The UIC is growing little by little every day, and one of the most complicated parts of the database maintenance regime is to fulfil the underlying concept that every instrument should only have one UIC.
To give you a glimpse of the complexity of the process, we recently were asked to include an instrument called String Drum which can be either a percussion instrument (with the alternate name Lion’s Roar) or a type of Zither (use to describe a type of psaltery) and so more information was required. To avoid this confusion, in the UIC we named the instrument Lion’s Roar, and provided String Drum as an alternate name. Interestingly if you look at some other common names for the same instrument: Löwengebrull, tambour à cordes and rugghio di leone, they also switch between the reference of a Lion and a Drum and so the confusion is not just a English problem.
There is also my often quoted example of the Tenor Horn, which is also known in some parts as an Alto Horn, or perhaps an E♭ Horn – you can choose whatever name you like, they are all correct but confusing all the same (in the UIC we decided to include BOTH an Alto Horn and a Tenor Horn, because there was some evidence that it could describe a different instrument in some cases).
The challenge to maintain the integrity of the UIC list means that from time to time we will need to make changes to a UIC (to remove a duplicate entry or change an existing one) and so we recently added a new Errata table to the service to control this process.
For HLMSW users, when a change to the UIC is required, the B2B interface will automatically and transparently keep your data in synch with the Global UIC lists.
UIC Management by Committee
There are also plans to hand over the management of the UIC to a select group of musicologists and librarians to ensure that the resource continues to expand to meet the requirements of all who use it. Interested to participate? Please let us know.