Saturday, March 20, 2010

Groundbreaking Partnership Unites Decades of Research

New York Times

MOST people associate museums with art and artifacts, not research libraries. But many of New York’s most prestigious museums have extensive collections of books and papers. Four of them — the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Brooklyn Museum and the Frick Collection — have combined forces to share resources, save money and make their holdings more accessible to the public.

Together these institutions make up the New York Art Resources Consortium, an integrated library system formed in 2007 that is supported by grants from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Its Web site,, just went on line in February. Last year, three of the museums united their collections in one catalog, called Arcade (the Met has kept its catalog separate).

“This allows us to do some things collaboratively that we weren’t able to do individually,” said Milan R. Hughston, the chief of library and museum archives at MoMA. “Together we aggregate close to a million books, articles, periodicals and special collections that document art history.”

The database, at, is a trove of more than 800,000 records from ancient Egypt to contemporary art that includes exhibition and auction sale catalogs, monographs, periodicals, rare books, photographs and archival materials.

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