ARLIS/NA Collection Development SIG Blog

For ARLIS/NA members interested in collection development issues.

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Architecture Collection Development: Musings on the Modern / Barbara Opar

Our library collections budget is structured in such a way that we are asked to “spend down” our allocations about now, retaining some funds for routine orders, approvals and faculty requests. Most University press and core publisher titles are automatically received through our vendor interface. So I am looking to enhance the collection by seeking other, more unique titles. This requires a concentrated effort, including reviewing strength and currency of holdings, usage patterns, determining areas/topics needing expansion and then locating the appropriate resources. I do this for both architecture as well as French language and literature.

That said, I have, through the years, not surprisingly, noticed certain differences. While I feel the need to seek new authors to add to our French literature collection, I do so knowing that I am building for the future and not the here and now. The foreign language literature collection should ideally include current authors but our curriculum and teaching across the department does not include contemporary writers and for the most part ends mid-century. Contemporary issues are sometimes addressed in the culture classes. So I have the small luxury of buying “just in case”.

How different this is from architecture- and possibly art! In architecture, the new is constantly being sought and students continually peruse those periodicals and serials which provide in-depth coverage of new designers. Modern and contemporary architecture are the parts of our collection most highly consulted, especially for design inspiration. I am definitely buying “just in time.” As a school still vested in teaching through design precedents, classic examples like the work of Andrea Palladio do come into play. Works by Frank Lloyd Wright and Le Corbusier still appear on lists for students to research. But with senior faculty retiring and younger faculty coming in with different educational backgrounds and mindsets, contemporary examples as well as more multinational ones often overshadow the more traditional projects that previously appeared on studio research lists. Faculty pull examples from ArchDaily or firm sites. So I am constantly looking to expand our holdings on newer, more esoteric architects. I just purchased a book on Aureli’s firm, Dogma. Oro Editions, Actar, Axel Menges and Parks Books are among my go-to publishers for current firms and topics. The 2018 Pritzger Prize was just awarded to Balkrishna Doshi and I quickly reviewed our holdings, knowing that students will be seeking information about him and that faculty will be mentioning him more in reviews.

So while I will certainly be checking our library holdings for the next winner of the Prix Goncourt, I will do so more to complete our collection rather than to anticipate increased interest. The nature of architecture is such that the modern and contemporary and cutting edge (should there be anything available) are increasingly important. Students may not use the resources in the same in-depth way they would in terms of a work of literature. But architecture students and faculty are curious, explore and will make use of any and all modern and contemporary book resources that come their way.

Barbara Opar is Librarian for Architecture and French Language and Literature. Syracuse University Libraries



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ARLIS/NA 46TH Annual Conference Collection Development SIG Meeting Minutes / Christina Peter


Monday, February 26, 2018, 5:00 – 6:00 PM Nassau Room, Hilton Hotel

Moderator: Mary Wassermann

Recorder: Christina Peter

Approximately 35 members attending 

The minutes below follow the agenda outlined by Mary Wassermann

  1. ARLIS/NA Collection Development SIG blog. Mary Wassermann, who had been managing the blog, encouraged contributions and circulated a sign-up sheet for potential contributors. She pointed out that there was no requirement for the entries to be lengthy essays; she would also welcome short notices about new acquisitions, etc.
  2. Collection development policies. Mary Wassermann introduced the topic by posing a question about the usefulness of traditional policies in supporting best practices within an institution. A lively conversation ensued with many participants joining in. Some of the issues that were highlighted: frequency of updates (at the Cleveland Museum of Art Library policies are updated annually, following the Museum’s policies; at the Frick Art Reference Library the policy is updated every time a new decision is made); public vs. non-public (most librarians said their collection development policies were public, though there might be additional implementation/procedures documents attached for internal use only); who uses the policies and for what purposes (at Cleveland, librarians refer to it for weeding); general vs. specific policies (at some academic libraries, e.g. Wellesley College, the policy is not specific to the art library anymore; other librarians also stated that their policies were general and overarching); the policies’ impact on library management and offsite decisions. Mary Wassermann wrapped up the discussion by observing that several librarians keep revising their libraries’ policies yet they are inevitably tied to what is often a library’s shifting mission. A  discussion ensued on offsite storage, space issues, criteria for considering items for special collections, and housing for and access to special collection/rare items. Paula Gabbard brought up the issue of shared offsite storage for consortial collections, offering some updates about RECAP, the shared offsite storage facility of CU, NYPL and Princeton. RECAP now shares most items held in the RECAP facility, and they appear in each institution’s OPACs, allowing recall of individual titles by any of the three libraries from the shared physical collections. The Getty has offsite storage in five different cities; UCLA, two storage facilities. Smith College had a consortially shared EBL on-demand online collection; the program however was canceled because of the steep cost increase.
  3.  Trends and issues in collection development  Using a rejected panel proposal as a starting point, Christina Peter started a discussion about the relevance of collection development in librarianship today. Several librarians commented, bringing up some pertinent points: a shift in education – collection development is rarely taught at library schools anymore; a shift at libraries – librarians are expected to be strategists and space planners as opposed to their traditional role as curators of collections; with resource sharing, the preponderance of electronic resources and shared holdings the boundaries of library collections are becoming increasingly more fluid. It was mentioned that library school interns do not want to get immersed in collection building, and that two important collection development-related jobs at major academic libraries had recently been reposted for lack of qualified applicants. On the other hand, it was also observed that student assistants often get thoroughly engaged with collections through their practical work and may decide to go to library school as a result. It was also mentioned that honoring librarians who had been instrumental in building significant library collections might help bring the focus back to the importance of collections (the Phoenix Museum library’s upcoming symposium honoring Clayton Kirking was brought up as an example). 
  4. Action item for the SIG: rework the proposal for next year following the ideas floated at the meeting. Several librarians offered help to work on it.

Other issues discussed briefly:

  • Whether most collection development librarians are responsible for both print and electronic resources (most attendants responded in the affirmative)
  • To what extent librarians consider users’ selections
  • Budget constraints
  • On-demand purchases

Christina Peter is Head of Acquisitions at the Frick Art Reference Library.

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Developing a Zine Collection at the Dallas Public Library / Mariza Morin

The Fine Arts Division at the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library (Dallas Public Library main branch) aims to promote cultural equity above all else, and therefore serves as a bridge between our patrons and the arts world. We provide the Dallas community with many free services, including music lessons and a dance studio, in addition to unique collections, such as our developing Zine collection. Zines are independently published works that could include text, photos, and illustrations, often reproduced using a photocopier. Topics can be broad in scope, from politics and feminism to poetry and personal journal entries. Once reserved for the underground, zines can now be found in many different libraries across the country. DPL’s Zine collection generally consists of Texas-based publications, but we also have several works from other states as well as a few international zines from Canada, Mexico, and Switzerland.

Zines 1

Before I joined the Fine Arts staff last year as Art Librarian, two former library employees developed a program at the library to support the Dallas Zine Festival in 2015, which included panel discussions and a zine exhibit. As a result, many of the participating artists at this event donated their zines to the library and thus began the start of our burgeoning zine collection. Additionally, Fine Arts Manager, Tiffany Bailey, donated several zines to the library after visiting the Denton Zine Festival in 2016. What I find impressive about our current collection is the diverse social and political perspectives (feminism, social injustice, LGBTQ, etc.) covered as well as the creative and experimental nature of each individual zine, whether the focus is on pop culture, visual arts, or music. For example, Women who rock!, created by local organization Girls Rock Dallas, focuses on women in music from early blues musicians, like Bessie Smith, to Riot Grrrl influences, like Kathleen Hannah, to current North Texas all-female bands. Zines like this prove not only to be a terrific form of self-expression and visual communication but they also give a voice to communities not always heard in mainstream publications. Though the bulk of our collection comes from North Texas, we also strive to acquire works from other states and countries to gain a better global perspective on important topics as well as connect our patrons to different DIY communities and experiences outside of Texas.

Zines 2

Zines 3

Zines 4

Zines 5

The Fine Arts Division is very much in the beginning stages of developing this exciting new collection. Currently, we are cataloging all materials we own and trying to figure out how to sustainably obtain new zines, in addition to building relationships with local zine artists and events. Other factors to take into consideration include developing a collection development policy, shelving options, and future programming ideas, including partnering with the Dallas Zine Festival again. Though there has been discussion about keeping our Zine collection non-circulating, the Zine committee ultimately believes that would defeat the purpose of a zine, which is meant to be freely distributed among the public, just like most items in our library. As the Zine collection evolves, the Fine Arts Division at the Dallas Public Library is thrilled for all possible future opportunities to promote and educate all people- kids, teens, and adults, at all artistic levels, with this unique collection.

Mariza Morin is the Art Librarian of the Fine Arts Division at the Dallas Public Library





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The Not So Lazy Days of Summer / Kathy Edwards, Barbara Opar, and Rose Orcutt

How did you spend your summer? Well, in late June, three architecture librarians- Kathy Edwards of Clemson University, Rose Orcutt of the University of Buffalo and Barbara Opar from Syracuse University, got together in Syracuse for two days to finalize a new core list of architecture periodicals- the fifth version since its inception.

The core list of architecture periodicals was first compiled in 1995 and intended to address the needs of first degree programs in Architecture. The need for such a list was initially suggested in the early 1990s by Pat Wiesenberger (Kansas State University) at an annual meeting of the Association of Architecture School Librarians (AASL). She proposed preparing a list of titles “without which we cannot operate,” and AASL has held fast to that principle as, over succeeding years, members of the group wrangled over additions and deletions. Revised lists were issued in 1995, 1998, 2002 and 2009. Volunteers from the larger AASL membership each time took on the task of preparing the list and gathering input from the broader membership. Knowledge of the ever changing field and survey data have been key. Coverage and cost were weighed. Peer review and the availability of indexing were important components. The Avery list of architectural periodicals currently being indexed was scrutinized. With this edition, format (print, electronic), the type of graphic documentation (e.g. plans, sections, etc.), image quality, length of articles, notable contributors and impact data (when available) were all factors in determining whether a title should be added or remain on the list.

Until now, the lists have consisted of two categories: core and supplementary. This working group changed that. AASL lists are considered “starting points”, though the National Architecture Accrediting Board (NAAB) has recognized their value in evaluating library collections. Work on a revised list began several years ago and surveys were distributed to both ARLIS and AASL. Faculty input was sought via ACSA News. The survey data, while informative, became a stumbling block. One respondent felt that Casabella was not core. Several other respondents offered up titles like Axis, Cabinet, Candide, and Pidgin to the core category. Finally the working group returned to the original notion of necessary titles.

Group members also realized that some librarians were having issues with the categories. What is supplementary? So the new categories are now Core, Recommended and Topical. Topical is used to imply highly specialized or regional. A category of Titles to Watch reminds potential users of new titles on the market or those that are likely to evolve.

The list below is being presented as a guideline and working tool for those with architecture collections. In a new or small school with limited funds, core may be all that can be collected. Larger libraries with robust budgets may even go beyond topical. Certainly, there are additional titles being published of benefit to faculty and students. The working group also recommends that librarians consider regionally focused titles. Hopefully fellow architecture librarians and those arts libraries with architecture holdings will find value in this list. Additional information like ISSN numbers, indexing, format, and impact will be included in a version to be distributed in the very near future.


A+U Architecture & Urbanism AA Files
Abitare I’Arca International
Architect (AIA) Architecture d’Aujourd’hui
Architectural Design Architectural Record
Architectural Review Architectural Science Review
Arquine Arquitectura Viva
AV Monografias Blueprint (London)
Canadian Architect Casabella
C3 Korea /C3 Magazine El Croquis
Environment and Planning. B, Planning and Design EVolo
Detail (English) Detail (German/French/English)
Detail Green Domus
GA Architect (series) GA Document (series)
GA Houses (series) Harvard Design Magazine
International Journal of Architectural Computing (IJAC) Japan Architect
Journal of Architectural and Planning Research Journal of Architectural Education
Journal of Architecture Journal of Green Building
Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians Landscape Architecture Magazine
Log Lotus International
Mark: Another Architecture New Geographies
Perspecta The PLAN: Architecture and Technologies in Detail
The PLAN: Research in Architecture and Urbanism
Quaderns d’Arquitectura i Urbanisme TAD: Technology | Architecture + Design


2G: International Architecture Review (series) A+T
ACSA News AMC: Moniteur Architecture
Architects’ Journal Architect’s Newspaper
Architectural Histories (EAHN) Architectural History: the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians of G.B.
Architectural Theory Review
Architecture Today
Archithese ArchNet-IJAR
ARQ: Architectural Research Quarterly AV Proyectos
Clog Competitions Annual
Cornell Journal of Architecture Crit: Journal of the American Institute of Architecture Students
Dwell Energy and Buildings
Footprint (Technische Universiteit Delft)
Future Anterior: a Journal of Historic Preservation History, Theory, and Criticism Future Arquitecturas
Grey Room International Journal of Islamic Architecture
JAPA: Journal of the American Planning Association Journal of Urban Design
Landscape Journal Metropolis
Muqarnas Nexus Network Journal
OASE Planning
Planning Perspectives RIBA Journal
San Rocco Space (Korea) Gong’gan
Studies in the History of Gardens and Designed Landscapes Thresholds
Topos Traditional Dwellings and Settlements Review
Werk Bauen + Wohnen  


APT Bulletin Arcade (Seattle)
Architect (Netherlands) Architect & Builder
Architectura: Zeitschrift fur Geschichte der Baukunst Architecture plus Design (India
Area (Milan) Arkitektur N
Arkitektur: The Swedish Review of Architecture Arkkitehti
ARQ: Architecture/ Quebec ARQ(Chile)
Arris Azure: Design Architecture & Art
Bauwelt The Classicist
Cite: The Architecture and Design Review of Houston Clem Labine’s Traditional Building
DesignIntelligence Deutsche Bauzeitung
DoCoMoMo Journal
Fine Homebuilding Form: Pioneering Design
Frame Frank Lloyd Wright Quarterly
Garden History Home Cultures
Interior Design Journal of Architectural Engineering
Journal of Landscape Architecture JSSAC: Society for the Study of Architecture in Canada
LA+: Interdisciplinary Journal
Marg (Judhpur) Metu Journal of the Faculty of Architecture
Nordisk Arkitekturforsknin (Nordic Journal of Architectural Research) Oculus (NY)
Old-House Journal Oris
Oz Journal Pidgin
Places Preservation
Proekt Russia
‘Scape Scapegoat: Architecture, Landscape, Political Economy
Shi dia jian zhu (Time+ Architecture) Shi jia jian zhu (World Architecture)
SOM Journal Summa + la summa del diseno
Tecton Techne (Florence): journal of technology for architecture and environment
Trace (Chile) Texas Architect
Vernacular Architecture Le Visiteur: revue critique
XIA Intelligente Architekture West 86th: a journal of decorative arts, design history, and material culture

Titles to Watch

Architecture and Culture Architecture Philosophy: International Philosophy
High Performing Buildings Manifest
Project Shawati Magazine

Kathy Edwards is Research and Collection Development Librarian at Gunnin Architecture Library, Clemson University, Barbara Opar is Librarian for Architecture at Syracuse University Libraries, and Rose Orcutt is Architecture and Planning Librarian at University of Buffalo.

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Drawn to Greatness: Master Drawings from the Thaw Collection / V. Heidi Hass

Drawn to greatness

Drawn to Greatness: Master Drawings from the Thaw Collection

The promise that Eugene and Clare Thaw made in 1975 to donate their entire collection of master drawings to the Morgan Library & Museum will be fulfilled with the opening of Drawn to Greatness: Master Drawings from the Thaw Collection (28 September 2017–7 January 2018). One of the finest private collections of drawings in the world, the Thaw Collection now numbers over four hundred sheets, which together encompass virtually the whole of Western art. Some 175 drawings from the Renaissance to the modern era—from critical movements in the history of the medium—will be mounted in this two-gallery exhibition to celebrate the most transformative gift in the history of the Morgan’s Department of Drawings and Prints.

Attesting to the strength of the collection, the show will demonstrate drawing’s fundamental role in the creative process across six centuries. Visitors will experience these drawings as a series of encounters—with groups of works by artists whose explorations on paper constitute significant contributions to the history of drawing. Mantegna, Cranach, and Bruegel; Rubens, van Dyck, and Rembrandt; the Tiepolos, Canaletto, and Piranesi; Watteau, Fragonard, and Prud’hon; Goya, Ingres, and Delacroix; Friedrich, Turner, and Palmer; Daumier, Millet, and Redon; Pissarro, Degas, and Renoir; Cézanne, Gauguin, and van Gogh; and Matisse, Picasso, and Pollock are among some eighty artists featured.

The accompanying publication features a series of essays by leading scholars devoted to pivotal moments in the history of drawing. Authors include Jane Shoaf Turner, Head of Rijksprentenkabinet, Amsterdam; Andrew Robison, former Head of Drawings, Prints, and Photographs at the National Gallery of Art; Matthew Hargraves, Chief Curator of Art Collections, Yale Center for British Art; Richard R. Brettell, Chair of Art and Aesthetic Studies, University of Texas at Dallas; Jay A. Clarke, Manton Curator of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs, Clark Art Institute; and Colin B. Bailey, Director, John Marciari, Curator and Department Head of Drawings and Prints, and Jennifer Tonkovich, Eugene and Clare Thaw Curator, of the Morgan Library & Museum. A further essay recounts Thaw’s career as a collector of master drawings and a catalogue raisonné documents the Thaw collection in full. Presenting original research, the catalogue will constitute a volume of lasting importance to art history studies.

Hardcover, 9 1/2 x 11 1/2″, 296 pp., 625 illustrations, $40

10% discount for ARLIS/NA members; please call 212-590-0390 to order.

V. Heidi Hass is Director of Research Services at the Morgan  Library & Museum.

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Acquiring Antiquarian Australian Exhibition Catalogues at the Frick Art Reference Library / Mary Seem

In addition to assessing titles on approval and searching for new publications, we at the Frick Art Reference Library also search for titles to backfill our holdings. One area that is particularly rich is the small antiquarian exhibition catalogues from Australia from the 1920s and 30s. Very few of these catalogues and checklists make it out of Australia, yet they provide a glimpse into a very active facet of Australian art history.

Most of the Australian antiquarian items we purchase are small exhibition catalogues – they are generally no more than 20 or so pages and sometimes include small images of the artwork. The largest area of focus appears to be artists exhibiting in Sydney and Melbourne between 1920 and 1935 often exhibiting as part of an artist’s society. One such society – The Society of Artists – was especially prolific. Our holdings now include many of the Society of Artists catalogues of small exhibitions, and larger annual exhibitions, featuring artists such as Russell Drysdale, Thea Proctor, and Julian Ashton. Many of the artists featured in these catalogues, especially members of the prominent Lindsay family as well as artists like Hans Heysen, traveled widely and exhibited in other countries. Thea Proctor, a woodcut artist, was heavily influenced by Japanese woodcuts. These catalogues elucidate the influences on Australian art, provide provenance information, and inform pricing and exhibition practices in Australia at the time.

Part of what makes our collection of Australian exhibition catalogues so intriguing is not just its uniqueness – although we are often the only holdings in the United States or even outside of Australia itself. The catalogues are exceptional because of the variety of artists they feature: male and female artists get equal footing and a variety of styles and genres are exhibited. The catalogues provide a glimpse into the art scene in Australia in the 1920s and 30s– a hive of activity that I didn’t know existed until I began to backfill on our holdings on Australian art.


Frick 1 web

  1. Front cover of Hans Heysen’s Recent Watercolours Including Paintings of the Flinders Range. Sydney: Grosvenor Galleries, 1928


Frick 2 web

2.  Page of Hans Heysen’s Recent Watercolours Including Paintings of the Flinders Range. Sydney: Grosvenor Galleries, 1928


Frick 3 web

3. Front cover of Exhibition of Lithographs by Miss Thea Proctor and a Group of London Lithographers. Melbourne: Fine Art Society, 1922


Frick 4 web

4. Inside view of Exhibition of Lithographs by Miss Thea Proctor and a Group of London Lithographers. Melbourne: Fine Art Society, 1922

Mary Seem is Cataloging and Acquisitions Associate at The Frick Collection







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Collection Development in two complimentary formats for Special Collections: print holdings and electronic resources / Susan Flanagan

Building special collections is always predicated on availability of resources, timing and funding. As materials come to market, a single library is able acquire a unique item or a few libraries may add a rare publication to their collections. These special resources allow a library to grow and develop into a valuable research collection.

With the advent of special collection electronic resources, more libraries are now able to offer rare collections to a wider audience. These resources may supplement an existing collection or open doors to a new topic or idea.

I’d like to share an example of an electronic collection recently acquired by the Getty Research Institute to complement our extensive print holdings in special collections on world’s fairs and expositions. By searching “world’s fairs” in our catalog Primo, users can now discover our print holdings, which include items from some of the following fairs:

Additionally the Primo results display the recently acquired database compiled by Adam Matthew Digital: World’s Fairs: a global history of expositions. Access to the database is available to on-site Readers, Getty Staff, and Visiting Scholars.

This database provides digital access to primary source material collated from thirteen archives in North America, the U.K., and France. Material includes pamphlets, guide books, official catalogues, periodicals, minutes, and correspondence. There is also a selection of visual material including maps, photographs, postcards, and illustrations.

Opening of the Great Exhibition, London, May 1, 1851. 1851.
© The Victoria and Albert Museum

While over 200 hundred fairs are represented, most material relates to the following fairs:

  • 1851 Great Exhibition, London
    • 1876 Philadelphia Centennial International Exhibition
    • 1889 Paris Exposition Universelle
    • 1893 Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition
    • 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition, St. Louis
    • 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition, San Francisco
    • 1933/34 Chicago Century of Progress International Exposition
    • 1939/40 New York World’s Fair
    • 1967 Expo ’67 Montreal

By adding this database, we are now able to expand our coverage of world’s fairs and expositions.

Do you have similar examples to share with the group?

-Susan Flanagan, Collection Development Librarian for Electronic Resources (