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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