The temporary cessation to publication of the leading and most comprehensive bibliography in the arts, the International bibliography of art (formerly Bibliography of the history of art) in 2009, led to a lively debate on the future of art bibliography. Many scholars, librarians and information specialists were in favour of saving the established model and of ensuring its continuing existence. At the same time there arose the controversial and much-debated question of whether the traditional model of the IBA – grounded in an intellectual analysis of documents (articles from journals, monographs, exhibition catalogues, etc.) and their description with standardised metadata and abstracts – still corresponds to the needs of modern research on the one hand and to the new potentialities and realities of displaying, connecting, exchanging and gaining information in digital data networks on the other. Library catalogues play a decisive role in this consideration: unlike bibliographies, which follow traditional and more or less unvaried standards, they have mutated to a great degree from inflexible registers to dynamic networks. They enrich and connect the bibliographic information with additional data, they invite the user to tag and to review the corresponding literature and they enable complex forms of unforeseeable discovery. Thus the ‘crisis’ into which art bibliography was plunged when the old IBA ceased publication, at the same time opened up the opportunity to discuss alternative, future-oriented solutions for the appropriate format of bibliographic information supply in the arts today.