Release of Art Catalogue Digital Archive

Memorandum signing ceremony for the opening and operation of the “Project to Create Digital Copies of Art Catalogues,” which was pursued in collaboration with the Tokyo Art Club
Dedicated terminal of art catalogue digital archive

 An art catalogue is a brochure that is created in advance for selling items in individual and family collections at auction houses. It is an important resource listing the names and photographs of artworks that have been sold. Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties possesses 2,565 art catalogues, the largest collection among public agencies. Until now, the Institute has enabled the public to view this art catalogue information at its Library, by attaching photographs to cards. However, as the storage conditions of the original art catalogues were bad, the Institute, in collaboration with the Tokyo Art Club, began a project to convert these art catalogues into digital format from 2015 (see the April 2015 monthly report). Through the support of the Tokyo Art Club and many others, the project was completed after approximately 4 years of hard work and is now being opened to the public as a digital archive.
 The art catalogues recorded in the digital archive were created before World War II, including 2,328 catalogues in the collection of the Institute and 309 catalogues in the collection of the Tokyo Art Club for a total of 2,637 catalogues. In principle, the artworks selected for digital recording were those that were listed in art catalogues together with an image photograph, about 375,500 of which exist at this point in time. The digital archive is classified into bibliographic information and artwork information. Bibliographic information is information according to an art catalogue, whereas artwork information is information on individual artworks that can be viewed together with their photographic images. The Art Catalogue Digital Archive is open to the public during regular operating hours of the Library at the Institute, using a dedicated terminal. A variety of bits of information can be perused, and images and lists can be printed out for a fee (10 yen/page for black-and-white print outs and 50 yen/page for color print outs).

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