Presentations (Communicative Events)

From Curatorial Files to Linked Open Data: Cataloging the Art Collection at Columbia University

Ferrari, Roberto C.; Wacker, Melanie

Columbia University is relatively unique among American educational institutions with regard to its art collection. Rather than being housed in a traditional museum environment, artwork instead is organized as a special collection within Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library. Overseen by the Art Properties department, the collection of over 12,000 works of art encompasses all time periods, cultures, and media. This paper presents a case study in which item-level records for the collection were exposed in the library’s online catalog and, in just five years, evolved from being an unsearchable resource to becoming an international model of linked open data for records for works of art. The first part of this presentation describes the original museum-style documentation used for organizing the collection, and the library cataloging standards implemented in recent years.


  • thumnail for FINAL_STANDARD_Ferrari-Wacker_Presentation.pdf FINAL_STANDARD_Ferrari-Wacker_Presentation.pdf application/pdf 4 MB Download File

More About This Work


Presented at the 8th International Conference of Art Libraries at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, The Netherlands on October 4, 2018.