The Thomas J. Watson Library. Copyright: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

The Thomas J. Watson Library, US

John Byrne and William Blueher , 17.06.2013
The Thomas J. Watson Library of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MMA) in New York has collaborated with other departmental libratries to create digital collections of over 17,000 digitised items.

The museum's libraries have been digitising MMA publications that date from the 1869 foundation to 1963, while the digital media and editorial departments are working on publications from 1964 to the present.  

Over 1,100 MMA books are already online as downloadable PDFs, including large "doorstopper" catalogues as recent as 2009. These represent a massive public art history resource.

William Blueher, library associate at MMA, has been working with Wikipedia to place links to this material in the appropriate Wikipedia articles. The collaboration aims to increase usage of the digital collections.

Before and after figures show it has been very successful; more than 50% of the traffic going to the library's digital collections is referred by Wikipedia, and the total monthly page views have jumped 800% from just over 5,000 to over 45,000 between June 2012 and April.

Total visits per month have jumped 566% from about 1,800 to over 12,000, and average visitors per day 565% from 62 to 412.

Using a Wikipedia working page, William proposes links and John comments, suggests additional articles and points out irrelevant ones. This page documents the entire process.  

The links offer readily available high-quality sources for existing Wikipedia pages and have led to article expansions and at least one new article on gold glass.

John Byrne is User:Johnbod on Wikipedia. William Blueher is library associate, technical services at the Thomas J. Watson Library, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and also User:WilliamDigiCol on Wikipedia.


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