"RISM" stands for Repertoire International des Sources Musicales (or International inventory of musical sources). It's an ongoing scholarly project to catalog all the primary source materials, in libraries worldwide, relating to music. It gives detailed descriptions of music manuscripts, early printed editions of music, and early treatises on music.
The RISM is an international collective undertaking with the aim of comprehensively documenting surviving music sources anywhere in the world.
The RISM keeps track of what is in existence and where it is kept.
In many countries, independent national working groups in libraries and archives catalogue historical music sources: music prints, music manuscripts and libretti as well as writings about music (of a theoretical nature). The results are coordinated, summarised and published by the RISM.
The online-catalogue offered here contains around 700,000 references almost exclusively to music manuscripts. These records pass on to posterity the works of some 25,000 composers. The sources are preserved in the libraries and archives of 32 countriues.
This online-catalogue contains data on Series A/II: Music manuscripts after 1600, which was previously published as a CD-ROM or an Internet databank. You can search portions of RISM here: http://opac.rism.info/index.php?id=2&L=1
RISM’s databank is the most comprehensive accessible documentation in the area of music manuscripts hitherto, and it will grow constantly through regular updates.
RISM : Repertoire internationale des sources musicales
International inventory of musical sources.
Established in 1952, RISM is an ongoing inventory of the universe of musical literature created prior to 1800.
pre-19th century books on music
manuscript treatises on music
theoretical writings from a variety of sources on music
printed music collections
music in manuscipt form.
Citations include a complete description of the material, and the library/archival location at which these unique resource materials can be found.
RISM is currently administered as a joint production of the RISM Zentralredaktion at Frankfurt/Main, Germany, and the U.S. RISM Office at Harvard University, Cambridge, MA.
RISM: Series A
RISM: Series B