International ISMN Agency

The International Standard Music Number for Notated Music.
A System for Publishing, Distribution and Library Practices




The National Book Chamber in Almaty signs the contract for acting as ISMN Agency in Kazakhstan.

Partitor vzw, the Belgium Music Publishers Association, decided to introduce the ISMN in Belgium and signed a contract with the International Agency. This seems the more a promising development for the dissemination of the ISMN in Belgium as the scope of work of Partitor covers both the Flemish and the Walloon areas of the country.

Dear Colleagues,

Finally I have ISMN news for you --- some good, some bad, or let's say, less good.

The good news first: After several months of bureaucratic struggles the new International ISMN Agency is finally registered as an association under German law. The current (interim) board consists of Dr. Joachim Jaenecke (State Library, deputy chair), Dr. Bettina von Seyfried (German Music Archives, treasurer), and myself (chair). Building on the experience of ISBN we decided to start the association with German members only --- not as a discrimination but in order to shorten the registration formalities: Nowadays the courts suspect you always of trying to establish money laundries, or other odd activities, and therefore they check very thoroughly.

The next step is to establish an account, and get some other formalities taken care of. Very soon I shall send all of you a form stating that you (i.e. your institution) become member of the International ISMN Agency and that the existing contracts remain valid. Actually, the Agency remains the same, the address the same, the people the same --- it is just that the Agency will no longer be an integral part of the State Library but will just have its office. Therefore I assume that the signing of an additional form seems the easiest way to handle the matter. Will your administrations have difficulty with that?

You are all aware of the next ISMN Panel to be hosted by the National Library of Norway, at the end of May, 2007. That will then be the first Annual General Assembly as prescribed by law.

The second news item is less positive. Some of you have been asking for a while how the standard revision is going on. No progress, unfortunately! The year started auspiciously: At the ISO TC46/SC9 meeting we discussed an improved Committee Draft, and things looked good. Then the secretary of SC9 took the notes with her to Paris (in April), to an ISSN meeting, to work on it during the weekend. At the dinner in the evening (at a restaurant) the notes were stolen!! Since then the secretary has tried to reconstruct the draft but also got other work to do in her library, owing to a restructuring of operations. I keep sending regular notes to Ottawa to remind poor Jane Thacker of our needs. Brian Green, chair of SC9, emphasized our desperate needs by phone.

Unfortunately, before the missing draft has not been voted upon, we cannot make any definitive statement on the future standard --- We keep at it --- and things can now only get better!!

Best wishes,

Hartmut Walravens

On 31 October 2006, the new Association "Internationale ISMN-Agentur e.V." has been registered by the district court in Berlin. The Inaugural Assembly had taken place on June 29.

The ISMN Newsletter 16 presenting the results of the Panel Meeting in Helsinki can be downloaded here. A printed version will soon be on its way.

The 15th International ISMN Panel Meeting will take place in Oslo at the kind invitation of Berit Holth and the Norwegian ISMN Agency. The meeting is scheduled for May 31 and June 1.

On June 29, 2006, the Inaugural Assembly of the "Internationale ISMN-Agentur e.V." took place. The Statutes were accepted and an Interim Board elected. Board members are: Dr. Hartmut Walravens (Chair Person), Dr. Joachim Jaenecke (Vice Chair Person), and Dr. Bettina von Seyfried (Treasurer). National ISMN Agencies will be asked to become members of this new Association. The first regular General Assembly will be held during the 15th International ISMN Panel Meeting in Oslo in May/June 2007.

On June 8-9, 2006, the 14th International ISMN Panel Meeting took place in Helsinki at the Helsinki University Library at the invitation of the Finnish ISMN Agency which is headed by Maarit Huttunen.

Discussions focussed on the institutional changes which are on their way with respect to the International ISMN Agency. The foundation of a membership association will not only concern the institutional setting of the International Agency, but touch on the status of the national or regional ISMN agencies as well. On the basis of the existing bilateral contracts, agencies are supposed to become members; membership fees will have to be recalculated based on a new method considering the gross national product (GNP) and the average output of editions of notated music in a specific country. It was decided that the membership fees paid in the past will not be changed for 2006 and 2007, until the first regular General Assembly during the 2007 ISMN Panel Meeting will decide on a new payment scheme.

The revision of the ISMN standard, the change from the ISMN-10 to the ISMN-13, was only addressed shortly as, for a variety of reasons, the revision process is not making much progress at the moment.

Two interesting papers were presented: Pekka Sipilä, Managing Director of the Finnish Music Publishers' Association, discussed the use of the ISMN in online licensing; Timo Virtanen presented the Jean Sibelius project, the publication of Jean Sibelius's complete works at Breitkopf & Härtel.

A detailed report about the meeting will be published in the ISMN Newsletter No. 16.

In the framework of the "Anuario de Estad�sticas Culturales 2005," detailed statistics about the ISMN music publishers and their editions of notated music in Spain were published covering the years 2003-2004. In the chapter about "Artes escénicas y musicales" statistical data are given about the musical genres, editorial formats, the numer of pages, the print run, etc. of the published musical notations. For a closer look at the statistics, click here. For an online version of the complete "Anuario", please log on to plantilla_wai.jsp?id=566&area=estadisticas.

At the TC46/SC9 meeting in Chiang Mai, Thailand, on February 7, 2006, the Working Draft (TC46/SC9 document N409), agreed upon by the participants of the ISMN Panel Meeting in Zagreb (May 2005), was evaluated in the light of the comments and suggestions which the TC46/SC9 members had put forward while voting on this draft document.

In the light of the fact that two of the members had questioned a separate standard number for editions of notated music, Dr. Walravens, the Director of the International ISMN Agency, explained the differences between the book market and the market for printed music necessitating separate numbering standards for both types of print product.

The results of the discussion in Chiang Mai will lead to a Committee Draft (CD) which will be drawn up and disseminated by the TC46/SC9 secretariat soon. There will be a voting period of three months. With the acceptance of the CD by the voting members of TC46/SC9, a Draft International Standard (DIS) will be reached. If no more general objections against the ISMN standard or parts of the Committee Draft will be raised, it is hoped that the revision process of the ISMN standard will proceed according to a "fast track" mode.