The International Inventory of Musical Sources - Répertoire International des Sources Musicales (RISM) - is an international, non-profit organization 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. RISM verifies what exists and where it is kept.
In 40 countries one or more national RISM-working groups are involved in this global project. The work results are forwarded to the RISM-central editorial office in Frankfurt am Main, that edit and publish the title messages. Through the cataloguing and publication in a comprehensive encyclopaedia, the musical transmission is one the one hand protected and on the other hand made accessible for the Musicology and performing musicians.
In a series A/I the single prints are verified with the names of the composers and the site- in a series A/II the music manuscripts after 1600. The series B is intended for special repertories, like for example collective prints of the 16th and 17th century, the German hymn, sources from musical theory in Latin, Greek, Arabic, Hebrew and Persian etc. These three series are complemented through a series C: the Directory of Music Research Libraries. The description of music manuscripts (A/II) forms the most comprehensive complex of the whole RISM and is the focus of the work. The handwritten notes are described comprehensively according to a uniform pattern with more than 100 categories and saved in a database.
Because of a cooperation with the state library Berlin and the Bavarian state library the RISM can offer an online-catalogue for free research. RISM data is open data. Their usage in other scientific project is desirable and is supported by the central editorial office with various tools.