Title:Online scholarly catalogues: Data and insights from OSCI
Authors:Laura Mann
Publication:MW2016: Museums and the Web 2016

In 2009, the Getty Foundation launched the Online Scholarly Catalogue Initiative (OSCI;, a landmark initiative to help museums make the transition from printed volumes to online publications. The OSCI initiative was completed in 2015, and the eight museums of the OSCI consortium have produced a diverse body of online scholarly catalogues (select catalogues are listed at

Importantly, we also now have an initial understanding of the reach and impact of these new publications. The Walker Art Center and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art have completed formal evaluations of their OSCI projects, which provide a rich body of evidence about how the catalogues are actually being used.

The paper will explore the reach and impact of online scholarly publications and provide data and insights framed for the museum community at large:
• Who is using online scholarly catalogues?
• How are the catalogues being used?
• What does the Web environment offer that makes online catalogues more useful?
• How are the catalogues perceived by the target audience of scholars, art historians, and curators?
• What are the drivers and barriers to the success of online scholarly publications?

The research findings underscore the enormous potential for online scholarly publications, and even the opportunity for online catalogues to support new forms of scholarship and unique intersections between the museums and academic community. But they also reveal practical barriers to success and larger concerns around issues of permanence and status that are relevant to all museums exploring digital publishing.