The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Watson Library recently launched the Index of African American Artists to increase discoverability of the library’s holdings by and about Black artists. This public-facing research aid includes artists of African descent who have lived, worked, or studied in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean that are represented in exhibition catalogs, monographs, and other publications in The Met libraries.
As part of a yearlong fellowship at Watson Library, Pratt classmate Vella Voynova and I provided research assistance on the project that will enhance the biographical information and search features of the Index. In particular, we’ve contributed to the development of a vocabulary that will allow users to search by artists working in a particular medium(s), based on the Getty’s Union List of Artist Names role types. This presentation describes approaches, issues encountered, and sources used for this research.