RISM at the Helsinki Cataloging Seminar

RISM participated in the Helsinki Cataloging Seminar hosted by the University of Helsinki and the National Library of Finland last month, which took place on October 22. I (Jennifer Ward) was invited by our colleague Jaakko Tuohiniemi (Helsinki University Library) to hold to keynote address for an audience that was made up of catalogers from around Finland. Most of the people in the auditorium were from institutions in Helsinki or nearby, and about 200 people joined us online to participate (see the first link above for slides). 

I found out I was the first international speaker to give a presentation at their seminar. My paper was called "Musical Work Recognition, Linked Data, and RISM" and it introduced a lot of people to the RISM project for the first time. Though we are of course a very specialized project, the work that we do with authority files, standardized terms, and linked data as part of an international, collaborative project found resonance among the catalogers. Our music incipit search never fails to impress!  

The other presentations were of course in Finnish but Jaakko kindly translated for me. There has apparently been a big upgrade to the Finnish application of the MARC21 standard, so several presentations were concerned with the applications of the new fields and data migration/adjustment in the old records. One paper, by Jaska Järvilehto of the Helsinki Conservatory, explored the implications for music.

I learned about Finna, which is a collective catalog of libraries, museums, and archives in Finland. You can find music manuscripts by limiting the content type to a "musical score." I was interested to hear about the challenges presented by bilingual vocabularies: since Finland has two official languages (Swedish in addition to Finnish), terms of course have to be present in both languages. But sometimes a single word in Finnish has two possible translations in Swedish, and vice versa. The Finto service lists vocabularies and ontologies in use. For music, the Musiikin asiasanasto (Finnish Music Thesaurus), Musiikin ontologia (Ontology for Music), and SEKO for musical instruments are of interest.   

I would like to thank Tatja Pusa (National Library of Finland) for her organizational assistance and Jaakko Tuohiniemi for the invitation to speak. I was grateful for the opportunity to share our work with our Finnish colleagues, and in the course of the seminar day I had the opportunity to talk to our music library colleagues from Helsinki and elsewhere. We have around 1,100 records in RISM from Finnish institutions, and I hope that we can intensify our cooperation with them. Kiitos!


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