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BHA Crisis: Emergency Meeting on the Future (or not) of Art Bibliography

BHA.gif

Are there signs of life in the frozen
Bibliography of the History of Art
(BHA)?

The Getty Research
Institute, which on Apr. 1 withdrew
financial support
from this essential tool for scholars (but made
the existing database, without further updates, available free online),
has received a grant from the Kress Foundation to help organize an Apr.
20 meeting at the Metropolitan Museum to discuss the future of
art bibliography. Art librarians, scholars, and
information
specialists from the U.S. and Europe are expected to attend.

Christopher
Howard
of CAA [College Art Association] News reports:

Recent events, including discussions of art-library
closures, scant
funding resources for ongoing support of art libraries and projects
internationally, and the cessation of the Getty’s support for the
continuation of the Bibliography
of the History of Art (BHA), provide the catalyst to review current
practices, take stock of changes, and seriously consider developing
more sustainable and collaborative ways of supporting the bibliography
of art history in the future
[emphasis added].

There will be presentations by two panels, followed by an open discussion of this
art-historical emergency. Kathleen Salomon, the Getty Research
Institute’s head of library services, is among those spearheading this effort. The announcement of the meeting was distributed through the Princeton-based listserv of the Consortium of Art and Architectural Historians.

I know that the J. Paul Getty Trust has serious funding issues, but how can you call yourself a “research institute” and pull the rug out from under the premier resource for art-historical research?

But don’t just listen to me. The Art History Newsletter writes:

It’s hard to imagine what could be more important to the scholarly
community than a healthy Bibliography of the History of Art.

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