Thomas J. Watson Library, the Museum's central library, is the heart of research and scholarly activity at the Museum. Its collection, together with the distinctive collections of the Museum's departmental libraries, comprises one of the preeminent libraries for research in the history of art.
Posted: Wednesday, August 20, 2014
In early June Watson Library unveiled a new digital sign-in "book" to help us get a better picture of who is using the library. Attendance statistics provide a concrete, rather than an anecdotal, portrait of who is using the library, where they're coming from, and what their research needs are. This information can then be used to tailor our outreach efforts, direct our collection development, and improve or adapt our reader services. Though we have always had data on new users when they register for a reader's card, it is only now that we can track information about who is actually in the library at any given time.
Posted: Wednesday, August 13, 2014
As the main research library for The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Thomas J. Watson Library focuses its collecting and services on providing materials for scholars. Among our hundreds of thousands of reference works, though, many are beautiful and significant, and sometimes they are requested by curators inside and outside the Museum for inclusion in exhibitions. Most recently, Watson's copy of the 1892 edition of Thomas Malory's fifteenth-century classic Morte d'Arthur, published by J.M. Dent with decorations by the young Aubrey Beardsley, went on display in the Met's current exhibition The Pre-Raphaelite Legacy: British Art and Design, on view through October 26. The exhibition explores the influence of the Pre-Raphaelite movement on a range of fine and practical arts—from painting, drawing, and printmaking, to textiles, ceramics, furniture, stained glass, and book design.
Posted: Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Just over two years ago, I began collaborating with Wikipedia in an attempt not only to enhance the largest encyclopedia in world history (and growing!), but also to drive traffic to the Museum Libraries' Digital Collections. Wikipedia is currently the sixth most popular website in the world, so I thought engaging with Wikipedia might be an effective way for us to reach a broader audience. After two years I can unequivocally assert that it has been a great way to engage with new users, and Wikipedia now drives over fifty percent of the traffic to our Digital Collections.
Posted: Wednesday, July 23, 2014
This magnificent first edition, two-volume book, Theatrum Statuum Regiae Celsitudinis Sabaudiae Ducis, Pedemontii Principis, Cypri Regis, from the Department of Drawings and Prints, was published in Amsterdam by the Dutch publisher and cartographer Joan Blaeu in 1682. The book contains engraved plates showing aerial views of the land that belonged to the Duchy of Savoy, along with descriptions in Latin. The Theatrum Sabaudiae, as a survey of both natural and urban views, also captures, often in the finest details, glimpses of its population and their activities. One of the plates reveals the name of the artist, Dutch printmaker, and cartographer Johannes de Ram.
Posted: Wednesday, July 16, 2014
Posted: Wednesday, July 9, 2014
This summer, Watson celebrates the enjoyment of travel with a display of trade catalogs featuring Art Deco modes of transportation: trains, ships, automobiles, perambulators—you name it!
Posted: Wednesday, July 2, 2014
The Thomas J. Watson Library is the research library of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Very much like the Met itself, the library is one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of its kind. How many books do we have? We estimate that between Watson Library's collection and those of smaller libraries throughout the Museum (such as the Robert Goldwater Library, Robert Lehman Collection Library, Irene Lewisohn Costume Reference Library, and the other departmental libraries), the Museum's libraries hold more than one million volumes. We also offer a broad range of online resources and a rapidly expanding digital collection.
Posted: Friday, June 7, 2013
One of the first projects we undertook upon establishing the Thomas J. Watson Library's digitization initiative a few years ago was a collaboration with the Department of Photographs and its Joyce F. Menschel Photography Library.
Posted: Monday, July 30, 2012
When the Museum Library took its first steps toward digitizing rare materials from its collection over two years ago, one of the first groups of items we selected for scanning was a set of pamphlets that accompanied a landmark series of American industrial arts exhibitions from 1917 to 1940.
Posted: Thursday, January 5, 2012
The Museum Library, authorized by the Museum's 1870 charter and formally established in 1880, is one of the world's great collections of art historical research materials. However, thousands of printed books in the Library and other departments of the Museum are deteriorating rapidly through heavy use, acidic paper, or both. In some cases, important information has already been lost.