In 2009, the Getty Foundation launched its Online Scholarly Catalogue Initiative (OSCI) to explore the possibilities of presenting collection research in new ways. It brought together a consortium of nine museums, including the Art Institute of Chicago, to develop sustainable and replicable models for online scholarly collection catalogues and assess how a change in the way museums think about publishing might impact institutional structures. As a result of the initiative, the Art Institute published its first two groundbreaking digital scholarly catalogues, on Monet and Renoir. Following this effort, the Art Institute received further funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to publish several more catalogues, and we continue to publish online with support from additional funders, including the Luce Foundation and the Lunder Foundation, among other generous donors. This support has allowed us to publish ten catalogues to date, with others in progress.
The very definition of an online scholarly publication suggests accessibility and functionalities beyond print—a complex and groundbreaking endeavor entailing many challenges and opportunities. In developing these catalogues, we have produced publications that embrace the new, exciting digital world without leaving behind the heft and authority conventionally ascribed to the printed book. To this end, we strive to make the digital format familiar or comfortable enough for readers so that our catalogues can find a place among both scholars and a wider range of users who come across the catalogues on our website.