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A few years aga the authors started a project of a book on the theory of systems of one-dimensional singular integral equa tions which was planned as a continuation of the monograph by one of the authors and N. Ya. Krupnik ~~ concerning scalar equa tions. This set of notes was initiated as a chapter dealing with problems of factorization of matrix functions vis-a-vis appli cations to systems of singular integral equations. Working systematically onthischapter and adding along the way new points of view, new proofs and results, we finally saw that the material connected with factorizations is of independent interest and we decided to publish this chapter as aseparate volume. In fact, because of recent activity, the amount of material was quite large and we quickly learned that we cannot cover all of the results in complete detail. We have tried to include a represen tative variety of all kinds of methods, techniques,results and applications. Apart of the current work exposes results from the Russian literature which have never appeared in English translation. We have also decided to reflect some of the recent results which make interesting connections between factorization of matrix functions and systems theory. The field remains very active and many results and connec tions are still not weIl understood. These notes should be viewed as a stepping stone to further development. The authors hope that sometime they will return to complete their original plan.