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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

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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In Circulation

Art Deco Modes of Transportation

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

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!

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In Circulation

Welcome to In Circulation

Kenneth Soehner, Arthur K. Watson Chief Librarian, Thomas J. Watson Library

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.

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Now at the Met

Digitizing the Libraries' Collections: Pictorialist Photography Exhibition Catalogues, 1891–1914

Dan Lipcan, Assistant Museum Librarian, Thomas J. Watson Library; and Malcolm Daniel, Senior Curator, Department of Photographs

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.

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Now at the Met

Digitizing the Libraries' Collections: Industrial Arts at the Metropolitan Museum, 1917–40

Antoniette M. Guglielmo, 2011–2012 Sylvan C. Coleman and Pamela Coleman Memorial Fund Fellow, Department of Modern and Contemporary Art

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.

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Now at the Met

Digitizing the Libraries' Collections: An Introduction

Robyn Fleming, Assistant Museum Librarian, Thomas J. Watson Library; and Dan Lipcan, Assistant Museum Librarian, Thomas J. Watson Library

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.

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