Resource Library: Overview
Resource Library is an online publication of Traditional Fine Arts Organization (TFAO), a non-profit organization. Provided to the public without charge, Resource Library is the world's most comprehensive publication devoted to American representational art. The TFAO Free Online Digital Library permanently archives Resource Library's published articles and essays.
Resource Library includes aspects of both a scholarly journal and a popular magazine. Maintaining a balance between both emphases, it offers an interconnected body of knowledge including:
The content time line spans the pre-Colonial period to the present and covers significant artistic and critical achievement in every state in the United States.
Resource Library contains articles and scholarly essays by acclaimed authors plus other texts and related images provided mainly by nonprofit art museums, galleries and art centers and academies, associations, ateliers and societies. To access thousands of texts published online in Resource Library, please see the chronological index and American Representational Art, a TFAO Catalogue. Pages on services to institutions and scholarly text from private sources describe how the publication serves both the public and its sources of materials.
Institutions often send to Resource Library much more information than usually sent to media organizations. They may send new or previously published essays, blog texts, magazine articles, gallery guide texts, wall panel and labels texts, audio tour scripts and checklists. Materials relating to exhibitions published in Resource Library often include elements infrequently published either online or on paper, thereby providing to scholars, teachers, students, collectors, art dealers and other individuals throughout the world a wide spectrum of knowledge concerning TFAO's field of interest.
Texts and images from institutions are usually sent to Resource Library by staff members including curators, executive directors and media relations personnel. Certain texts not attributed to an author -- such as gallery guide texts, wall panel and labels texts, audio tour scripts and checklists -- are usually written by exhibition curators. News releases are usually written by media relations staff, who gather information from curators before composing the releases. See descriptive information on staff positions and definitions in TFAO's Museums Explained. Less frequently, news releases are written by media relations firms retained by nonprofit organizations. Resource Library does not inject its own critique or opinions into published texts.
As of 2013 Resource Library contains 1,300+ articles and essays written by hundreds of authors, thousands of other texts, plus over 21,000 images, all providing educational and informational content of exceptional quality. Every day, thousands of individuals from all corners of the globe access the publication. Readership information is included in TFAO's rankings and usage page.
Resource Library is 100% funded by TFAO. The publication contains no advertising. For more information see How Resource Library differs from paper-printed art publications.
TFAO has no earned income and is supported solely by donations.
Prior to August 1, 2004 the publication was named Resource Library Magazine, founded in 1997 by a commercial entity named Traditional Fine Art Online, Inc. Resource Library Magazine accepted advertising for partial support. Resource Library Magazine was acquired by TFAO on August 16, 2003 from Traditional Fine Art Online, Inc.
Initially, Resource Library Magazine published mostly exhibition articles based on news releases and publicity images. Articles by columnists, plus occasional essays, artist biographies, and articles about museums were added incrementally. An early editorial policy was to publish articles on as many exhibitions as possible to provide encyclopedic coverage. Those articles were usually short, many times under 200-300 words in length. For traveling exhibitions the publication often published multiple articles based on information provided by the various venues. The reason for multiples was to provide non-repetitive information from each venue that would cumulatively provide a broader perspective. Resource Library Magazine also maintained a record of contemporaneous museum exhibitions throughout the United States by publication of a national calendar of exhibitions.
In 1999 Resource Library Magazine began focusing more attention to scholarly texts relating to museum exhibitions. Copyright holders of essays within catalogues accompanying selected exhibitions began to be contacted regarding permission to reprint the essays. Resource Library Magazine also began in 1999 to contact museums, other non-profit organizations and commercial publishers for permission to republish essays and articles from prior years. These inquiries led to republishing of articles and essays written as early as the beginning of the 20th century.
By the time Resource Library Magazine was renamed Resource Library in 2004, editorial policy was evolving in new directions. Columns with bylines were phased out in 2003. Articles about individual museums and their key employees were mostly discontinued by 2004. Starting in the mid-2000s, the publication began favoring longer articles on fewer exhibitions. Minimum article lengths were instituted, increasing over time. As of 2011 the minimum size of an exhibition article lengthened to 650-700 words, exclusive of information about the venue or organizer. The practice of publishing multiple articles on traveling exhibitions declined in favor of providing to readers one article on an exhibition with ancillary texts such as wall panels, object labels and checklists.
As the volume of articles and essays grew on America's most venerated artists and locales, Resource Library modified its editorial direction in order to fill in gaps in aspects of the American representational arts experience. Increased attention was made to texts and images that strengthened coverage of numerous topics. Emphasis was reduced for artists, topics and locales most favored in exhibitions. Other restrictions were made on acceptable texts.
Resource Library editor's notes at the end of articles and essays broadened over time to include reference to related information that might be of interest to readers. As TFAO catalogues developed to include a spectrum of media, materials in them were referenced through the editor's notes. Resource Library now informs readers about related information from all forms of media.
In future years Resource Library plans to publish fewer articles and essays relating to museum exhibitions than in earlier years. Greater emphasis will be placed on greater breadth and depth of materials published for selected exhibitions. Why? Resource Library and other online sources have amassed considerable information for many artists and topics. Since many museums continue to provide exhibitions relating to artists and topics already covered in depth online, publication of information on those exhibitions will not add enough incremental knowledge to warrant further online publication. TFAO will instead seek knowledge in areas not yet sufficiently developed online. See the acquisition and deselection of content page in the TFAO Free Online Digital Library section for related information.
Library of Congress Number: ISSN 1550-8420
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Copyright 2003-2013 Traditional Fine Arts Organization, Inc., an Arizona nonprofit corporation. All rights reserved.