This is a case study in how the New York Art Resources Consortium (NYARC), the ACI Scholarly Blog index and ExLibris Primo are working together to provide unified access to three important museum library holdings.  It’s also the story of how one librarian, Lily Pregill, became involved in the project, successfully integrated these three collections, and continues to create value for NYARC. Pat Sabosik, General Manager of ACI Scholarly Blog Index interviewed Lily Pregill, NYARC Coordinator and Systems Manager for the article.

How did this come about?  In 2006 NYARC received a grant from the Mellon Foundation to unify the catalogs of The Frick Art Reference Library, and the libriaries of The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and the Brooklyn Museum.  These are all very different collections—MoMA’s collection focus is modern art, Brooklyn’s collection is encyclopedic, and the Frick Art Reference Library’s holdings span from the 4th to mid-20th centuries.

Pregill, a librarian, consultant, and former cataloger, also has a love of art. She was hired by the consortium to lead a project that involved unifying these three very different library catalogs and she has been working on it, along with other projects, for ten years. What a perfect job for a librarian!

There were a few challenges to overcome in unifying three library collections.  All the libraries followed cataloging and collection standards but they also used local practices to further describe their collections.  Some of the local practices needed to be incorporated into the unified catalog.  According to Pregill, she used a “no data left behind” approach and the unification process began. The challenges were not all technical. In any large initiative there is the human aspects of project management and building consensus. Pregill said: “Collaboration is great, but it takes a little longer!”  She was able to build consensus among the librarians and begin the process of integrating their collections.

Where does ACI Scholarly Blog Index come into the picture? Three touchpoints brought ACI and NYARC together:  a blog, an archive, and discovery. NYARC publishes a blog about various aspects of the consortium and the libraries’ collections. The ARLIS/NA review of ACI Scholarly Blog Index brought ACI to the attention of art librarians across the country and subsequently, on behalf of NYARC, Pregill requested the inclusion of the New York Arts Resources Consortium blog into the ACI Collection which was done. 

 

Always looking to seamlessly integrate research resources, Pregill was able to provide access to the ACI Scholarly Blog Index, including their own blog, through the consortium’s discovery platform called NYARC Discovery (http://discovery.nyarc.org).  The Consortium can now search and surface their own blog, along with other arts and humanities blogs in the ACI collection as well as other resources.  NYARC Discovery is based on the ExLibris Primo discovery service which enables librarians to connect resources outside of the library.  Various library subscriptions can be searched through a single interface and this is the strength of discovery services.  Specific to NYARC are how the facets in Primo can be used to surface art resources, including their own blog and the many art resources in the ACI Scholarly Blog Index.  The integration of the New York Arts Resources Consortium blog into ACI and ACI’s integration into Primo was a win-win for all partners. 

Archiving is an important topic for all librarians, made even more critical as more “born digital” resources such as blogs are being developed without a clear archival path. Many art resources are moving to the open web to encourage broader access but the preservation of the resources must be considered. NYARC has an active web archiving program and is working with Brewster Kahl’s Archive-It and Wayback Machine services to preserve art websites and other resources that are moving to the open web. Summing up archiving Pregill states: “no one can do it [archiving] alone, services can help museums in their mission to preserve scholarly resources.”  The ACI Scholarly Blog Index also archives blogs included in the collection and this was important to NYARC. ACI also archives the blog database with Portico, the digital archiving service provided by Ithaka and used by many research libraries.

 

The value that the ACI Scholarly Blog Index brings to NYARC is threefold: incorporation of NYARC’s blog into ACI;  ACI’s partnership with ExLibris Primo; and the interdisciplinary nature of the ACI Scholarly Blog Index which integrates NYARC‘s blog into a broader arts and humanities collection of other scholarly blogs and reaches an audience of art scholars and librarians beyond New York. Pregill and the other NYARC librarians like the interdisciplinary nature of the ACI Scholarly Blog Index and the interplay of arts and sciences along with the exposure their blog has to a broader audience.  The universal nature of art lends itself today to the partnership between art and technology to reach a wide audience.

Readers can find more information about NYARC here. Announcements will be made in the NYARC blog as new collections and features are added to NYARC Discovery. Questions and comments may be sent to Lily Pregill, NYARC Coordinator and Systems Manager (pregill@frick.org).

For more information about the ACI Scholarly Blog Index click here.  Information about requesting trial access to ACI Scholarly Blog Index is outlined in this blog post. Contact ACI to request a trial.

Visit ACI Scholarly Blog Index at exhibit booth # 1204 during the ACRL Conference in Baltimore to speak with Larry Schwartz, President of the ACI Information Group, the publisher of the ACI Scholarly Blog Index, Aura Novembre, Vice President, and Pat Sabosik, General Manager. Pat is also hosting a roundtable discussion: “Scholarly Communications and Grey Literature: Completing the Chain—Links Between Authors, Institutions, and Readers.”