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The Research Libraries Group: new initiatives to improve access to art and architecture information

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  06 June 2016

Katharine Martinez
Affiliation:
Research Libraries Group, Inc., Mountain View, California, USA
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Abstract

This survey of the achievements of the Research Libraries Group (RLG) and its Art and Architecture Group shows the effectiveness of a collaborative approach in developing best practices and standards, and implementing new methodologies and technologies, to benefit the international art library and research communities. RLG members in Europe, North America and Australia include many of the major art research libraries. RLG offers services such as the RLIN bibliographic database and the MARCADIA retrospective conversion service in conjunction with projects documenting sales catalogue records (SCIPIO), preserving serials (the Art Serials Preservation Project) and facilitating the interloan of material between members. More recently the partnership between the RLG and the Getty Information Institute has made available an enormous range of art documentation work carried out by the Getty: standards and authority control work such as the Art & Architecture Thesaurus, the Union List of Artists’ Names and the Thesaurus of Geographic Names. In the 1980s the RLG conducted a survey identifying information needs in the humanities, which has led to resources such as the Bibliography of the History of Art becoming widely accessible, with the Provenance Index to follow shortly. This partnership is now active in the museum field, attempting to bridge the gap between the domains of secondary and primary materials in the field of art research. The REACH project (Record Export for Art and Cultural Heritage) is experimenting with the export of existing machine-readable data from heterogeneous museum collection systems, and testing the feasibility of designing a common interface for access which will complement RLG’s other resources.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Art Libraries Society 1998

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References

1. Katharine Martinez has recently been succeeded by Katie Keller as RLG Member Services Officer for Art and Visual Culture.Google Scholar
2. Gould, Constance C. Information needs in the humanities: an assessment. Mountain View: Research Libraries Group, Inc., 1988.Google Scholar
4. Z39.50 protocol provides a standard means for a search application to submit a query to databases without regard to the kind of hardware or software the database uses.Google Scholar
5. URL: http://www.pica.nl/ Google Scholar
6. The Arts and Humanities Data Service is a national service funded by the Joint Information Systems Committee of the UK’s Higher Education Funding Councils to collect, describe, and preserve the electronic resources which result from research and teaching in the humanities. It will encourage scholarly use of its collections and make information about them available through an on-line catalog. URL: http:/ahds.ac.uk/ Google Scholar
7. The Visual Arts Data Service (VADS) will provide the United Kingdom higher education community with access to networked digital research data in the visual arts, to agreed standards of best practice in the creation, collection, description, and preservation of such resources. URL: http://vads.ahds.ac.uk/ Google Scholar
8. ADAM, the Art, Design, Architecture & Media Information Gateway, is a project to build a searchable on-line catalog describing Internet resources such as web sites or electronic mailing lists. URL: http://adam.ac.uk/adam/ Google Scholar
9. The Museum Documentation Association (MDA) is funded by the Museums and Galleries Commission (MGC) of the United Kingdom to encourage best practice in all aspects of museum documentation.Google Scholar
10. URL: http://www.cimi.org/ Google Scholar

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