It’s hard to believe that less than 20 years ago the Art Institute kept track of its permanent collection on index cards. That means that for each of our more than 260,000 artworks, we kept track of titles, artists, media, dates, publication information, exhibition history, provenance, location, etc., etc. on little sheets of paper. Thankfully, we have come a long way since that time.
Now, we use an internal tool, called CITI (see above), which supports the management of all this collection information. It also serves as a tool managing incoming and outgoing loans for exhibitions and agreements with other museums. CITI had its genesis back in the early ‘90s and from the start, the project has been a custom development conceived of and built internally. In 2002, CITI made a significant upgrade to include images associated with artworks. In recent years, CITI has been integral in allowing the museum to publish information in various formats to the Web. CITI also serves as the single source for electronic publishing of collection information. This means that the Collections page on our web site and other online resources, such as Pathfinder and Curious Corner, are all powered through one source and kept up to date.
We’re always working on new ways to bring more information about our collections to you. Stay tuned for some exciting announcements of new web tools in March.