The Metropolitan Museum of Art website

Thomas J. Watson Library

The Libraries of The Metropolitan Museum of Art

  • Library Blog: In Circulation

    In Circulation

    In Circulation features in-depth articles and the latest news about the Museum Libraries' wide range of research activities and comprehensive collection of books, periodicals, electronic resources, and ephemera related to the history of art.

Filed under: Research

Met Pub Connections

Test the beta version of Met Pub Connections. This tool allows you to search for the recurrence of words over time across the corpus of Metropolitan Museum of Art publications, providing researchers with a new lens through which to view this collection. Beyond just keyword searching, this tool aspires to makes sense of this otherwise overwhelming data set by visualizing how often a word occurs over an almost 150 year period.

You can search for artists’ names, geographical terms, places, art historical terms, and more. Met Pub Connections will then allow you to see how often the word occurs in Met Publications from 1870 (when The Met was founded) to 2012 (approximately – copyright doesn’t allow us to make newer titles searchable). For instance, here is the search result for the now obsolete term “primitive”:

See how its usage diminishes over time?

You can also search for more than one word at a time, as in the below example where the artists “Rembrandt” and [Frans] “Hals” were searched:

Do you see how Rembrandt is still mentioned quite often, whereas mention of Hals has all but disappeared?

In the following example, four different countries (Italy, France, Germany, and Peru) are searched:

Considering The Met’s extensive holdings in European art, it is not surprising to see Italy, France, and Germany more frequently mentioned over time than Peru. In 2004, however, you’ll notice a small spike in Peru, and by using this tool (as illustrated below) you can discover why:

If you hover over any line in the graph, you can click a year and the URLs for the “top search results” from that year will appear.* You can then follow the URL to our online catalog record, which contains a link to the book in our Digital Collections. In this case, it will take you to the 2004 exhibition catalog The Colonial Andes: Tapestries and Silverwork, 1530-1830, a nearly 400 page work that is fully digitized and available for free on our website. This catalog contains 561 mentions of Peru, which is why you see that spike in 2004. These sorts of discoveries are what this powerful data visualization tool makes possible.

These are just a few examples of the types of searches one can do with this tool. Try it out for yourself and see what sort of discoveries you can make.

* Some years no “top search results” appear because no work has significantly more mentions of a term than any other.

Please note that this is a beta version. Should you encounter any bugs, glitches, lack of functionality or other problems while using this tool, please let us know so we can look into rectifying them. Your help in this regard is greatly appreciated. Please provide any feedback to William.Blueher@metmuseum.org

This project was part of a practicum project done by Simen Kot, a graduate student at Pratt Institute’s School of Information, with the assistance and supervision of librarians Alan Behler and William Blueher. It was initially launched to library staff in August, 2016. Any subsequent updates will be noted.

Last updated: Jan. 30, 2017