Getty’s Online Scholarly Catalogue Initiative (OSCI)

J. Paul Getty Foundation's OSCI Interim Report

Not so very long ago, in 2008, the folks at the Getty Foundation launched an initiative aimed at helping museums explore the brave new world of what it means to publish scholarly catalogues online.   Nine museums, with diverse collections, were invited to join the Online Scholarly Catalogue Initiative (OSCI) :

  • Art Institute of Chicago
  • Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery of the Smithsonian’s Museums of Asian Art, Washington, D.C.
  • J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
  • Los Angeles County Museum of Art
  • National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.
  • San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
  • Seattle Museum of Art
  • Tate, London
  • Walker Art Center, Minneapolis

The OSCI has two phases:  planning and implementation.  The planning phase is now complete and as the nine OSCI museums begin the implementation phase the Getty Foundation has released the interim report for the initiative.  The report discusses the opportunities for museums that engage in the online publication of scholarly catalogues, the challenges and lessons learned during the first phase, and three very useful appendices (a description of the nine projects, a discussion of intellectual property rights issues–Prepared by Maureen Whalen, Associate General Counsel, the J. Paul Getty Trust–and a sample functional requirements grid).   The report also includes short essays.  Gloria Groom, the David and Mary Winton Green Curator of Nineteenth Century Painting and Sculpture at the Art Institute of Chicago, provides insight from the curatorial perspective, and Nik Honeysett, Head of Administration at the J. Paul Getty Museum, addresses the opportunities and challenges of managing information.

Now–full disclosure–I played a small part in the preparation of this document–but I wouldn’t be blogging about the report if I didn’t believe it was chock-full of useful information for the field   Take a look–a PDF file of the report is available for downloading here.  Read it.  Share it with folks at your institution who will find the report useful.  Let’s get all that terrifically rich scholarly material online for our audiences.  Who knows what we might learn in the process?



Leave a Reply