The Art Institute of Chicago announced that the museum has been awarded $400,000 by the Getty Foundation for the implementation of an online catalogue of paintings and drawings by the artists Claude Monet and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. The grant supports further work on the prototype developed by the Art Institute of Chicago for the Online Scholarly Catalogue Initiative (OSCI), a program begun by the Getty Foundation to bring scholarly research and publication into the digital age. The Art Institute prototype offers a truly interactive digital “reading” experience, presentation of material not possible in a printed catalogue, and a flexible interface designed with scholars in mind.
The technology developed by the Art Institute and IMA Lab is the first to enable the inclusion and modes of presentation of materials not possible in a printed book and bring a true, interactive “reading” experience into digital format. For example, the online presentation offers high-resolution “zoomable” images that can be overlaid with technical x-ray and infrared images as well as annotated images that highlight significant discoveries about the under-painting.
Readers will also be able to explore primary documents in an interactive environment. A “hot spot” on the screen allows readers to flip back and forth between pages, as if holding a place in a book with a finger. The prototype also allows for highlighting text, inserting “sticky notes” to bookmark pages, and annotating the online catalogue as if writing in the margins of a book. These annotations can be tagged with key phrases and collected at any point to compile a list of similar points of interest. Paragraphs rather than pages are numbered for ease of citation, and a citation interface tool has been developed to reference the online catalogue within various established style formats.
Conference Paper: “The Transition to Online Scholarly Catalogues”
by Nik Honeysett, J. Paul Getty Museum, USA
Presented and Museums and the Web 2011 (April 2011)
The scholarly catalogue has long been a critical part of a museum’s mission, providing authoritative information about collection objects for scholars, students, and the general public. Often based on years of painstaking research and richly illustrated, print catalogues form one of the building blocks of art history. The catalogue’s print form, however, is arguably the very component that prevents it from realizing even greater potential. High cost and relatively small print runs limit its accessibility, and printed books cannot easily change to reflect new acquisitions or new scholarly knowledge. While the online environment holds much promise for making collection catalogues more current, interactive, and widely available, museums still face significant financial and organizational challenges in making the transition online. This paper describes the challenges and successes of nine institutions as they step through a project to deliver a scholarly catalogue to their online environment.