The official bulletin of the Art Libraries Society of North America, 1982-present.

Art Documentation is the official bulletin of the Art Libraries Society of North America, 1982-present. It includes articles and information relevant to art librarianship and visual resources curatorship. Since 1996, it has been published twice yearly (spring and fall). The subscription to Art Documentation is included as part of membership in ARLIS/NA. Authors who wish to publish their work in Art Documentation should consult the Contributor Guidelines.

Art Documentation is published for ARLIS/NA by University of Chicago Press, which supports green open access for all of its journals. Authors may self-archive their own articles and make them freely available through institutional repositories after a one-year embargo. Authors may also post their articles in their published form on their personal or departmental web pages or personal social media pages, use the article in teaching or research presentations, provide single copies in print or electronic form to their colleagues, or republish the article in a subsequent work, subject to giving proper credit to the original publication of the article in Art Documentation, including reproducing the exact copyright notice as it appears in the journal.

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Tables of Contents

To search Art Documentation contents 1982-present, go to the journal home page.


2016: Volume 35

Issue 1 / Spring
Issue 2 / Fall

2015: Volume 34

Issue 1 / Spring
Issue 2 / Fall

2014: Volume 33

Issue 1 / Spring
Issue 2 / Fall

2013: Volume 32

Issue 1 / Spring
Issue 2 / Fall

2012: Volume 31

Issue 1 / Spring
Issue 2 / Fall

2011: Volume 30

Issue 1 / Spring
Issue 2 / Fall

2010: Volume 29

Issue 1 / Spring
Issue 2 / Fall

2009: Volume 28

Issue 1 / Spring
Issue 2 / Fall

2008: Volume 27

Issue 1 / Spring
Issue 2 / Fall


Current Issue Abstracts

Art Documentation vol. 35, no. 2 (Fall 2016)

In Search of Art: A Log Analysis of the Ackland Art Museum’s Collection Search System
Meredith L. Hale

Abstract—Search log data from the Ackland Art Museum’s online collection system was analyzed to determine the search categories most frequently employed by its users. Analysis of the Ackland’s advanced search feature suggest that the department, classification, and artist fields have the highest usage (18.81 percent, 17.51 percent, and 16.47 percent, respectively) while searchers rarely submit specific medium-related queries (2.55 percent). The most common queries described representational subjects in an artwork. In addition, the data showed that external links to the museum’s collections are significant access points. These findings provide insights into how users seek art information and suggest possibilities for improving access to the Ackland’s collections.

Image as Evidence: A Citation Analysis of Visual Resources in American History Scholarship, 2010–2014
Jillian Ewalt

Abstract—The author examines the use of visual resources in American history scholarship over a five-year period. The article reports on a citation analysis of 554 images published in two top American history journals from 2010 through 2014. The data collected in this study documents the extent to which images were used in history research and the types of libraries and archival repositories from which historians accessed images. Based on the study data, the article explores characteristics of frequently cited libraries and archival repositories, the capacity in which images function as historical evidence, and implications for libraries based on the findings.

Citation Analysis and Tenure Metrics in Art, Architecture, and Design-Related Disciplines
Maya Gervits and Rose Orcutt

Abstract—Even with the growing number of tools designed to evaluate research in different fields, coverage of arts and humanities remains limited. These disciplines are not well served by the popular citation-based instruments, both traditional and alternative. The authors argue that no single metric can be used for research assessment. There is a need to adopt commonly accepted indicators for arts and design disciplines and to create a more holistic model for scholarship evaluation—a model that takes into consideration various measures of impact and multiple research outputs.

Undergraduate Studio Art Information Use: A Multi-School Citation Analysis
Katie Greer

Abstract—The author explores the question of whether information-seeking behaviors of studio art students have changed in tandem with recent changes in access and formats of information. This study analyzed citations from thesis papers completed at three different institutions from 2011 to 2014 in order to gain insights into current information-use behaviors of undergraduate studio art students, their use (or not) of the institutional library, and how libraries and librarians can further assist this group going forward.

Developing Online Information Literacy Instruction for the Undergraduate Art Student: A Collaborative Approach in the Context of the Framework for Information Literacy
Elsa Loftis and Jennifer Martinez Wormser

Abstract—Perceiving a lack of integrated information literacy curriculum at our colleges, the library directors of the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD) consortium resolved to create a series of online tutorials aimed at undergraduates in the fields of art and design. The collaborative project needed a partner to produce the tutorials and offer the finished project in an environment accessible to students. When approached about this partnership,, one of the Internet’s leading online learning companies, agreed to work with the AICAD libraries to create an online information literacy course. The course launched in July 2015, and the authors conducted an assessment of the course quality and use nearly one year later by surveying librarians and faculty. This article is a study of how that course was conceived and how it evolved from a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) into its current online tutorial version on

Aligning Circulation Policies with Student Needs and Collection Value: A Historic Comparison of Trends in Academic Art Libraries
Sarah Carter

Abstract—This article presents contemporary trends in circulation policies as they are applied to art, architecture, and design materials at academic libraries in the United States and Canada. Data from a survey of sixty-nine libraries is discussed in comparison with a similar survey implemented twenty years prior. The author argues that changes in circulation policy should be aligned in part with advances in learner-centered pedagogical practice, while still protecting institutional resources. The article offers suggested assessment methods and areas of potential change for librarians considering reevaluation of their circulation policies.

Insights and Overview: The ARLIS/NA Museum E-Book Publishing Survey
Paula Gabbard

Abstract—The author reports on a survey sponsored by the Art Libraries Society of North America (ARLIS/NA) that was sent to forty-nine museum librarians to gain a better understanding of the scope and scale of e-book creation in North American museums. The survey covered both digitized books and born-digital books and requested data from the libraries and the publications departments. Questions included volume of activity, file formats used, distribution methods (platforms, vendors, aggregators), metadata formats, use of preservation service platforms, use of digital rights management, content selection strategies, and staffing configurations. A particularly significant finding was the number of institutions making large quantities of their publications available through open access.

Catalogs with a Global Reach: Collecting PDF Contemporary Gallery Catalogs at the Thomas J. Watson Library, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Tina Lidogoster and Andrea Puccio

Since 2001, The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Thomas J. Watson Library has been building an unparalleled collection of contemporary art gallery exhibition catalogs thanks to the solicitation efforts of library staff and volunteers and the generosity of galleries around the world. Many of these catalogs feature emerging or lesser-known artists from all corners of the world whose works may not be documented elsewhere and are of great importance to researchers with a global focus. Increasingly, galleries have been providing digital exhibition catalogs in lieu of, or in addition to, their print counterparts. This digital format presents new challenges in terms of rights permissions, storage, and access. In response, Watson Library developed a workflow to handle these items, including amending the solicitation letter to incorporate a provision for open access and utilizing cloud-based storage through an Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) account. These solutions have made it possible for Watson Library to provide free remote access to these materials, making them instantly available to researchers worldwide. In this article, the authors describe the project that led to this collection and how Watson Library acquires, catalogs, and provides open access to these unique resources.

From Silos to Opaquenamespace: Oregon Digital’s Migration to Linked Open Data in Hydra
Julia Simic and Sarah Seymore

The University of Oregon and Oregon State University migrated their joint digital collections, Oregon Digital, in 2013–2015. During the migration, massive data normalization was undertaken for over 300,000 digital items, and Linked Open Data (LOD) was integrated into metadata records. Metadata schema were abandoned in favor of a consolidated but diversely sourced set of LOD predicates. Local vocabularies were codified and published as LOD in the Oregon Digital triple store Opaquenamespace. This paper documents the accomplishments and challenges of the process.

A Controlled Vocabulary to Support Art Documentation in Brazil
Vânia Mara Alves Lima, Ivani Di Grazia Costa, and Magda de Oliveira Guimarães

This article reports on the result of the joint efforts of the Library and Documentation Center of São Paulo Museum of Art and the School of Communications and Arts at the University of São Paulo to develop a method-ology to update, improve, and manage a controlled vocabulary to optimize access to art documentation. The linguistic, terminological, and documentary criteria support the construction of this controlled vocabulary to standardize the representation of specialized information in art libraries in São Paulo, Brazil. The project is supported by a grant from the São Paulo Research Foundation under its public policy program. As a final goal, the authors hope to implement this methodology as the best practices and guidelines for creating and maintaining controlled vocabularies within Brazil and to promote interoperability with other international controlled vocabularies in the future.

Digitizing Ephemera Reloaded: A Digitization Plan for an Art Museum Library
Kai Alexis Smith

Access, discovery, and preservation have historically been concerns for artists’ file collections. To address these issues, the author outlines a systematic digitization plan developed during an internship at the National Gallery of Art Library in Washington, DC, during the summer of 2013. Discovery, execution on limited funds, a realistic workflow, and standards are just a few of the areas any digitization project must consider. This study is an example of how institutions of any size can approach digitization of ephemera and better serve their constituents.

Preserving Artists’ Personal Libraries: Providing Insights into the Creative Process
Anne H. Young

The subject of preserving artists’ personal libraries is rarely discussed in the field of art librarianship. Within the United States, evidence that historic preservation professionals and artist foundations are maintaining collections of books owned by artists indicates that these are important sources of insight into their creativity. In this article, the author explores the scope of artists’ personal libraries, examines their role in research and scholarship, and considers ways that art libraries can actively participate in their preservation.