In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

Reviewed by:
  • International Index to Music Periodicals Full Text
  • Paul Cary
International Index to Music Periodicals Full Text. ProQuest LLC, 2010. (Accessed August 2009 to March 2010). [Requires a Web browser, an Internet connection, Adobe Reader plug-in to view PDF files, Adobe Flash plug-in to view animated content, and Apple Quick Time Player or Windows Media Player to listen to audio content. Pricing: dependent on the type of library and the size of its user population.]

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International Index to Music Periodicals (IIMP) joined the field of music periodical indexing in late 1996 as a competitor to Music Index and RILM Abstracts. IIMP has always been an electronic product and was never available in print. After a couple of mergers, the publisher, Chadwyck-Healey, is now part of ProQuest. The database claims to provide "indexing and abstracts for more than 440 international music periodicals, plus full text for 130 journals" (from the product description at


The database essentially contains two separate groups of records: current records—which generally include abstracts and subject descriptors—from 1996 on, and retrospective records from before 1996, which do not include abstracts or subject headings. In the early days of the product, the two sets were separate files, but they have long since been merged into a single database. So what is the breakdown between retrospective and current? Is the database more useful for newer records or older ones? Fortunately, the ability to do "blank" searches (with no search terms but with a range of dates), makes these questions fairly easy to answer. In February 2010, 622,968 (74 percent) of the 840,206 total citations were "current" records from 1996 on. In contrast, breaking the pre-1996 records down into five-year periods shows that coverage from 1991 to 1995 contains 57,963 citations. The number decreases for each preceding five-year span, as results sets drop below 20,000 hits for 1981–85 and below 10,000 hits for 1951–55. These numbers can be contrasted with the span 2001–05, which indexes 228,557 articles. So clearly, the bulk of the citations are within the last fifteen years. On the one hand, the value of the retrospective citations is diminished by the absence of subject headings and abstracts, yet that deficiency is counter-balanced by the presence of full text for some of the records (providing one subscribes to the full-text version). Coverage in IIMP overlaps substantially with Music Index and RILM, but there is also a fair amount of divergence in titles indexed. For details on overlap and on currency of indexing, see Alan Green's article "Keeping Up With the Times: Evaluating Currency of Indexing, Language Coverage and Subject Area Coverage in the Three Music Periodical Index Databases" (Music Reference Services Quarterly 8, no. 1 [ January 2001]: 53).

The basic database content of IIMP is also supplemented by an assortment of resources under the heading Reference. These adjuncts are currently all taken from Naxos Music Library (NML), and they include a glossary, a collection of opera synopses, music fundamental terms, and a pronunciation guide. These rudimentary resources may be helpful to a user confronted by unfamiliar terms or concepts, particularly while outside the library; they are not, however, a substitute for the many quality resources found in music libraries (or elsewhere online). IIMP also includes links from subject headings for composers to the corresponding composer pages in Naxos Music Library. This rather broad approach may be helpful, but the user will have to do some digging to find specific works.


IIMP can be searched through a quick search function that offers only the ability to enter keyword terms into a single search box, but most users (and most searches) will benefit from the use of the "Search Articles" page. This search option offers the ability to restrict a search to particular indexes (author, title, journal, broad subject and narrow subject) as well as limiting by date, language, publication type, and other criteria.

How much do subject headings matter, and how much does their absence affect the complete, focused...


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