The Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library’s New York Real Estate Brochure Collection website received the Worldwide Books Award for Electronic Resources at the 38th annual meeting of Art Libraries Society of North America (ARLIS/NA). The award recognizes outstanding electronic publications by ARLIS/NA members in librarianship or visual resources curatorship, and the arts.
This collection of digitized ephemeral advertising material constitutes an invaluable resource for studying and conducting research about New York City apartment buildings. The user can browse or search by address, building name, neighborhood, architect, and owner/agent. Buildings are illustrated by interior and exterior views, floor plans and are also encoded with GIS coordinates so that locations and neighborhoods can be displayed using the Google Maps application. Users of the site are able to contribute comments about individual buildings, thereby enabling the creation of an even richer set of descriptions and potentially valuable historical context.
The collection itself was donated to Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library by Yale Robbins, Henry Robbins, and David Magier in 1986. The collection consists of over 9,200 advertising brochures, floor plans, price lists, and related materials that document residential and commercial real estate development in the five boroughs of New York and outlying vicinities from the 1920s to the 1970s. Columbia University Libraries is digitizing the entire collection. Brooklyn and Manhattan are now complete with over 13,000 images for approximately 3,000 buildings. Digitized images for the remaining boroughs are scheduled to be released later in 2010.
The Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library is one of the most comprehensive architecture and the fine arts library collections in the world. Avery collects a full range of primary and secondary sources for the advanced study of architecture, historic preservation, art history, decorative arts, city planning, real estate, and archaeology. The Library contains more than 550,000 volumes including more than 40,000 rare books. Avery’s Drawings and Archives collection includes 1.5 million architectural drawings and records. The Avery Library is home to the Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals, the only comprehensive American guide to the current literature of architecture and design. For more information, please visit: /content/libraryweb/indiv/avery.html.
Columbia University Libraries/Information Services is one of the top five academic research library systems in North America. The collections include over 10 million volumes, over 100,000 journals and serials, as well as extensive electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms, maps, graphic and audio-visual materials. The services and collections are organized into 22 libraries and various academic technology centers. The Libraries employs more than 550 professional and support staff. The website of the Libraries is the gateway to its services and resources: library.columbia.edu.