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Thomas J. Watson Library

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.

In Circulation

Color, Design, Shape: Architecture from the 1920s and 1930s

Holly Phillips, Associate Manager for Acquisitions, Thomas J. Watson Library; and Diane De Fazio, Volunteer, Thomas J. Watson Library

Posted: Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Watson Library currently has on display an international selection of architecture books on subjects including Bauhaus philosophy and Art Deco decor.

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In Season

The Death of Joseph Breck and the Formation of The Cloisters Library

Michael Carter, Librarian, The Cloisters Museum and Gardens

Posted: Thursday, September 11, 2014

When, in 1925, the Metropolitan Museum purchased the building and collection amassed by George Grey Barnard that he had named "The Cloisters," its stewardship was given to Joseph Breck, then chief curator of the Decorative Arts Department. As the first director of The Cloisters museum and gardens, he oversaw a new installation of the collection, the electrification of the galleries, and the laying of garden spaces. But his greatest charge was coordinating the design of an entirely new building, funded by John D. Rockefeller, Jr., in what is now Fort Tryon Park.

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In Circulation

A Guide for the 1820s Traveler

Deborah Vincelli, Electronic Resources and Instructional Services Librarian, Thomas J. Watson Library

Posted: Wednesday, September 10, 2014

This delightful travel book, entitled L'Ami des Voyageurs, was donated by Jayne Wrightsman in 2009 and is part of the Wrightsman Fine Bindings collection. Published in Paris around 1820, the book's binding is embroidered in green silk, embellished with gold thread and silver, pink, and gold spangles. The front cover (above) and back cover (below) each feature a painted portrait of a woman under mica.

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In Circulation

100円ショップ スキャニング (Hyaku-en Shoppu Sukyaningu): Digitizing Priceless Books with Dollar-Store Materials

Dan Lipcan, Assistant Museum Librarian, Thomas J. Watson Library

Posted: Wednesday, September 3, 2014

One exciting project currently happening in the Watson Library this summer is the visit of Professor Ryo Akama and two assistants from the Ritsumeikan University's Art Research Center and College of Letters in Kyoto, Japan. They arrived on August 18 and will remain on-site until September 5, during which time they will photograph the Department of Asian Art's recently acquired Vershbow collection of Japanese illustrated books, which was featured in a recent episode of MetCollects along with some wonderful photographs.

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In Circulation

Playing with Paper: Suminagashi and Orizome

Jae Carey, Senior Book Conservation Coordinator, Thomas J. Watson Library

Posted: Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Sherman Fairchild Center for Book Conservation hosts regular open houses for all staff, volunteers, and interns who work with the Museum's library collections. While usually focused on preservation-related themes, sometimes we host workshops related to books and paper in general, or to complement a theme or current exhibition. This year one focus has been Japanese books, and Book Conservation staff member Yukari Hayashida recently demonstrated two Japanese decorative paper techniques using kozo fiber paper and sumi ink.

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In Circulation

Thank You Very Much, Mr. Roboto

Andrea Puccio, Assistant Museum Librarian, Thomas J. Watson Library; and Catherine Paolillo, Senior Library Associate, Thomas J. Watson Library

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.

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In Circulation

Watson on Tour: Le Morte d'Arthur on Display

Nancy Mandel, Manager for Library Administration, Thomas J. Watson Library

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.

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In Circulation

Watson Library Collaborates with Wikipedia

William Blueher, Senior Library Associate, Thomas J. Watson Library

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.

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In Circulation

Conservation Treatment of a Seventeenth-Century Topographic Book

Sophia Kramer, Assistant Book Conservator, Thomas J. Watson Library; and Andrijana Sajic, Volunteer, Thomas J. Watson Library

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.

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In Circulation

Beyond the Exhibition: Researching Charles James Using Electronic Resources

Katherine Borkowski, Digital Resources and Instructional Librarian, Thomas J. Watson Library

Posted: Wednesday, July 16, 2014

If you enjoyed Charles James: Beyond Fashion and want to find out more about the designer and his creations, the Museum and its libraries offer a number of rich online resources.

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