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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

The Fragility of Headcaps and the Safe Handling of Books

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

Posted: Wednesday, May 27, 2015

In early March, we began a project to conserve and rehouse 160 books from the Department of Drawings and Prints. The project, French Architectural Books: Renaissance to Art Deco, was made possible by the New York State Program for Conservation and Preservation of Library Research Materials. From the beginning of the project, it was apparent that many books, regardless of their size, materials, or age, had damaged or missing headcaps—an indication that at some point in time the books were likely shelved too tightly and then improperly pulled from the shelf by their headcaps. Books are easily damaged in this manner, so here is some basic information to help you avoid such damage in your library, be it institutional or personal.

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In Circulation

American Bound: Watson's Rare Trade Bindings, Part II

Holly Phillips, Associate Manager for Acquisitions, Thomas J. Watson Library; Diane De Fazio, Volunteer, Thomas J. Watson Library; and William Blueher, Metadata and Collections Librarian, Thomas J. Watson Library

Posted: Wednesday, May 20, 2015

In an earlier post we discussed Watson's collection of nineteenth-century American trade bindings, purchased with funds from the Friends of Thomas J. Watson Library. We will continue to look at more of these trade bindings here, and explore themes not addressed in the previous post.

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In Circulation

Pictures and Words: Book Illustration in Interwar France, Part II

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

Posted: Wednesday, May 13, 2015

In the first installment in this series on Les Artistes du Livre, we looked at folios that included illustrations of canonical works of fiction and standard texts. The folios described in this second installment include illustrations that demonstrate the surprising variety of mood and tone—from the morose to the sanguine—that can be found in this series.

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In Circulation

iPads Now Available for Use at Watson and Nolen Libraries

Kate Sweeney, Senior Library Associate, Thomas J. Watson Library

Posted: Wednesday, May 6, 2015

January 2014 marked the first time that Americans used mobile apps more than desktop computers to access the Internet. Smartphone and tablet apps are increasingly tied into everyday tasks, from buying coffee to posting to Instagram to paying bills to . . . art research!

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In Circulation

Art Libraries 101: Or, My Life as an Intern

Freya Yost, Intern, Thomas J. Watson Library

Posted: Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Last spring I received an academic scholarship to complete a one-year internship at The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Thomas J. Watson Library. The internship was designed as a guided, hands-on learning experience for students of library science interested in a career in art librarianship. Since I am currently finishing up a two-year master's program in Information and Library Science at Pratt Institute and am especially interested in art libraries and visual resources, interning at Watson Library has been ideal.

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In Circulation

Taste on Wheels: Driving Watson's Vitrine Displays

Holly Phillips, Associate Manager for Acquisitions, Thomas J. Watson Library

Posted: Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Every six weeks or so, Watson Library puts out a new vitrine display that highlights some of the strikingly beautiful works from our special collections. In this post we'll take you behind the scenes to see the planning of these vitrine installations—from the early stages of identifying materials and a theme, to the final stages of constructing book supports, securing the objects, and drafting the labels.

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In Circulation

Man's Interest in His Own Surroundings: Conserving a Collection of Early Modern Topography Books

Sophia Kramer, Assistant Book Conservator, Thomas J. Watson Library; and Dan Lipcan, Assistant Museum Librarian, Thomas J. Watson Library

Posted: Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Topography books are often consulted for their illustrations which record landscapes, cityscapes, architecture, gardens, and infrastructure, as well as examples of culture and customs from around the world. Since they are a valuable documentary tool for researchers and curators, these illustrations commonly appear in scholarly articles and exhibitions. For the first six months of 2014, an exquisite collection of 204 early modern topography books with Dutch origins underwent conservation here at the Met. These books, originally published in several countries between 1575 and 1825, are now held in the collection of the Museum's Department of Drawings and Prints. Femke Speelberg, an assistant curator in the department, served as project leader and selected the titles for conservation.

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In Circulation

Watson Corrals Fort Worth

William Blueher, Metadata and Collections Librarian, Thomas J. Watson Library; Tamara Fultz, Associate Museum Librarian, Thomas J. Watson Library; Dana Hart, Associate Manager, Thomas J. Watson Library; Andrea Puccio, Assistant Museum Librarian, Thomas J. Watson Library; and Daniel Starr, Associate Chief Librarian, Thomas J. Watson Library

Posted: Wednesday, April 1, 2015

A couple weeks ago, a number of Watson librarians descended on Fort Worth for the 2015 Art Libraries Society of North America (ARLIS/NA) Conference. We were there to share ideas and innovations from the previous year, as well as visit some of Fort Worth's fantastic art museums. Wining and dining is, of course, part of any good conference, and Watson attendees took part in their fair share of Fort Worth's food and drink. Presented here are a few highlights from the trip.

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In Circulation

Launching @metlibrary

William Blueher, Metadata and Collections Librarian, Thomas J. Watson Library

Posted: Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Cooper Hewitt reopened in December to much fanfare, after an ambitious three-year gut renovation. The Atlantic described it as "the museum of the future," and singled out its new interactive pen as a "godsend." Several Watson librarians recently ventured up Fifth Avenue to see what the future looks like and to try out these new pens. Among our contingent was Tina Lidogoster, who used her pen to design a futuristic Watson Library "lamp," seen above. After our visit, she was able to access her design online, which she then shared with me so I could post it on our new Instagram account.

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In Circulation

Going Once, Going Twice, Vendu! Ancien Régime Auction Catalogs at Watson Library

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

Posted: Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Watson Library has digitized its collection of eighteenth-century French auction catalogs, which are among the oldest sales catalogs owned by the library. Published mainly in the 1770s and 1780s, these catalogs provide us with a view of the world of art auctions in the decades leading up to the French Revolution. An invaluable source for provenance research, this historical collection also illuminates how artworks were described in an age where auction catalogs were generally devoid of illustrations.

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