The Online Catalogue Raisonné: Challenges of an Emerging Format

The Online Catalogue Raisonné: Challenges of an Emerging Format

Project Title:

The Online Catalogue Raisonné: Challenges of an Emerging Format


LIS-667 – Art Librarianship, Fall 2016, Pratt Institute

Project Description:

For my final project for LIS 667-01: Art Librarianship, I researched the shifting trend in the art world over the past two decades towards publishing artist catalogue raisonnés in an online format. A catalogue raisonné is a definitive listing of of all known works by a particular artist. This paper gives an overview of how the online catalogue raisonné evolved as an alternative to publishing these works in print, and looks at some of the challenges that artist foundations, museums, and other institutions face when embarking on a catalogue raisonné project. It also looks at some popular software platforms for catalogue raisonné publication, and discusses possible future directions for the online catalogue raisonné, such as the integration of linked data.

Project Documentation:

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I used a variety of sources for my research, including scholarly articles, popular art magazines, bibliographic dictionaries, and conference presentations.

My Role:

I am the sole author of this paper.

Learning Objective Achieved:



This paper collects textual information from a variety of sources as evidence to explain why the shift towards publishing catalogue raisonnés online has been a boon to art historical research, and to demonstrate how the adoption of publication methods such as the incorporation of linked data could further improve the usability of online catalogue raisonnés in the future. This evidence is bolstered by the inclusion of extensive textual citations.

Additional Learning Objective Achieved:

Reflective Practice


This paper examines a major shift in trends in the world of art librarianship and art publications. Catalogue raisonnés are one of the most important resources available for art historical research, and this paper highlights how publishing catalogue raisonnés online can make them richer and more accessible for both scholarly users and the general public.

In addition to examining trends in the field at large, my choice of catalogue raisonnés as a research subject was also informed by my own past involvement in digitization work as part of the creation of an online catalogue raisonné of the work of Philip Guston, as well as a traditionally published catalogue raisonné of Guston’s prints.