International Cooperative Music-Bibliographical Projects

MLA endorses the international cooperative music-bibliographical projects, collectively known as the R projects (RILM, RISM, RIPM, RIdIM.)



Répertoire International de Littérature Musicale
International Repertory of Musical Literature


From the website:

RILM, Répertoire International de Littérature Musicale, is committed to a comprehensive and accurate representation of music scholarship in all countries and languages, and across all disciplinary and cultural boundaries. Through the expansion of its global network and advanced information technologies, RILM is dedicated to disseminating knowledge among all research and performance communities. Through the medium of music studies, RILM aims to foster communication among researchers in the arts, humanities, sciences, and social sciences.

RILM abstracts of music literature and RILM retrospective abstracts of music literature cover all types of publications on music, in all media: books, journals, online resources, research-based sound recordings and films, dissertations, and more.


  • RILM Abstracts of Musical Literature/RILM Retrospective Abstracts of Musical Literature
  • RILM Retrospectives (series)
  • RILM Perspectives (series)
  • How To Write About Music


How to Submit to RILM





Répertoire International des Sources Musicales
International Inventory of Musical Sources

From the website:

The International Inventory of Musical Sources - Répertoire International des Sources Musicales (RISM) - is a multinational, non-profit joint venture which aims for comprehensive documentation of extant musical sources worldwide. These primary sources are manuscripts or printed music, writings on music theory, and libretti. They are housed in libraries, archives, monasteries, schools and private collections.

The organization, founded in Paris in 1952, is the largest and only global operation that documents written musical sources. RISM records what exists and where it can be found. As a result, musical traditions are protected through cataloguing in a comprehensive inventory while also being made available to musicologists and musicians. Such work is thus not an end in itself, but leads directly to practical applications.


  • Series A: Inventories of Musical Sources
  • Series B: Bibliographies of Materials Organized By Topic
  • Series C: Music Research Libraries
  • Special Volume: RISM Library Sigla


Search the RISM Catalogue

How to join RISM Community


Répertoire International d’Iconographie Musicale
International Repertory of Musical Iconography


From the website:

The Répertoire International d’Iconographie Musicale (RIdIM) was officially founded on 26 August 1971 on the initiative of Barry S. Brook, Geneviève Thibault Comtesse de Chambure, Harald Heckmann, Howard Meyer Brown and Walter Salmen and under the sponsorship of the International Association of Music Libraries, Archives and Documentation centres (IAML), the International Musicological Society (IMS), and the International Committee of Musical Instrument Museum Collections (CIMCIM) of the International Council of Museums (ICOM). As the international index of visual sources of music, RIdIM has pursued dual aims since its establishment: firstly, it is charged with the cataloguing of visual sources or musical subject matter; and, secondly, it functions as a framework for their interpretation. Thus, the main objective of RIdIM is the development of method, means and research centres for the classification, cataloguing and study of iconographical sources related to music. It is designed to assist performers, historians, librarians, instrument makers, record manufacturers and book publishers in making the fullest use of visual materials for scholarly and practical purposes.

All materials, support and assistance are offered free of charge in line with RIdIM’s belief in open access to scholarly information and expertise.

Since the early 1970s, several systems of cataloguing visual materials have been proposed, but RIdIM took the lead in this area. RIdIM thus followed RISM (1952) and RILM (1966) as the third important international cooperative bibliographical venture in music. RIdIM centres have been established in Brazil, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Poland, The Netherlands, Sweden, and the United States. Several archives, museums, and other institutions have published inventories and catalogues with iconographic sources of musical subject matter. These developments continue, and RIdIM is delighted to be collaborating with a number of institutions to maximize the use of emergent technologies and methodologies in this area.

Based on the unanimous decision of the Commission Mixte in 2010, RIdIM was incorporated as a not-for-profit association formed pursuant to Art. 60 & seq. of the Swiss Civil Code with its seat in Zurich (Switzerland) in 2011. The legal status as a not-for-profit association was approved by the public authority and thus Association RIdIM is the legal successor of RIdIM in all respects.

Search the RIdIM Database

How to Register as a Cataloger for RIdIM



Répertoire International de la Presse Musicale
Retrospective Index to Music Periodicals


From the website:

Founded in 1980, the Retrospective Index to Music Periodicals/Répertoire international de la presse musicale (RIPM) is one of four international cooperative bibliographic undertakings in music, alongside Le Répertoire international des sources musicales (RISM), Le Répertoire international de littérature musicale (RILM), and Le Répertoire international d’iconographie musicale (RIdIM). "These are, without doubt, the most important current bibliographic documentation projects in the field of music research.”1 Of the four ‘Rs’ RIPM alone focuses on music and musical life from approximately 1800 to 1950.

RIPM was established to provide access to eighteenth-, nineteenth- and twentieth-century periodical literature dealing with music. While the importance of this monumental documentary resource has long been recognized by the musicological community, RIPM represents the first effort to undertake and to coordinate retrospective periodical indexing on an international scale.


  • RIPM Retrospective Index (1759-1962)
  • RIPM Online Archive (full text)
  • RIPM e-Library (full text)


How To Contact RIPM (address at bottom of page)


Music Library Association 1600 Aspen Commons Suite 100 Middleton, WI 53562

608-831-8200 FAX
About MLA

The Music Library Association is the professional association for music libraries and librarianship in the United States. Founded in 1931, it has an international membership of librarians, musicians, scholars, educators, and members of the book and music trades. Complementing the Association’s national and international activities are eleven regional chapters that carry out its programs on the local level.