ARLIS/NA Collection Development SIG Blog

For ARLIS/NA members interested in collection development issues.

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Estate Library Gift Offer

Available as unrestricted gift, from the estate of art historian and author of catalogues raissoné:

Library of approximately 500 art books, with a focus on 19th and 20th century American and European art.  The approximately 50 linear feet are located in South Florida, and contain many sub-topics, including art collecting, the Ashcan school, prints and printmaking, 20th c. artists in France, and American regionalists.   The library includes reference books, artist monographs, biographies and catalogues, and both newer and more unusual older volumes.    Any librarians interested in receiving this gift should please contact Neil Ludman at


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New publication: Boucher’s Drawings : Who and What Were They For?

Boucher for blog

Published by the Drawing Institute, The Morgan Library & Museum
6 x 9 inches, 64 pages
30 color illustrations
ISBN: 978-0-87598-167-3
April 2016

The Drawing Institute at The Morgan Library & Museum is pleased to announce the publication of:

Boucher’s Drawings : Who and What Were They For? by Alastair Laing

The Annual Thaw Lecture 2015

François Boucher was one of the most prolific and varied draftsmen in eighteenth-century France. He claimed to have produced more than ten thousand drawings during his fifty-year career and worked in nearly every medium, from red and black chalks to ink and wash to oil on paper and pastel. In this essay, Alastair Laing, Thaw Senior Fellow 2014–15—who is currently preparing a catalogue raisonné of the artist’s drawings—explores the close connection between Boucher’s drawings and the patrons who collected them. An analysis of the complex relationship between the owners of Boucher’s drawings (the “for whom”) and the creation of prints reproducing them, including those in the new chalk manner, yields a more nuanced view of the function (the “for what”) of Boucher’s drawings. Laing’s explication of the ways in which patronage, printmaking, and the art market affected Boucher’s production of drawings is essential to any study of the artist.

To order, please call 212-590-0394. ARLIS/NA members receive a 10% discount.

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Minutes to the ARLIS/NA 2016 Conference Collection Development SIG meeting / Christina Peter

Thursday, March 10, 2016, 3:30-5:00 PM
Olympic Room, The Seattle Westin (1900 5th Avenue, Seattle, Washington 98101)

Moderator: Paula Gabbard
Recorder: Christina Peter

Approximately 35 members attending
The meeting proceeded according to the agenda previously circulated by Paula Gabbard.

  1. Discussion on bookplating gift books, introduced by Mary Wassermann (Philadelphia Museum of Art), who also distributed a printed questionnaire to the participants. Mary was wondering how many libraries still use physical bookplates, and how widely used virtual bookplates are. It emerged from the lively discussion that physical bookplates glued into the items are becoming increasingly rare. The McNay Art Museum Library still uses them; at the University of South California they are added in special cases only; the Frick Art Reference Library bookplates larger batches of gifts; Columbia and the Getty moved away from physical bookplates. Virtual bookplating is more common (Columbia, Met), though the Getty does not credit single items. Credit lines are often inserted in one of the 9xx fields of the bibliographic records (Met, CU, Frick). At Oberlin College paper bookplates are used to acknowledge student workers of the library: when they graduate, they may choose a library book that will then be bookplated for them. The results of Mary Wassermann’s survey may shed more lights on this question. – The discussion briefly touched on the larger question of gifts: many academic libraries do not take gifts at all.
  1. Barbara Prior from Oberlin College introduced a discussion about identifying rare or scarce/hard to replace items in the open book stacks. Oberlin has a vulnerable book project, in the frames of which the librarian tries to establish the scarcity and the replacement value of books deemed vulnerable, searching aggregator platforms (e.g. Bookfinder, Addall; somebody recommended Vialibri) for retail value. Based on the replacement value, books are assigned to average, medium rare ($1,000-$3,000) or rare (over $5,000) categories; books deemed rare are withdrawn from the open stacks. According to Barbara the survey of the entire Oberlin Library collection in open stacks is not a sustainable project without special project funding. Amy Ciccone recommended working with book dealers to identify vulnerable titles, pointing out that our regular book dealers can be the library’s best friends. Others thought that identifying vulnerable books might be a good practicum project, though the amount of training required would be considerable. The discussion touched on the subject of weeding. Ross Day drew attention to Terrie Wilson’s poster entitled “Deselection vs. Weeding: A Systematic Approach to Collection Management”. Somebody mentioned Sustainable Collection Services, a company that has been recently acquired by OCLC ( they will analyze a library collection for a fee for the purposes of weeding.
  1. Paula Gabbard was interested in how art libraries acquire e-books that are published by museums. Paula had conducted a survey and discovered that these books are not available for sale from the usual e-book vendors (EBSCOhost, Ebrary of EBL), though a few might be available via JSTOR or Project Muse. She also wanted to know whether libraries catalog tablet-based e-books. The Cleveland Museum Library has a small collection of such e-books; they keep two IPads at the circulation desk with Kindle accounts on them; they also use the IPads to present PDFs for which they don’t have printing rights. Most libraries don’t catalog these kinds of publications. The Getty Library is an exception: they create records for all their digitized content, and also upload them to the Internet Archive and Hathi Trust.
  1. Paula drew attention to a session that Amy Trendler from Ball State University (who regretted not being able to attend the meeting) was considering to propose for next year’s conference. The session would highlight the different ways librarians involve students, faculty, curators, and other library users in collection development. The session could also encompass the ways librarians work with users to find out what they are interested in and then support that through collection development. The four attending members who were interested in contribuitng to such a session passed on their contact information to Paula who forwarded them on to Amy.
  1. Other issues that were discussed briefly: Mary Wassermann wanted to know whether museum librarians update TMS when rights & reproduction copies featuring objects from the museum collection come to the library (the McNay Library does; at the Cleveland Museum Library the object’s accession number is written on the book’s title page, while the information is also entered in the museum software). – Ross Day mentioned the issues that Watson Library was having with their JSTOR DDA program via YBP: the records don’t always come in a timely manner, and very often a certain title has already been purchased through Ebrary by the time the record for the DDA program shows up, resulting in duplication.