Répertoire International de Littérature Musicale

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Répertoire International de Littérature Musicale
Industry Indexing and abstracting service
Founded 1966
Founder Barry S. Brook
Headquarters City University of New York
New York City, New York, United States
Key people
Barbara Mackenzie, Editor-in-Chief
Zdravko Blazekovic, Executive Editor
Products RILM Abstracts of Music Literature
Number of employees
Website www.rilm.org

Répertoire International de Littérature Musicale (International Repertory of Music Literature; Internationales Repertorium der Musikliteratur), commonly known by its acronym RILM, seeks to provide a comprehensive and accurate representation of musicology in all countries and languages, and across all disciplinary and cultural boundaries. For anyone with an interest in learning about any type of, or any aspect of, music, RILM offers powerful tools for locating research on all topics related to the discipline.[1]

Central to RILM’s work and mission is the international bibliography of scholarship relating to all facets of music. RILM covers significant scholarship in both printed and digital media, and in any language. It consists of citations of articles, books, bibliographies, catalogues, master’s theses and doctoral dissertations, Festschriften, films, videos, technical drawings of instruments, facsimile editions, iconographies, commentaries included with critical editions of music, ethnographic recordings, conference proceedings, and reviews. Each entry provides the title in the original language, an English translation of the title, full bibliographic data, and an abstract with a keyword index. Many of the non-English entries also include an abstract in the language of the publication. RILM is currently growing at the rate of over 50,000 listings each year.


RILM was founded in 1966 by the American musicologist Barry S. Brook (1918–1997) under the joint sponsorship of the International Musicological Society (IMS) and the International Association of Music Libraries, Archives and Documentation Centres (IAML). These organizations have since been joined by the International Council for Traditional Music (ICTM). At the time of its founding, RILM was the first abstracted bibliography in the humanities and designated by the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) as the pilot project for the development of a computerized, bibliographical system in the humanities to serve as a model for the more than 30 constituent scholarly societies of the ACLS. RILM’s development of procedures for computerized data processing was immediately adopted by RILA (Répertoire International de Littérature d’Art), founded upon RILM’s model, which started publishing abstracts in 1975.


Each of the three sponsoring societies nominates four members to the Commission Mixte International, RILM’s international governing board. The Graduate Center of the City University of New York provides an institutional context for RILM’s International Center.

RILM’s global network provides bibliographic citations and abstracts for items published in their respective countries to the International Center, where they are translated, edited, and indexed; they are then added to the online database, which is updated monthly. Bibliographic information and abstracts—as well as journals that have not yet been covered by RILM—can also be submitted directly to the International Center in New York.


Online publications[edit]

The bibliography exists in a single database, distributed as two products: RILM Abstracts of Music Literature and RILM Abstracts of Music Literature (1967-Present only). The full database presently contains over 860,409 entries for publications in 171 languages and from 174 countries. The earliest entry is of a Festschrift from 1594. RILM was issued in print from 1967 through 1999 and is currently available in a cumulative online database by subscription.

Print publications[edit]

The printed version of RILM Current was issued in print through 1999. Besides the printed RILM Current volumes, other printed publications include the RILM Retrospectives series, initiated in 1972, which includes printed thematic bibliographies of pre-1967 music literature; the RILM Perspectives series, initiated in 2009, which includes papers presented at conferences sponsored by RILM; and a style manual for writing about music, is in its second edition.

Pending products[edit]

This past year, Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart and Répertoire International de Littérature Musicale announced a joint project to bring the superlative German-language music encyclopedia online.

Separate from MGG, RILM will soon launch the Encyclopedia Full Text Collection with 40 seminal titles comprising over 66,000 pages and featuring entries in English, German, French, Italian, Dutch, and Greek. The titles span the years 1836 to 2014 and offer the comprehensive coverage of topics across the disciplines of historical musicology and ethnomusicology. The Collection will continuously expand with additional titles that fit the needs of the musicological research community.

See also[edit]


  • Brook, Barry S., “Some new paths for music bibliography”, Computers in humanistic research: Readings and perspectives (Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1967) 204-211
  • Spivacke, Harold, “A new journal of abstracts for musicologists”, Computers and the humanities 2/3 (1968) 120 [needs page numbers]
  • Brook, Barry S., “Music literature and modern communication: Some revolutionary potentials of the RILM project”, Acta musicologica 42/3-4 (1970) 205-17; also published in Journal of the Indian Musicological Society II/1 (1971) 9-19.
  • Brook, Barry S., “Musikliteratur und moderne Kommunikation: Zum Projekt RILM”, Beiträge zur Musikwissenschaft 13/1 (1971) 18-20
  • Schiødt, Nanna, “RILM: Répertoire International de Littérature Musicale”, Dansk musiktidsskrift 45/4 (1970) 168-173
  • Brook, Barry S., “The road to RILM”, Modern music librarianship: In honor of Ruth Watanabe, ed. by Alfred Mann (Stuyvesant, Pendragon Press; Kassel: Bärenreiter Verlag, 1989) 85-94
  • Schuursma, Ann May Briegleb, “Summary report of activities IAML Project Group on Classification and Indexing”, Fontes artis musicae 37/1 (Jan-Mar 1990), 46-48
  • Brook, Barry S., “Music literature and modern communication: Revolutionary potentials of the ACLS/CUNY/RILM project”, College music symposium 40 (2000) 31-41
  • Green, Alan, “The RILM project: Charting the seas of modern musicological literature”, College music symposium 40 (2000), 42-54
  • Jenkins, Martin D., “A descriptive study of subject indexing and abstracting in International index to music periodicals, RILM abstracts of music literature, and The music index online”, Notes: Quarterly journal of the music library association 57/4 (2001), 834-863
  • Blazekovic, Zdravko, RILM Abstracts of music literature in its global environment: The past and vision for the future.


  1. ^ Seaton, Douglass. "On the importance of RILM to the discipline". CMS Forums. Retrieved 28 February 2007. 

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