This summer Dr. Sarah Adams, Keeper of the Isham Memorial Library in Loeb Music Library, was appointed Director of the U.S. Office of Répertoire International des Sources Musicales (RISM).

RISM, which is housed at Loeb Music Library, a unit of the Harvard College Library, is an international inventory of musical sources, dedicated to identifying, cataloging and describing musical manuscripts from the earliest times through about 1850. The responsibility of director of the U.S. office, Adams says, is an exciting challenge.

“It is an honor for the Loeb Music Library that Sarah Adams has been appointed to this post,” says Richard F. French Librarian, Virginia Danielson. “It is one of the most important positions in music librarianship internationally. Sarah's background as a scholar of 18th-century music and as a research librarian render her an excellent choice for the job. Her scholarly work and her previous experience as a Project Manager of U.S. RISM has brought her into close contact with musical resources across North America. She will offer a great deal to the increasing accessibility of musical sources world wide.”

The RISM office was first moved to Harvard College Library from the Library of Congress in July of 1977, and has since managed the American contributions to this international organization. The chief responsibilities, Adams explains, are the involvement with the inventory of musical manuscripts and the transition to a service oriented facility. The office is charged with receiving data from U.S. libraries and archives, updating and correcting the RISM database and supplying information to the international RISM office. “I will be working in consultation with the U.S. RISM committee,” says Adams, “keeping them informed and developing future projects with them that advance the RISM endeavor.”

Adams' predecessor, Librarian for Information Technology for Harvard College Library, John Howard, who was the first director of the U.S. office, resigned from the position after 24 years. He is pleased to have Adams as his successor. “ Sarah is an experienced bibliographer with special interests and expertise in the musical repertories with which RISM is primarily concerned,” he says. “Her appointment as director of the office will continue the high level of service that the office is able to provide the scholarly community at large.”

Adams' immediate goals for the office are to work closely with librarians and archivists to facilitate the submission of new data, and to mount a web site linked to the main RISM site to aid in this process.

These added duties will be a challenge for Adams who continues her full-time position at the Isham Library, but she says, “I look forward to integrating the RISM duties with my responsibilities as the Keeper of the Isham Library as I consider the appointment a privilege as well as a professional responsibility.”


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