ARLIS/NA Collection Development SIG Blog

For ARLIS/NA members interested in collection development issues.

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How do you use social media for acquisitions? / contributed by Ross Day

Lately I have been intrigued by the idea of mining social media sites to enrich my acquisitions activities. I’m specifically looking in non-traditional notification streams for under-publicized, quirky or alternative titles, or to hear in advance of forthcoming publications. Much art publication turns on the exhibition calendar, and social media sites—whether official or unofficial—are often the timeliest source for new titles and web sites. By now museums and galleries are very much in the game.

There are countless other sites on the visual arts, and sifting through them can be time-consuming and frustrating. If fashion or design is your thing, there are entire subgenres of sites devoted to those topics alone.

These days most social media destinations cross-post: it hardly matters (for the most part) whether you follow on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr or Instagram, to name only the most popular. I use Facebook and Instagram most frequently, so my examples come from there. You no doubt have your own favorite platforms. Bear in mind that they have their favorites too: activity may vary from site to site.

I want to share a few of my favorites and urge you to offer favorites of your own. I mention them merely as examples and not as epitomes. It’s important for each of us to explore our own favorite sources. Frankly much of the fun is in discovering and sharing.

[Links below are to their web presence, where you can select your favorite social media platform.]

Two news and information sources I find useful are Colossal and Hyperallergic. Colossal is a Chicago-based blog showcasing “photography, design, animation, painting, installation art, architecture, drawing, and street art.” It was through Colossal that I heard about the newly published limited-edition “Banksy in New York” by Ray Mock—and ordered a copy for the library the same day.

Brooklyn-based Hyperallegic, which styles itself as “a forum for serious, playful and radical thinking about art in the world today,” is less targeted to publications but is still valuable for catching the fleetingly topical art Zeitgeist. It’s also good for identifying (in hindsight) those artists who might be underrepresented in or downright absent from our collections.

There are a number of art book publishers, sellers and book enthusiasts appearing in social media. One of the most active and useful for me has been Artbook at MOMA PS1, particularly via Instagram as artbookps1. They are especially strong on small run, cutting-edge and (alas) all too ephemeral art and culture magazines. I’m also partial to zeropluspublishing in Los Angeles. Also on Instragram I enjoy following harpersbooks, a Long Island gallery and book store; as well as the personal postings of fashionbookshelves (out of Turkey) and the Instagram link: dustjackets … well, because.

In a more traditional vein, Michael Shamansky Art Books (Facebook) frequently posts new titles of interest on Facebook. If the eighteenth century is your game, you can always follow Enfilade (Pinterest).

In a somewhat lighter vein, don’t overlook the efforts of your colleagues. I tip my hat to fellow librarian Holly Hatheway for her frequent “New Art Book of the Day” posts. And in a ‘turnabout fair play’ I have often posted a “Weird Art Book of the Day” to Facebook based on titles I’ve spotted in my explorations.

Who else is posting their favorite art titles, and where? Share!

Ross Day
Watson Library
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

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Online Scholarly Catalogue Initiative (OCSI) in WorldCat / announcement by Julie H. Butash

The Getty Foundation is pleased to share that nearly all of the digital publications supported through the Online Scholarly Catalogue Initiative (OSCI) have been catalogued in WorldCat and are ready for inclusion in your own library’s catalogue:

OSCI aims to transform museum publishing by reinventing the scholarly collection catalogue for the digital age. Online catalogues can reach virtually unlimited scholarly audiences around the globe. They allow for frequent updates and changes, and permit direct links to a limitless array of primary and secondary resources, from archival documentation and conservation information to audio and video interviews with artists and curators. By using new tools and technologies, museums are able to offer deeper, richer content, tailored to the needs of varied audiences.

Online catalogues are now available from the following OSCI museums:

  • Art Institute of Chicago
  • Los Angeles County Museum of Art
  • National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC
  • San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
  • Seattle Art Museum
  • Tate
  • Walker Art Center

Stay tuned for the forthcoming catalogue from the Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery.

We are pleased to be able to share these innovative catalogues with you!

If you have any questions, please feel free to email me. Thank you.


Julie H. Butash
Program Assistant
The Getty Foundation
1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 800
Los Angeles, CA 90049-1685
T: 310-440-7288

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Finding the O.P. Art Book to Purchase/by Susan Craig

One of the biggest changes in the 40 years that I’ve been an art librarian is in the ease of locating out-of-print books to purchase for the library’s collection. In the old days (pre-Internet), librarians needed phenomenal memories and endless amounts of time. We would identify titles that we wanted to buy and then try to match them with offerings from favored dealers through scanning the printed catalogs or slips sent to us by dealers. Many were the hours that I perused dealers’ catalogs looking for specific titles—usually without success.

The reason I needed the o.p. work would vary. Sometimes it was an item that had been checked out and not returned—or possibly returned damaged—and I needed to replace it in the collection. Sometimes it was to support a newly hired faculty member whose specialty was new to our institution. Occasionally, it was simply a title that I missed buying when it was first published in a short print run.

My current process for finding an o.p. book is to look through one of the booksearch engines like,, or These meta-searches will often include not only individual dealers but also sources such as Amazon, Abebooks, Alibris, and European resources like ZVAB, Antiqbooks, Livre-Rare-Book. When searching, you can usually indicate your binding choice, price range, and even condition restrictions. The resulting list of offerings will usually be arranged by price and you need to have some criteria in mind when making a selection. My institution wants the condition to be Very Good or above and needs to have the vendor accept a credit card payment. I prefer not to have other library’s markings in the books that I buy and I definitely don’t want underlining and highlighting. Having a book jacket in pristine condition will usually raise the price but is irrelevant to a library that routinely discards the jacket during processing. I also look at the shipping cost since a cheaper book may have a high shipping rate. When prices and conditions are similar, I will select a vendor who specializes in art books—especially those whom I’ve met at ARLIS/NA conferences.

Very occasionally, I will not be able to find a copy at a price or condition that I want to buy. At that point, I would consider contacting a specialist art book dealer and asking them to “search” for a copy using my criteria and alert me if they find one. This process can be lengthy so I only do this when the title will have lasting value for the collection.

Finding o.p. art books is so-o-o much easier now that it used to be and my library’s collection is the better for it.

Susan Craig, University of Kansas. August 2014.


Report: JSTOR E-Book Event at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

On July 31, Watson Library at the Metropolitan Museum of Art hosted a day-long event in which administrators from JSTOR spoke of their new e-book initiatives, librarians described their e-book programs, and publishers described their e-book plans.
Pat Moriarty (JSTOR: Director, Institutional Participation & Strategic Partnerships) described their current e-book collection as being 27 thousand titles from 62 publishers.   Most use is in history followed by literature.
John Lenahan (JSTOR: Associate Vice President, Institutional Participation & Strategic Partnerships) pointed out that one could have integrated searching between JSTOR’s periodical content, and their e-book collections. They are partnering with OCLC to provide MARC records, and they have negotiated with publishers to allow chapter length ILL.
Jeff Carroll and Melissa Goertzen (Columbia University Libraries) described Columbia’s growing e-book collection, now representing over 25% of the libraries’ overall books budget.
Denise Hibay and Rebecca Federman (New York Public Library) noted that they are focusing their e-book purchases on front lists, not retrospective, and on humanities and social sciences rather than sciences. They have now formed an e-workflow committee within the libraries to iron out workflow issues. They added that they are very concerned that they maintain their role, in the research collections, as a print repository within a national context.
John Lenahan (JSTOR) returned to describe their offering of 13 subject collections in the humanities and social sciences. The DDA (Demand Driven Acquisitions) model is offered, whereby a library can limit by price and/or publisher and/or subject area(s), and purchase is triggered by six chapter views OR by four chapter downloads. All use below these triggers is free.
Jennifer Carroll (University of New Hampshire) spoke of their participation in the Boston Library Consortium’s DDA program through YBP and e-brary.
Ross Day (Watson Library, Metropolitan Museum of Art) described the unusual situation of museum libraries. How is FTE configured? They have 500 curatorial staff, so is that 500 FTE?   They tend to purchase electronic or print based upon which format is published first.   So far, he has found no serious objection by his user community to e-books.
Frank Smith (JSTOR: Director, Books at JSTOR) introduced representatives from two academic publishers:
Brad Hebel (Columbia University Press) pointed out that CUP has been publishing electronic titles for a long time, e.g. Granger’s Online. They produce around 160 new titles per year, and e-book represents 20% of their revenue.
Fred Nachbaur (Fordham University Press) explained that FUP imprints are distributed by Oxford University Press, and he emphasized that the costs of producing ebooks are NOT considerably less than print. Their titles are available in Project Muse and will be available in JSTOR.

Q/A to the publishers:
Open Access for e-books? The publishers said that it is difficult to come up with an Open Access model that works for e-books, because publishers still need to cover costs. Business models for e-journals and e-books are different: one pre-pays to subscribe to journals so publishers collect money up front, then they can e-publish the content, but with eBooks, publisher spends money up front to produce content then must recover as much as possible with sales.
E-books for classes? Presses do monitor use of packages and titles where there is unlimited access. They generally try not to, but if a book is suddenly needed for a class and 60 students are accessing it instead of buying the title, that negatively affects revenue, so presses have been known to pull the title from e-book collections.

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QUERY: Josef Albers. Interaction of Color (2013) Yale University Press

Have any of you purchased the Yale University Press I-Pad publication:
Interaction of Color / Josef Albers (2013)
which won the 2013 George Wittenborn Award?

Have you loaded it on a single I-Pad, and how do you make it accessible?  Have you cataloged it? At Columbia University Libraries, we are grappling with how to handle this title, particularly with the long term access and preservation of its unique content in mind.

I would be most pleased if those who have considered acquiring or who have already purchased this title, or others like it (tablet only accessible titles, or titles that are basically apps) would share their thoughts and experiences.

Thanks so much,
Paula Gabbard

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Bookseller’s Announcement: Richard Minsky. American Trade Bindings with Native American Themes 1875-1933

My new exhibition catalog is American Trade Bindings with Native American Themes 1875-1933. Cover artists include Margaret Armstrong, Frank Hazenplug, the Decorative Designers, Thomas Watson Ball, Angel de Cora, Bright Eyes, and many others. With the illustrators and dust jacket designers, a total of 87 identified artists are in the exhibition, and many anonymous.

In addition to Tribal art, the covers include examples of design from late Victorian through Eastlake, Arts & Crafts, Art Nouveau, Poster style, and Art Deco.

There are decorative, symbolic, and pictorial  covers depicting cultures from the Arctic to South America, and times from prehistoric to the early 20th century. It includes captivity narratives, autobiographies, frauds, ethnographic works, myths, travelogues, propaganda, songs, dance, romance novels, and juvenile fiction.

This book will appeal to students of graphic design, art history, material culture, and Native American history and culture. It is available in a limited edition of 100 copies and a deluxe edition of 25.

If you would like to see a few pages from it, you can LOOK INSIDE! (PDF).


The Limited Edition cover features a cloth panel reproducing the unsigned cover design for The Indians’ Book, by Natalie Curtis, Harper and Brothers, ©1923; Revised edition. The design is likely by Angel de Cora (Hinook Mahiwi Kilinaka, Winnebago).

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Patron-Driven Acquisitions: New Challenges / by Christina Peter

Art libraries, while lagging behind other disciplines in embracing e-books, have been quick to adopt the patron-driven acquisitions (PDA or DDA) model as a way to introduce e-books on demand into their collections. Referred to as a ‘just-in-time’ practice by Stephen Arougheti in a recent article1 as opposed to the traditional ‘just-in-case’ model of acquiring books “in excess… for the potential they might someday offer,” the new model “dictates that patron demand is the primary impetus for acquisition and the purchase process remains delayed until the user requires access to the title”. Driven by a desire to keep costs down and to give patrons a more active role in collection development, libraries load records for e-books into their catalogs and mediate a loan or a purchase once a title has been selected by the user.

The Frick Art Reference Library started experimenting with PDA a year ago, choosing the E-Book Library (EBL) as its vendor. After considerable investment of staff time spent in discussions, negotiations, setting up a contract and hammering out the technical details, in 2013 ca. 35,000 EBL records were loaded into the library’s OPAC, with newly released titles added on a monthly basis. A relatively modest amount of acquisitions funds was dedicated to the project, considered an experiment and closely monitored by the librarians. A few months into the experiment we all agreed that time and money were not wasted: the project caught on with the public, albeit on a modest scale; dire predictions of a budget overrun failed to materialize; although the filtering options were not quite to our satisfaction, the users’ selections mostly fit in with the library’s scholarly scope.

Just about the time we decided that the PDA model was working, however, we were suddenly facing a new challenge: a substantial increase in the price of e-books and the costs of short-term loans. The model of delaying purchases by gauging demand first proved to be a cost-saving measure for libraries – while obviously resulting in loss of sale for the publishers. The potential for such a development has been pointed out in Joseph Esposito’s blog entry from May 2012: “An unintended consequence of PDA is that it will drive up book prices. Publishers will raise prices not only to offset the lost sales from PDA but also to offset the delay in sales for books that a library ultimately purchases. Some of these increases will be masked in the migration from print to digital formats, as the two formats have different cost structures. But PDA will inevitably make books more expensive.”2

We launched the program with the premise that the cost of a seven-day loan would average 10% of the e-book’s list price. Early in 2014 I started noticing with some alarm that the percentage of the short-term loan (STL) costs was inching up towards 20%. But the real shock came with the decision of several publishers to increase the price of the short-term loans through all aggregators as of June 1st, joined by another batch of publishers on July 1st. According to the new schedule, the 7-day loan fees increased to 45-50% – and, in some cases, 60% – of the list price, but even 1-day loans can reach 25-40% of the list price. As libraries are already acquiring e-books at a higher price than the general public does, absorbing such a steep increase of STLs into their acquisitions budgets will certainly pose a challenge.

In our library this difficulty was brought into sharp focus recently, as we received notification from our provider that the cost of a requested one-day loan would exceed 25% of the list price (a cap over which we decided to review loan requests on a case-by-case basis). The work in question happened to be a venerable classic, Sir Leonard Woolley’s “Excavations at Ur”. The list price of the e-book through our aggregator is $450; the cost of a one-day loan, $75. The Kindle version of the same edition of this work is selling for $31.69 on Amazon, and can be rented for $15.

In the burgeoning literature on the PDA model3 cost-effectiveness is mentioned as one of the leading reasons for its popularity in libraries. “Ostensibly, the just-in-case model failed due to unsustainable increases to costs and reduced acquisitions budgets,”4 according to Stephen Arougheti. Will unsustainable increases to costs threaten now the alternative just-in-time model? And will libraries backtrack on short-term loans, right as they were gaining such popularity? Although we are probably not at the tipping point yet, the tendency is certainly worrisome. If forced to withdraw from PDA plans due to the scale of increases described above, libraries will be facing a considerable loss of investment of funds and staff time.

(1) Arougheti, Stephen. “Keeping Up With… Patron Driven Acquisition”, American Library Association, June 17, 2014. (Accessed July 12, 2014)

(2) Esposito, Joseph. “A Publisher’s Strategy for Patron-Driven Acquisitions (PDA)”. Blog post. The Scholarly Kitchen., May 12, 2012. (Accessed July 13, 2014)

(3) For a good overview, see: Kaczorowski, Thomas. “(E-book) Patron Driven Acquisitions (PDA): An Annotated Bibliography (2013). Staff Publications. Paper 1. (Accessed July 12, 2014)

(4) Arougheti, op. cit.


Christina Peter, Frick Art Reference Library, July 2014.


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