Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library and ARTstor awarded IMLS National Leadership Grant for Built Works Registry
NEW YORK, October 1, 2010 –

The Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library at Columbia University and ARTstor announced today the receipt of a $974,998 three-year National Leadership grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The funds will be used to support the new Built Works Registry (BWR), a collaborative project to develop a freely available registry and data resource for architectural works and the built environment.


The project will include development of the BWR policy framework, metadata structure, technical infrastructure, and a body of seed content. The Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library at Columbia University and ARTstor will be the principal collaborators for this project. The Getty Research Institute (GRI), nine other institutions, and an international advisory council will also participate throughout the three-year project development cycle. BWR will be available for contributions and use by scholars, catalogers, and other users across all types of academic and cultural heritage organizations, both in the United States and worldwide.

"Architectural works and the built environment present unique challenges for catalogers and scholars. While the creators and locations of built works can often be clearly identified and indexed using globally shared standards and names, no authoritative standards or registries currently exist to help identify the works themselves." said Carole Ann Fabian, director of the Avery Library. "Thanks to this generous grant from IMLS, scholars and information professionals alike will benefit from such a collective and consistent approach to describing built works."

A key feature of BWR will be the collaborative aspect of the resource. James Shulman, president of ARTstor, notes that "one of the limiting factors for creation of a shared works list has been the absence of a networked, distributed environment that allows an unlimited number of contributors to participate in building and maintaining the file as a community-generated resource. There is a fundamental need for global collaboration on this enormous undertaking, and the benefits of developing such a network should accrue to the whole arts and educational community. We are thrilled to be a part of such an undertaking along with such thoroughly learned partners and advisors."

In addition, BWR data will be contributed to the Getty Vocabulary Program's planned Cultural Objects Name Authority (CONA). "The Built Works Registry will be a core contributor to CONA. The Getty is grateful to the Avery Library and ARTstor for taking the lead in developing workable tools and methods for building and sharing resources for documentation and retrieval in the field of art history. We believe that the BWR will become a fundamental resource as well as a practical model for researchers and information professionals, and we are excited about being part of this important initiative," states Murtha Baca, Head of Digital Art History Access at the GRI.

For works that have never had ISBN codes or any other unique identifiers in a standardized system, this effort should begin to provide a framework and a set of tools that will enhance research and education while reducing system-wide expenditures.

For more information about the 2010 National Leadership Grants, please read IMLS Awards National Leadership Grants to 34 Institutions.

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.

ARTstor is a nonprofit organization with a mission to use digital technologies to facilitate research, teaching and learning in the arts and humanities. In furtherance of that mission, ARTstor provides a digital library of over 1.2 million images in the arts and humanities, software, and services to over 1,300 colleges, universities, museums and schools around the world. ARTstor is also developing Shared Shelf, a networked cataloging and image management system.

The Getty Research Institute is dedicated to furthering knowledge and advancing understanding of the visual arts. The Research Institute creates and disseminates new knowledge through its expertise, its active collecting program, public programs, institutional collaborations, exhibitions, publications, digital services and residential scholars program. The Getty Vocabulary Program produces the Union List of Artist Names (ULAN®), Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names (TGN®), and Art & Architecture Thesaurus (AAT®) – multilingual databases for terms, names, and other information about people, places, things, and concepts relating to art, architecture, and material culture.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The Institute's mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas. The largest museum and library joint grant program administered by IMLS, National Leadership Grants support projects that will advance the ability of museums and libraries to preserve culture, heritage, and knowledge while enhancing learning.

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.  

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