Institutional Sources Study Project


Project potential

From its list of 630+ museums in the Art Museum, Gallery and Art Center index, Traditional Fine Arts Organization (TFAO) searched via Google Books in 2008 and 2009 for catalogues published by the following sample of museums to provide an indication of the potential for this project. Each museum name is followed by a count of selected catalogues with a topic of American representational art and a count of related essays published in Resource Library. Many of the sample museums have published catalogues of interest that are not listed via Google Books based on Resource Library cross-checking of museum sub-index pages. In some instances, Resource Library has published essays from books not listed via Google Books.


2009 Analysis:

Selected catalogues of interest with a topic of American representational art from the above list = 903

Texts published in Resource Library from the above list: 52, or texts from 6% of the identified catalogues.

Clicking on each museum's name enabled viewers to see the list of catalogues for the museum. Essays within listed catalogues may be copyrighted by the publisher or by others. Catalogue names followed by links to related essays published by Resource Library are a marker to prevent reduplication of effort.

The above Google Books-identified catalogues from the 68 museums listed above equals 13 average catalogues per museum. The average of 13 related catalogues per museum times TFAO's list of 630 museums suggests as many as 8,190 potential catalogues containing essays of interest, with some catalogues having multiple essays. Since Google Books has not listed some catalogues from the sample museums, the above computation of potential catalogues is probably less than the actual number of their potential catalogues.

The above list of museums includes those identified by TFAO to have a strong focus on American art. Many other museums are less likely to have the same level of publishing of related catalogues. Many museums within the TFAO list of 630 museums are smaller civic museums. Often these museums do not publish catalogues or rarely publish them. Museums with books in print are usually unwilling for essays in them to be published online for free viewing. Taking these limiting factors into consideration, perhaps there are less than 1,000 to 2,000 catalogues for which TFAO could gain permissions for online publishing.

Texts already published online by museums need not be re-published online by TFAO. See Online Museum Catalogues, Brochures and Gallery Guides for a listing of museums offering free online viewing of either whole catalogues or exhibition-related texts from them.

An addition to catalogues from museums, there are many catalogues with scholarly essays published by commercial galleries. Many of these essays have been re-published online in Resource Library, yet many more are potential candidates.

To the extent that museums in the future offer online free reading of their catalogues in whole or part, the need for TFAO to publish texts from them diminishes. Institutions besides TFAO will likely develop technology, models and funding to expedite placement of whole catalogues or portions of them online for free viewing.

See the Author Study and Index for a count of texts by named authors that have been published in Resource Library. Most of these texts relate to exhibitions held at American art museums. Some essays are from commercial galleries and other sources. The above small informal sample of museums is not large enough to derive an accurate estimate of total project potential, yet it does indicate substantial opportunity.

For information on an alternate solution please click here for TFAO's grant program for conversion of analog text to digital files and online publication of scholarly texts.


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Links to sources of information outside of our web site are provided only as referrals for your further consideration. Please use due diligence in judging the quality of information contained in these and all other web sites. Information from linked sources may be inaccurate or out of date. TFAO neither recommends or endorses these referenced organizations. Although TFAO includes links to other web sites, it takes no responsibility for the content or information contained on those other sites, nor exerts any editorial or other control over them. For more information on evaluating web pages see TFAO's General Resources section in Online Resources for Collectors and Students of Art History.

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