Behind the Scenes, Getty Research Institute, Research

Research Institute Launches New Search Interfaces for Library Catalog and Photo Study Collection

We’ve just made it easier to find research resources in the collection of the Research Library at the Getty Research Institute, one of the world’s largest art libraries.

Last week, we launched a restyled and updated interface for the online catalog of the library’s holdings, which include over one million books, periodicals, and auction catalogs, along with extensive special collections and about two million photographs of art and architecture. The Research Library is open to qualified researchers, and an increasing volume of our materials is being digitized and made available online.

By updating the aesthetics and usability of the site, we hope that any seeker—from experienced scholar of art history to casual visitor—will be able to more easily find relevant resources from the GRI’s vast collections.

The interface now matches the look and feel of the Getty website. It offers easier navigation, easier-to-use basic and advanced searching, and easier-to-scan search results, including options to print, export, and email all or selected records for sharing or personal use. To better support researchers, bibliographic citations can now be exported in RIS format for use with software such as EndNote® or Zotero.

Research Library Catalog - screenshot of new interface launched February 2012

Search results pages, like the one shown below, now include object-type icons to help you readily identify books, periodicals, electronic resources, archives/manuscripts, sound recordings, videos, maps, and other materials.

New results layout in the Research Library Catalog - screenshot of new interface launched February 2012

A simple click on any title link in the search results takes you to a detailed view with complete information on that item.

Item-level detailed results page in the Research Library Catalog - screenshot of new interface launched February 2012

Two features of note:

  • Book covers from Google Books display where available, and “About This Book” links let you preview them in Google Books.
  • Persistent links (web addresses that remain unchanged over time) can be used for citing, sharing, and bookmarking items of interest.

To search the library catalog, visit

The GRI Library Catalog, which currently uses ExLibris Voyager® software, will continue to be improved as we plan and implement a transition to ExLibris Primo®. Primo will offer a single interface for discovery/access to an integrated set of GRI resources, including books, journals, finding aids, print and electronic articles, digital objects, and other types of resources, with search features such as “did you mean” and more intuitive navigation. Primo will bring the design of the GRI’s web offerings more in line with popular site-search tools like those on

Feedback and suggestions on the new Research Library Catalog interface can be submitted by clicking on “Contact the GRI” at the bottom of any page.

We’ve also made improvements to the look and functionality of our venerable Photo Study Collection (PSC) database. The Photo Study Collection, housed on-site, contains about two million printed photographs that provide both supplementary and original pictorial research for the study of fine arts from antiquity to the modern period. Over 312,000 of the study photographs are represented by descriptive records in the database; about 4,300 records are also accompanied by images.

Photo Study Collection / PSC  - screenshot of new interface launched February 2012

Later this year, when the Research Institute makes about 60,000 images from Max Hutzel’s Foto Arte Minore available as a digital collection, PSC users will be able to search the Hutzel collection through PSC and view the images.

The interface makes it easier to identify and select subject areas and selected intact archives through new “Limit by Collection” checkboxes.  You can search a single collection, multiple collections, or all of the collections at once simply by checking the appropriate boxes. A brand-new features lets you view results in PDF format and print, save, or email those results.

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      William Pope.L

      Tell us a bit about how and why you became an artist.

      I used to blame my being an artist on my grandmother, but that was my younger self looking for a scapegoat. At one point in undergrad, I had a moment, a crisis where I thought it was my job to save my family and the best way to that was to be a commercial artist—but I had to let go of that. Truth be told, being an artist is something I choose every day. Of course, maybe I choose art because I’m afraid of theater—too much memorizing and being in the moment and shit.

      A lot of your work deals with racial issues—perceptions of “blackness,” “whiteness,” the absurdity of racial prejudices, the violence of it. Why do you address race in your work? Do you think art can be an agent of change?

      I address race in my work ‘cause day-to-day in our country it addresses me. Yes, art can change the world but so can Disney—so there is that. I think the real question is not can art change the world, but can art be changed by the world? Would we allow this?

      Humor, with a touch of the absurd, seems to be an important component in your artistic practice. What role does humor play in your work?

      I like to use humor in my work ‘cause it answers/deals with questions in ways that are very unique. Humor answers questions with an immediacy and creates a productive amnesia of the moment in the receiver—but then the wave recedes, the world floods back in with its pain, confusions, and crush but the humor remains like a perfume or an echo or a kiss inside beneath one’s skin.

      More: Artist William Pope.L on Humor, Race, and God

      From top: Obi Sunt (Production Image from the making of Obi Sunt), 2015, William Pope.L. Courtesy of the Artist © Pope.L; Gans-Nelson fight, from the album ‘Incident to the Gans-Nelson fight’ (Page 40-3), Goldfield, NV, September 3, 1906, William Pope.L. Courtesy of Steve Turner and the Artist; Tour People, 2005, William Pope.L. Courtesy of the Artist © Pope.L; Failure Drawing #301, NYU/Napkin, Rocket Crash, William Pope.L. Courtesy of the Artist © Pope.L.


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