How to Cite RISM Records

The RISM ID number

RISM is happy when scholars cite RISM records in their publications. Here we'll show you how to do that.

RISM ID number:
To cite musical sources that have records in the RISM online catalog, use the RISM ID number. This number appears in the bottom right-hand corner of a record (see image, left).

The RISM number can consist of nine or more digits, sometimes preceded by zeros. Here are some examples of RISM ID numbers:

Use the RISM number regardless of source type: manuscript, printed edition, treatise, or libretto.

A/I and B/I numbers: Sources from series A/I (Individual Prints before 1800) and B/I (printed anthologies, currently covering 1500-1550) that were originally reported in the printed volumes have their own identifiers—which are still valid—in addition to the electronic catalog's nine-digit numbers. If you wish to cite the A/I or B/I number, make sure to include the series name and note the space between the letters and numbers:

As new imprints are added to the database, however, the numbering system used in the books is not being continued. Records for new imprints will only have the RISM ID numbers as described above. If you cite an imprint that has an A/I or B/I number, you are free to cite either the series number or the nine-digit RISM ID number. Please note accordingly, however, that in the literature you may see two identifiers that refer to the same print.

Electronic publications: Each record in the online catalog has a permalink. Permalinks can be used to link to the RISM record in electronic publications (as I've done throughout this post). The permalink is linked above the composer's name in a record:

RISM permalink

Bonus tip: When citing a manuscript in a publication, you can further aid in identifying the source by including the RISM library siglum and shelfmark. For the manuscript used in the previous example, I would add this to my citation:

  • Schleswig-Holsteinische Landesbibliothek (D-KIl), shelfmark C Wn 866 (RISM ID no. 450031804)

Bonus tip #2: The URL to the RISM online catalog can simply be cited as:


Category: RISM online catalog

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