RIdIM: Répertoire International d'Iconographie Musicale

imageThe 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 of music, theatre and dance subject matter; and, secondly, it functions as a strategic and practical 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, theatre and dance. 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 maximise 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.

As the only international, cross-genre index of visual sources of music, dance and theatre many scholarly and professional groups are currently involved with the cataloguing and research activities which RIdIM sponsors. In addition to the academic world there exist many more groups that benefit from the work of RIdIM. RIdIM can play an active role in the provision of support for academic institutions wishing to teach undergraduate or postgraduate modules within any faculty, including discussions for a postgraduate module. This work has included the provision of experts free of charge to the institution as well as telephone and email advice, recommended reading lists and sources, as well as free and open access to the database.

The cataloguing departments of museums and libraries profit from the information and knowledge provided by RIdIM since they generally have no professional staff trained in music iconography at their disposal. The benefit of RIdIM’s work to research in historically informed music practice and organology ranges from information about the construction of musical instruments and the setting of ancient opera productions and orchestral performance to the use of appropriate visual material for audio production such as for CD covers and booklet illustrations. Galleries wishing to present historically-informed music-related exhibitions and performances have used the expertise of RIdIM in both sourcing of appropriate instruments, music and costume for display and of current methodologies of the close reading of visual sources. RIdIM has also contributed to the content of exhibition catalogues and curatorial signage.

RIdIM also actively supports relevant activities in the field of the protection of visual cultural assets and the exploration of a new understanding of visual sources as an essential part and parcel of our cultural heritage.

Publications produced by RIdIM include a book series Studies in Music, Theatre and Dance Iconography, the journal Imago Musicae and the Association RIdIM Newsletter.

Further information: www.ridim.org