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16 October 2020

Announcing the new RISM UK Catalogue!

RISM UK is pleased to announce the launch of the new RISM UK Catalogue.

The catalogue is a subset of the international RISM Online Catalogue of Musical Sources. It contains all data from that resource on printed and manuscript music held in British libraries and archives, and pulls data directly from the international database to ensure it remains up-to-date.  We hope it will be of value and interest to researchers wanting to locate sources of printed and manuscript music held in repositories in Britain.

Image of the RISM UK catalogue homepage

The catalogue illustrates the rich resource of historic music materials that have been preserved in Britain. The information held can be searched in traditional ways, such as by composer and title, and also by the incipits of the musical notation.  A new feature makes it possible to identify and locate unica - printed editions that survive in single copies only. It is also possible to define the date ranges of searches more precisely than was possible before. Data from search results can be freely downloaded in simple CSV format, allowing researchers to reuse the information for their own purposes.  The database also provides access to digitised images, where they are available, from participating libraries via IIIF.

The new interface has been funded by the Strategic Knowledge Exchange Initiative at Royal Holloway, University of London. You can find out more about the RISM UK database at the Royal Holloway’s School of Music Research Projects and Centres pages.

Future projects

RISM UK in partnership with Royal Holloway, University of London, is currently completing a scoping study of the potential for further cataloguing projects involving music manuscripts and printed music in county record offices and other archives across the UK.

Work by postgraduate researchers Micah Neale and James Ritzema, supervised by Stephen Rose and Sandra Tuppen, has uncovered large holdings in county record offices especially of parish church music manuscripts from the 18th century, manuscripts of vernacular dance tunes, teaching manuscripts for learner musicians, and fragments of medieval music in the bindings of later volumes.

This scoping study is funded by the Strategic Knowledge Exchange Initiative at Royal Holloway, University of London.

We would also be very pleased to hear from holders of material within RISM’s scope who would be interested in adding its details to the database. Please contact Caroline Shaw, Secretary of the RISM (UK) Trust: [email protected] if you would like to be involved.


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