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Muscat is RISM's central cataloging program for musical sources (manuscripts, printed music, libretti, and treatises).

The program was developed by the RISM Central Office in cooperation with RISM Switzerland. Muscat was already used in earlier versions by RISM Switzerland and RISM UK. Muscat was made available to the entire RISM community in 2016. Kallisto is no longer in use.

About Muscat

Muscat includes sources from the various RISM series A/I, A/II, and B/I, which are in one database for the first time after having previously been managed in separate places. As of September 2018, Muscat contains in total 1,132,000 musical sources, 111,700 authority records for personal names, 70,400 institutions, and 34,500 records for secondary literature.

Muscat is a multilingual, open source, web-based, platform-independent program. It uses MARC21 and thus has an internationally widespread and standardized data model at its core. Additional features include:

  • Built-in version control to identify changes
  • Ability to leave comments for sources and authority files
  • Intuitive management of digital objects
  • Ability to create folders to organize your work
  • Link to VIAF to import personal name authority files
  • Custom-built module to display incipits
  • Expanded ability to add guidelines in different languages
  • Integrated full online catalog search with geovisualizations
  • Interfaces in English, German, French, and Italian, with translations in Spanish and Portuguese in preparation
  • Separate training server for practice

Please see the Muscat project page for detailed information on the history and philosophy of this software project, its its technical components, and what it offers.

Feel free to contact Jennifer Ward if you have any questions about using Muscat, contributing to RISM through Muscat, or if you wish for a live demonstration of Muscat.

Technical requirements

  • Muscat is platform independent and works on both Macs and PCs.
  • Access is through a URL and requires an Internet connection. No installation is required, and nothing needs to be downloaded.
  • Muscat works best on screens that are at least 1366 x 768 pixels.
  • Muscat is optimized for Firefox and Chrome. Do not use Internet Explorer!

Tutorials: General

Tutorials will be linked here as they are completed.

Introductory videos for Muscat:

  • Muscat: A Quick Overview: If you have time to watch only one video on Muscat, this is it!
  • Authority files and indexes: All about RISM authority files, indexes, and controlled vocabulary, how to link to them, and how to add to them.
  • Basic functions: The basic buttons, actions, and features of Muscat are shown. You should be familiar with these before you do any cataloging. Shown are basic functions in the Sources view, viewing mode, editing mode, and how to add comments. 
  • First steps: How to edit existing data and how to begin a new record.

    • Search using filters and faceted search
    • Duplicate a record and use new record template


    Special topics:

    Tutorials: Music manuscripts

    Basic source cataloging:

    Step-by-step guides to entering sources

    1. If you have a score: PDF  Video on YouTube
    2. If you have only parts: PDF
    3. If you have a score and parts: PDF
    4. If you have a source that contains more than one work (a collection): PDF
    5. Special rules for non-Latin scripts: PDF

    Download the examples used in the videos:


    Score and part


    More examples to practice:

    1. Example 1: Score      card  full record in Muscat
    2. Example 2: Score and part      card     full record in Muscat
    3. Example 3: Collection      card     full record in Muscat

    Tutorials: Printed music

    Always search for the print first in Muscat or the RISM online catalog. Watch this YouTube video about different search strategies for finding the right record in RISM. Check to see if the print in RISM is identical with the item in hand. Refer to the guidelines on when to enter a new record.

    • If you find the print, you can add/edit your holdings. You may also revise the record.
    • If you don't find a match, enter a new record.
    • Records are sometimes inconsistent or confusing. Ask us if you have any questions!


     Three ways to contribute printed music to RISM

    1. Add and edit your holdings to printed music
      Complete instructions: Video on YouTube     PDF
      One-page version: PDF
      This is RISM's priority for printed music and is the easiest way for a library to contribute. Find the print in RISM, add your holdings, and enter the shelfmark.

      • Please note: Most B/I records from the years 1551-1700 are currently unpublished. If you add holdings, the record will remain unpublished unless it is revised (see below).

    2. Revise existing RISM records
      Complete instructions: PDF
      One-page version: PDF

      Records imported from RISM's printed volumes A/I (music by one composer published up to ca. 1800) and B/I (music by multiple composers, i.e. anthologies, published up to 1700) are in Muscat. Please observe the following if you choose to revise the records:

      • A/I: The vast majority of A/I records need to be revised. Most prints in fact contain multiple works, so an A/I record must be edited into a collection record and individual entries are needed. A/I is already in the online catalog.
      • B/I to 1550: The vast majority of B/I records up to the year 1550 need to be revised, including any individual entries that are already attached to the parent record. It is frequently the case that reprints ("following entries") do not have individual entries, while the initial entries (i.e., the prints treated as the first edition in the book) do. These are already in the online catalog.
      • B/I from 1551 to 1700: The following years are in Muscat and have been published: 1501-1550, 1601-1650, and most of 1651-1690. The rest are in Muscat but not in the online catalog because the entries are very rudimentary. All the B/I records have Muscat numbers that begin with 993.
        Even the published records can usually be improved by adding individual entries and music incipits.
        The unpublished records must be completely revised and individual entries must be added. If you revise a record, leave it unpublished but add a quick comment to the record saying the record has been revised (save the record, then go to the bottom under "Comments"). Central Office staff will look at the record and we will publish it.

    3. Add new records for printed music
      Complete instructions: PDF
      Two-page version: PDF
      If your print falls outside the scope of A/I or B/I, chances are it is not in Muscat. Always do a quick search first, though, to see if someone else has already entered it. If you don't find it, create a new record.


    Current limitations

    For a few prints, you will not see an "add holdings" button. (These are mostly print records that were created with Kallisto.) If you have the same print, send the Central Office (contact@rism.info) your holdings information (at least siglum and shelfmark) and we will add it once these records have been converted.

    Training server

    A training version of Muscat is available where you can:

    • practice and experiment with records
    • add, change, and delete information
    • not worry about making mistakes or ruining anything
    • look at the RISM guidelines
    • get an overview of Muscat's features 

    The Muscat training server is:

    • identical to the live version of Muscat in data and structure
    • reset once a week with current data from the live server
    • ideal for workshops, demonstrations, and conferences

    The logins training01@rism.info to training99@rism.info are available—in other words, each participant in a workshop can have a different login. Training users are "members" of the US working group and have editing rights for all sources that begin with the siglum US-*. Please contact the Central Office to receive the current password.


    Muscat workshops are hosted by the RISM Central Office or organized by members of our national groups around the world. If you are interested in organizing a workshop, we're happy to assist. We can also give online Muscat demonstrations through Skype.

    Access to a training server is available for use in demonstrations, at conferences, or in workshops.

    To our regular Muscat users: You can also hold a Muscat workshop! Consider proposing a Muscat session for your next library or musicological association conference.

    Upcoming workshops

    • Fall workshops: Muscat introduction, online, German and English. See the announcement for more information.

      • November 16 and 18, 2020 (German, English)
      • November 23 and 25, 2020 (Italian)
      • November 24 and 26, 2020 (English)
      • November 29 and December 1, 2020 (English)

    • November 2020 (Fridays): Ewha Womans University, Seoul, South Korea (JeongYoun Chang, Korea National University of Arts)
    • November 2020 (date TBD): Editing printed music, online (Jennifer Ward, RISM Central Office)

    Past workshops and demonstrations