To view this screen, click on the button in the menu at the top of the Main Screen.

Detailed guidelines for abstract content and style are available in English at http://www.rilm.org/submissions/pdf/Guidelines_AbstractStyle.pdf

French, German, and Polish versions of these instructions are available at http://www.rilm.org/submissions/index.php

If you would be interested in translating these instructions, please inform your committee liaison.

If you are creating a new accession, you will see one abstract screen, until you have filled in and saved the form. When you save, a second screen will be generated to the right of the first. This allows you to add the abstract in another language. This process may be repeated as needed. Text can be entered in any Unicode-supported script. If you are working from an online source and you are able to copy and paste the foreign-language abstracts, please do so. If you would have to scan the abstracts from print, make the decision based on your available time and resources. NB: The abstracts in languages other than English will not be edited.


Click on the magnifying glass icon to search for the name, just as you would when entering an author on the Main screen (format: family name, given name), or enter one of the following generic designations:

  • author or authors (rather than duplicating the author’s name)
  • journal (for periodicals where the authorship of the abstracts is unclear)
  • publisher (for monographs and collections, if you are adding a summary from a publisher website or book jacket)
  • editor or editors (sometimes used for collections)
  • n.a. (for a brief abstract, or one that consists only of RILM reference or source reference)
  • your name (if you write an abstract from scratch, not if you simply translate and/or condense it from the journal or publisher site; credit the journal or publisher in those cases.)

Language of Abstract

Choose from the drop-down menu. Abstracts without a language filled in will not display for users.


For the text. In doc types that generate a TOC, you will also see Prefix and Suffix fields. The use of these is described at TOC.

Numbers in Abstracts

Use n-dashes in date ranges. Key as ####@n-####. The @n-code will convert to an n-dash when you save. The n-dash keeps iBis from recognizing date ranges as RILM reference hotlinks.

Use hyphens in RILM references: The English original is abstracted as RILM 2014-12345.

The three topics that follow apply when you are writing abstracts yourself. We do not expect you scrutinize and modify author, journal, or publisher abstracts to conform to these procedures. If you are able to do so with a reasonable expenditure of time and effort, that would be very helpful to the editorial staff.

Work Titles Please provide work titles in the original language when possible; a translation of the title can be supplied, as shown below, for transliterated languages or those not likely to be accessible to most Western readers.

<Lebedinoe ozero> (Swan lake)
<A kékszakállú herceg vára> (Duke Bluebeard's castle)
<Sidao huanying> (Mirages of the Silk Route)

Capitalization of work titles follows common practice in the language of the title. However, for English titles, use library style, as shown in the translations above.

Institutions Please provide institutions in the original language, with translations where necessary. This is helpful to the editors, because we index the original form. If it is not given in the title or abstract, we have to try to find it online, preferably in the form that was used during the period dealt with in the article. This can be quite difficult, especially for organizations that do not have a robust presence on the Internet, or which are no longer extant.

Academic institutions the names of which clearly contain some form of “university” generally do not need a translation. However, if the institution formally has an English variant, we will index the two combined. The English version should appear in imprints and/or in an official English version of the website – not simply a single webpage with a general description in English.

Aalborg Universitet/Aalborg University (AAU)

Magyar Tudományos Akadémia/Hungarian Academy of Sciences (MTA)

Personal Names Please provide the original (birth country) form of the name where possible, as this is the form generally used for indexing. Examples include Russian/European names, Latin/European names, and pseudonyms/given names. Often the persons in question spent much of their professional lives in an adopted country, or moved back and forth across borders, and you will find their names rendered according to the language of the country of publication of a given work, article, or monograph. However, so that RILM users don’t have to navigate these tangled waterways, we must prefer one form. The editorial staff can add see references and variants in the names authority tables. In many cases, the best practice is to match the indexing in your national library catalogue or national music information center. Please correspond with your committee liaison about specific situations as necessary.

If you are writing an abstract that contains only a professional/pen name, and you have the birth name at hand, please provide it.

Wahlgren, David Christopher Daniel (Papa Dee): Swedish rap artist

Mačiulis, Jonas (Maironis): Lithuanian poet

Some persons, such as Igor Stravinsky and Arnold Schoenberg, are given in the forms based on the last country of naturalization.


For accessions with doc types that generate a BID, the abstract screen includes prefix and suffix fields as well as the abstract field.

Once a record for each of the analytics has been created, use the Generate TOC button at the bottom of the abstract field to compile the table of contents. “TOC” will be entered by default in the abstractor field. If you have forgotten to enter the BID in any of the analytics, they will not appear in the TOC. Thus it is always a good idea to check that nothing is missing. This can most easily be done by comparing your source with the TOC display above the Notes field on the Main screen. This display shows all of the analytics by order of pagination (not alphabetically by author, as in the Abstract & Index screen TOC).

A general abstract is sufficient in the following cases:

  • You do not have access to the volume or to a reliable electronic table of contents.
  • You have a table of contents, but the volume is very long and it is impossible to key in all of the analytics. Often such things are reprint collections of short essays from newspapers and magazines, and are better reflected through a general abstract.
  • You have a table of contents, but it is impossible to determine from the titles alone which items belong in RILM, and/or to imagine how these should be classed and indexed.

If there is already a partial TOC in the abstract field – often because an author has submitted a single article -- put the general description of the volume in the Prefix field, not before or following the RILM citation in the abstract.

The prefix field can also be used for supplementary information about exhibitions (Class 4), Festschriften (Class 15), and symposia (Class 16). Important details that are not reflected in the title and special features fields on the Main screen or in the Symposium screen may be entered in the prefix. Common examples include the dates and specific location of a conference; information on conferences held in honor of individuals or institutions (accessed as BE, and thus lacking a Symposium screen); and specific locations, dates, and details of exhibitions (not reflected in the title field on the Main screen).

The suffix field is used for RILM REFERENCES to previous or later versions of the item.

RILM References

If you are entering

  • a reprint or translation
  • a commentary
  • errata
  • a related work, such as a later monograph version of a dissertation

please include a RILM reference in the Abstract field.

If the original or the referenced item is not in iBis2 and was published in your country, please access it if possible. For records published before 1967, Product = R. For records published in 1967 or later, Product = A. See Source References (just below) for cases in which you are not able to access the original.

Sample RILM references:

The original French edition is abstracted as RILM 1999-5121.

A critique of Leonard Meyer’s <Music, the arts, and ideas> (cited as RILM 1968-22333).

Source References

Make source references when the item referred to is not already in iBis and

  • is outside the scope of the RILM project (i.e., non-musical)
  • you are unable to find enough information to complete an accession

The latter situation is common with older material, which often contains partial citations for 19th- and early 20th-century periodicals and other publications, the details of which cannot be verified in the present. However, these may someday prove traceable. It is better that we give the reader partial information than nothing.

NB: The first two examples are drawn from RILM’s editing manual. They pre-date the Retrospective project. Today, they would be accessed and RILM references made instead.

Originally published in <A birthday offering to C.E.>, edited by Gustave Reese (New York: G. Schirmer, 1943).

Originally published in <Recent woodworm research: Dry-rot quarterly> XC/2 (spring 1963).

An excerpt from <An unverifiable periodical> (January 1893).