ARLIS/NA Collection Development SIG Blog

For ARLIS/NA members interested in collection development issues.

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New Artist Book, “A Surreal Archive: the Young-Mallin Collection at the Philadelphia Museum of Art” / Kristen Regina

Hello all!

We are pleased to announce the publication of a limited-edition artist book that the Philadelphia Museum of Art Library and Archives created in partnership with Brooklyn based artist Tammy Nguyen.

Tammy interpreted the Surrealist art collection of Judith Young-Mallin that we recently received, and filled it with a pop-up dollhouse, hidden panels, lace, feather, fake hair and many other surreal elements that whimsically reflect the archive.

For a full description of the book, please see the press release:

For more information about Tammy, she is the founder of Passenger Pigeon press, has her MFA in Painting/Printmaking from Yale, did a Fulbright in Vietnam, and her most recent exhibition was at Crush Curatorial, a review of which was published in Hyperallergic.


Kristen Regina is the Arcadia Director of the Library and Archives at the Philadelphia Museum of Art



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Uncanny Valley: Acquisitions Processes Between Selecting and Cataloging / Chantal Sulkow

On Friday October 19, 2018, the New York Chapter of ARLIS/NA and NYTSL (New York Technical Services Librarians) co-sponsored the event “Uncanny Valley: Acquisitions Processes between Selecting and Cataloging”, hosted by the Watson Library at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

Moderated by William Blueher of the Watson Library, the lightning-round session asked presenters from five local institutions to respond to the prompts: “What part of your acquisitions process works well? What part of your process would you like to work better? What is one takeaway you have after examining these processes as a whole?” The goal of the session was to get librarians talking about the nuts and bolts of acquisitions processes- a topic that is often overlooked in articles and conference sessions.

Lauren DeVoe and Matthew Pavlick spoke about how The Columbia University Libraries, in coordination with the Cornell University libraries, created the Pre-Order Online Form (the POOF) in order to streamline the ordering process. The POOF allows subject specialists to place orders directly to Acquisitions with all the needed information, including the appropriate OCLC record. If an OCLC record is available, the POOF will pull the record in and automatically generate a purchase order and bib record that only needs to be approved by Acquisitions in our Voyager ILS. If there is no record already available, the system will create a provisional order record with the information provided by the selector. This platform allows the ordering process to go extremely quickly and makes things more efficient. The Cornell University Libraries would provide the source code for the POOF to other institutions that may be interested in trying this platform out!

 Chantal Sulkow from the Bard Graduate Center Library touted the benefits of being a smaller institution that can respond nimbly to requests without the need for bureaucratic oversight, presenting a contrast to the other larger institutions at the gathering. Chantal spoke about the BGC Library’s practice of customizing title selection and ordering around the needs of a very specific academic community, using a less structured approach than one would in a wider university setting. Despite this practice, and following a recent migration from Millennium to Sierra, the library has recently begun looking to add more structure to define processes for finance tracking and claiming missing orders, all the while trying to strike a delicate balance between preserving efficiency vs. adding unnecessary layers of work.

John Lindaman from the Watson Library, Metropolitan Museum of Art described ROBOT (Received Order By Ordering Team, clearly a case of the acronym coming first) receiving as a way to eliminate the need for a lot of the physical schlepping of receiving books that will ultimately go offsite by having them sent directly there by shelf-ready vendors. Based on language, subject, or other criteria, books are either selected by the vendor to go offsite directly, or selected by the orderer to be processed on the appropriate shelf-ready account. Records are loaded with an “on order” status when the books are shipped, and records are updated to status “requestable” when the books are accessioned at the offsite facility; this provides the same item-level control as annotating the paper invoice, but without the physical work.

Greg Ferguson from NYU Libraries described their new workflow for managing its e-resources acquisitions using the project management web application Jira.  Jira is designed for software development, but NYU has repurposed it to assign and track the work of its e-resources staff.  Jira allows users to attach documents, store email conversations, and group tasks by product or publisher, making it a de facto knowledge base containing licenses, title lists, processing notes, etc.  This is part of a robust set of workflows NYU is developing for all of its e-resources maintenance in Jira.  Setting up these workflows required a significant investment in time and effort, but has paid off by bringing clarity and order to a part of the library’s work that was previously difficult to handle.

Christina Peter and Mary Seem from the Frick Art Reference Library discussed the life of gifts after they are accepted by the library, including the issues, and time constraints, of de-duplication, and namely the storage and disposal of duplicates. They used two of their recent gifts as case studies: the Suhr gift from a past Frick curator that proved problematic due to the large number of out-of-scope titles and its poor condition and the Abbott-Guggenheim gift that contained many titles we didn’t have but gladly accepted. The issue of retaining the gift titles for the required three years and the search for vendors or buyers for the unwanted titles was also mentioned.

The lightning presentations were followed by a Q+A with the presenters, which became a lively 45 minute conversation involving most of the audience, with a free exchange of ideas and tips about various subjects. This was so successful that there was no need for the small-group discussion pre-planned activity. Due to the variety of institutions represented, attendees seemed to come away with many useful new ideas, and it was great as always to talk and catch up with local colleagues.

Many thanks go to Ken Soehner of the Watson Library for hosting, and thanks to our colleagues in NYTSL for co-sponsoring this very helpful discussion. A number of attendees expressed that they’d love to do this again, and we hope to arrange more events like this soon!

–Chantal Sulkow, Acquisitions Librarian, Bard Graduate Center Library

With contributions from:

  • Lauren DeVoe, Order Unit Librarian Collections, Acquisition and Description, Columbia University Libraries
  • Matthew Pavlick, Head, Monographs Acquisitions Services, Columbia University Libraries
  • John Lindaman, Associate Museum Librarian, Manager of Technical Services, Watson Library, Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Gregory Ferguson, Head, Resource Management, NYU Division of Libraries
  • Christina Peter, Head, Acquisitions, Frick Art Reference Library
  • Mary Seem, Assistant Acquisitions and Cataloging Librarian, Frick Art Reference Library


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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.