posted by Christopher Howard
The Getty Research Institute (GRI) has announced an agreement with ProQuest, an information-technology firm supporting global research, that will allow ProQuest to take over the indexing of the International Bibliography of Art (IBA), better known as the Bibliography of the History of Art (BHA). The agreement will not only provide a secure future for a resource considered central to the study of art history, but will also assure its continuing development and its accessibility to researchers around the world.
ProQuest will distribute IBA content created by GRI—covering the years 2008 through 2009—and build on it by adding new index records going forward. ProQuest will retain the editorial policies that made IBA a trusted and frequently consulted source in the field, continuing to provide full abstracts and subject indexing for its wide international and multilingual range of periodicals, monographs, and catalogues. Over time, ProQuest intends to expand coverage of art from Asia, Latin America, and Africa, in response to requests from art librarians and researchers. Since its founding in 1972, the bibliography has mostly covered European and American art from late antiquity to the present.
ProQuest, which operates expansive digital archives of newspapers, dissertations, and journals, also publishes specialist databases in the arts, such as ARTbibliographies Modern, Design and Applied Arts Index, and the International Index to Music Periodicals. Further, BHA, discontinued at the end of 2007, has long been available to researchers through ProQuest on the CSA Illumina platform. Users will welcome IBA with its expanded coverage and similar format, and ProQuest will enable IBA to be cross-searched with these other major bibliographies and complementary full-text resources.
As part of the ProQuest family, IBA will benefit from ProQuest’s acclaimed editorial operations, with its emphasis on subject expertise and manual indexing for specialist arts and humanities resources. ProQuest will make existing IBA content available immediately, and at the same time bring the database up to date—no additions have been made to it since December 2009—and continuing to add new records. IBA will migrate to ProQuest’s all-new platform in early 2011.
GRI has supported bibliographical services for art history since 1981, when it took over the International Repertory of the Literature of Art (RILA), which was then housed at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute after many years. Beginning in 1985, GRI partnered with the French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), which produced the Répertoire d’Art et d’Archéologie (RAA), a publication similar to RILA. RILA and RAA merged to become BHA, which appeared first in 1991, published by CNRS’s database production and distribution arm, the Institut de l’Information Scientifique et Technique (INIST).
BHA was produced jointly by GRI and INIST until 2008. Thereafter, GRI continued producing records under the new name of IBA before budgetary constraints led to the difficult decision to discontinue its support earlier this year. At this time, GRI made IBA (as well as the historical data in BHA and RILA) freely available on its website, so the historical data would continue to aid researchers. Thomas Gaehtgens, GRI director, confirms that “we will continue to make the historical BHA and RILA data available on the website free of charge to researchers who access it.”