISM Series A/II Update Survey
* Include only manuscripts of polyphonic music written in staff notation. Do not include manuscripts notated in keyboard, lute, guitar, or other tablatures.
* It is important to remember that inclusion in A/II is based on a composer's life dates rather than on the date of a specific manuscript (it is a common misconception that all manuscripts in RISM 1/II date 1600-1800). Historically, RISM A/II has included manuscripts copied before 1600 and up to ca. 1850 representing composers born after 1570 and before 1770. The database would thus catalog a mid-19th-century manuscript of music by Mozart (1756-1791). In some cases, RISM A/II may include manuscripts of qualifying composers copied even later than 1850.
* Include anonymous works if the musical style falls roughly between the 1600-1800 parameters; when in doubt, submit rather than not.
* Include collective manuscripts containing any composers within the scope of RISM A/II.
* As a guiding general principle, when in doubt about whether or not a manuscript meets the criteria for inclusion, please include it.
* While the immediate priority of the U.S. RISM project focuses on manuscripts meeting the above-stated parameters, we are now, in addition, collecting information on manuscripts of 19th-century composers, since it is possible to include them in the database.  In order to expand the scope of the U.S. portion of the database in this way we request that you also indicate your holdings of  manuscripts of composers active in the first half of the 19th century (thus include, for example, Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin, and Wagner but omit Mahler).
* Digitized manuscripts. Libraries that have digitized images freely available on the World Wide Web of manuscripts already in RISM A/II or newly submitted in this survey should send links with their survey responses, for it is now possible to link to digital objects from the RISM A/II database.
* Errors. If you find errors in records already in the database or with to add additional information to existing records please notify Sarah Adams at the U.S. RISM Office. See below for how to search on library RISM sigla in the database.

How to Submit Additions and Updates to the RISM A/II Database
* Please respond via e-mail to Sarah Adams at the U.S. RISM Office. We invite any questions about this survey and your manuscript materials.

We deeply appreciate your help in updating the U.S. holdings in the RISM A/II database and thank you in advance for your cooperation.

Sarah Adams, Director, U.S. RISM Office
Darwin F. Scott, Chair, AMS-MLA Joint RISM Committee

Sarah Adams
Acting Richard F. French Librarian
Keeper of the Isham Memorial Library
Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library
Harvard University
Cambridge MA 02138
Phone: 617-495-1624
Fax: 617-496-4636
E-mail: sjadams@fas.harvard.edu

Darwin F. Scott, Ph.D., M.L.S.
Music Librarian
Arthur Mendel Music Library
The Woolworth Center of Musical Studies
Princeton University
Princeton, NJ 08544-1007
Phone: 609 258-4251
Fax: 609 258-6793
E-mail: dfscott@princeton.edu

Addendum: How to Search the RISM Database for Library RISM Sigla

The easiest way to obtain a list of a specific library's holdings in the A/II database is to enter an advanced search on the library's RISM sigla. The most current list of these sigla is available on the RISM Web site (U.S. holdings begin on p. 163). A list also appears in Oxford (Grove) Music Online under Tools and Resources / Abbreviations / Library Sigla (this URL may vary at different institutions). For example, a "library sigla" (Bibliothekssiegel) search on US NH (the siglum for Yale) retrieves 9,740 records for Yale's manuscripts reported to date.

Category: Library collections

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