American Art Review Study Project

Contractor Relationship Information - Related catalogue essays


At the beginning or end of the American Art Review text there may be a note indicating that it is a condensation or excerpt from a catalogue essay. Often there is no clear indication of whether the American Art Review text is an original article or essay, a condensation, or a reprint of an essay. In instances where an American Art Review article is found by the contractor to be a severe condensation or excerpt of a catalogue essay, the contractor and TFAO may agree that the greatest value to the public would be for the contractor to seek the value derived from reprinting of the original essay. An underlying essay may offer significantly greater knowledge than is contained in the related American Art Review text.

The pursuit of approvals for reprinting of related catalogue essays in substitution for pursuing approvals for reprinting of American Art Review articles or in addition to the articles will be by agreement between the contractor and TFAO on a case by case basis.


there is additional reason for the contractor to discuss pursuit of the underlying essay.


Determining ownership

The museum noted in the American Art Review text may not be the organizing museum. Organizing museums often own the copyrights to catalogue essays from which American Art Review texts are derived. In other cases copyrights are owned or co-owned by commercial or university presses.

Pursuit of permissions from smaller museums has proved fruitful in some instances Seeking permissions or co-permissions from larger museums, university presses or commercial presses has usually not proved fruitful. Google's Book Search and other firms are making arrangements with commercial and university presses to scan their books in whole and make available on the Web finite portions through keyword search. This facility is of great use to students and teachers who may need to read only excerpts and partially negates the utility of TFAO reprinting essays from those books. The prospect of redundance is another reason why if an essay in a catalogue is owned or co-owned by a commercial or university press, approval of that text is not usually pursued.

Calls made to museums to determine the ownership of a catalogue essay can take several paths. Often a call to the museum librarian will solve essay ownership. The librarian will pull the catalogue from the shelf and look for the copyright legend at the front of the catalogue. If there is no librarian, a call to the exhibit's curator or the current curator will usually produce the answer. Contact with authors many times solves the question of copyright ownership of a catalogue essay.


Verbal synopsis and review

Before obtaining a catalogue or a copy for review, TFAO recommends that the contractor obtain a verbal synopsis from a representative of the organizing museum of the catalogue's contents and then confer with TFAO on the preliminary findings. This discussion between the contractor and TFAO can be done by email.

The contractor can often sense from conversations with museum staff members whether catalogue essays are of markedly greater value than the American Art Review articles and can obtain an estimate of the word count of the essays.

Conversation with the author of an American Art Review article can also reveal whether or not an underlying essay is markedly more comprehensive than the article.

When discussing the contents of a catalogue, the physical presentation of the text needs also to be covered to make sure that the page size will fit the contractor's scanner and that the colors of the words and background will be acceptable for scanning. Black ink on white paper is best. Variations from this combination can result in the proofreading process being too tedious due to increased character recognition errors by the OCR software.


Obtaining the catalogue or a copy for review

Once ownership is known and the type of ownership proves positive for further pursuit, the contractor needs to obtain a copy of the catalogue for study of the essays in it. The contractor will either obtain directly from the museum a catalogue as a gift, or obtain a copy by inter-library loan through the contractor's local library, or a photocopy from the museum. Older catalogues are often in short supply for gifts, so an inter-library loan or photocopy may be needed. Sometimes museums are sloppy in their photocopying, so access to a catalogue is best. TFAO suggests that contractors ask that photocopies of essay pages be made with pages pressed flat on the copier so that the lines of text are not distorted near the spine of the book. The contractor should avoid promising to ship catalogues back to museums because of the time and expense involved. TFAO will not take possession of a catalogue or a photocopy of it.

After the contractor studies the essay (or essays) in the catalogue and finds substantially greater value to readers than the American Art Review article, the contractor sends an email to TFAO explaining the value proposition and proposing an agreement on the part of TFAO and the contractor for conditional compensation regarding each essay. Exploratory work on the part of the contractor up to this point is at the contractor's expense.

The agreement for each essay will be similar in nature to the agreement for an American Art Review article with completed packages paid for by TFAO.

Before contacting owners of essays for permissions the contractor should read Scholarly texts regarding essays owned by museums and Scholarly texts regarding essays owned by private sources. These pages describe not only the benefits of reprinting in Resource Library, but also provide copyright owners assurances on the protection of their copyrights.


Copyright owner approvals

If the museum solely owns the essay in a catalogue and permits TFAO to reprint the whole essay, the contractor will obtain the approval in writing by email. If the museum owns the essay and permits TFAO to reprint a catalog essay, but feels that an author may have an interest in the essay, or wants the contractor to make a courtesy call to the author, the contractor will ask the author for permission to reprint the catalog essay. If the author says yes, the contractor will obtain the additional approval in writing by email.


Sections of essays

Major parts of very large essays may be acceptable for reprinting of a selective basis if the museum does not want the entire essay republished. Some essays are tens of thousands of words long. TFAO and the contractor will confer about these special cases.


Multiple essays

If the catalogue has multiple essays, in some instances it may be worthwhile to reprint more than one of them. TFAO and the contractor will confer about these special cases


Essay requirements

All essays must contain a minimum of 600 words covering the topic of the submission, excluding "boilerplate" text describing the source's address, hours of operation, fees, etc. Acknowledgments, forewords, indexes, checklists and image captions are not included as approved texts. Images are excluded. There is no upper limit on word count.


Sample letters

TFAO has sample letters regarding essays which may be of use to contractors.


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