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A Guide to Art History Resources

A guide to research in Art History.

Collection Development Policy

Washington University in St. Louis

Collection Development Policy

Library: Olin

Subject: Art History 

Collection: General

Date revised: February, 11 2014

Subject Librarian: Rina Vecchiola

 

1. General purpose:

The collections and access are planned to serve the needs of undergraduate and graduate students and faculty of the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts and the Department of Art History and Archeology. Collection development is very much based on current programs and on the current needs of students and faculty. First priority is given to requests for ordering new and retrospective materials to support course offerings and faculty research areas. Collection development is undertaken with active participation from the faculty who identify areas of the collection where growth is needed. Areas of focused collection development include non-western art and architecture, modern and contemporary art and design, and landscape and urban design. The collection aims to support all of the curriculum areas of contemporary practice (including urban issues and landscape architecture), technology and sustainability (or the environment), history/theory, and computation and representation as they are emphasized by the School's and Department’s programs.

 

2. Subjects excluded:

Decorative arts are excluded.

 

3. Overlap with other collections or subjects:

The Visual Resources Center is housed adjacent to the Art and Architecture Library. It is primarily funded and directed out of the Department of Art History and Archeology, with additional funding from the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts for special projects. The related collection of the Modern Graphic History Library began as a collaborative effort of the Department of Special Collections and the College and Graduate School of Art of the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts. Comprised of original art and printed material, the collection’s range extends from book, magazine, and advertising illustration to graphic novels, comics, poster design, pictorial information design, and animation. Other related special collections are the history of the book in the rare book collection, the papers of art critics in the manuscripts collection, and the papers of architecture firms in university archives. In addition, separate libraries on campus in Business, Social Work, and East Asian provide strong support, as do the collections areas of anthropology, engineering, near Eastern, German, French, Spanish, history, biology in Olin Library.

 

4. Languages included and excluded:

The main languages collected are English, Italian, German, and French. Very little is collected in other languages.

 

5. Geographical limitations:

None

 

6. Chronological limits:

None

 

7. Retrospective acquisition:

Due to the age of the collection (established in 1905) and some valuable gifts over the years, retrospective holdings are good.

 

8. Types of material collected and excluded:

The Art and Architecture Library holds over 109,000 volumes, including 192 current journal subscriptions. Retrospective holdings are good for major journal titles, with many complete or nearly-complete runs. The Library subscribes to the major Art and Architecture indexes: Art Index, Art Index Retrospective, Art-Bibliographies Modern, and Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals. Additionally, the University Libraries support JSTOR and Project Muse which include electronic holdings in art and architecture. The Library collects videos and electronic materials; it does not collect drawings, photos, models, or materials samples. Audio visual materials circulate according to the same policies as books. The Libraries have been instrumental in purchasing and implementing two major digital image indexes to which art and architecture faculty and students have access. Luna provides access to numerous external digital image collections and provides a systematic approach to collecting and distributing internally generated digital image collections. Most notably, the WU Visual Resources collection is available via Luna. The VR collection supports teaching and classroom image needs by making digital images available for viewing, downloading and presentation. The Libraries subscribe to ARTstor which currently contains over 1.6 million images. Art Special Collections is a 3,400 volume collection of rare and unique art and design printed materials located at the Art and Architecture Library, which continues to grow based upon the teaching and research needs of the art history, fine arts, and design faculty. The main focus of Art Special Collections is illustrated books, prints, and photographs from the 18th and 19th centuries. Highlights of the collection include 19th century French caricatures, illuminated manuscript facsimiles, important works on design from the 19th century, catalogue raisonnés, and illustrated books that serve as examples of various printing techniques.

 

9. Other factors to consider:

Faculty and students may suggest purchases in person, through email, or by filling out a form on the Library’s website. Many faculty requests for titles to acquire come through as part of the art and architecture course reserves process and in development of the Visual Resources Collection by Visual Resources Center staff.

 

10. Subjects and Collecting Levels:

Using the North American Collections Inventory Project format to describe collection strengths based on classification, for art and architecture, intended "collecting intensity" ranges from "basic information level" (mainly for art and architecture of specific countries of lesser interest to the programs) to "instructional support level--advanced" which support study at the master's and PhD level. These assignments are appropriate based on the programs of the School and Department. 

Collecting Level

*If:

History:

Ancient History

3*

Archeological, Art, Architectural

Medieval History

3*

Archeological, Art, Architectural

Greco-Roman World

3*

Archeological, Art, Architectural

Greece

3*

Archeological, Art, Architectural

Italy

3*

Archeological, Art, Architectural

Africa:

Egypt

3*

Archeological, Art, Architectural

Human ecology. Anthropogeography:

Spatial Studies. Landscape

3

Manners and customs:

Costume. Dress. Fashion

3

Communties. Classes. Races:

Urban groups. The city. Urban sociology

3*

Architectural

Visual Arts:

General

3

Theory

4

Study and Teaching. Research

1

Exhibitions

3

Private collections and collectors

2

History

4

Art as profession

2

Examination and conservation

2

Economics of art

1

Public art

3

Architecture:

General

3

History

4

Architecture as profession

2