Artist Files Bibliography

The following is a selection of resources relating to artist files that our SIG has gathered. If you have suggestions for additional resources, please contact a SIG coordinator.

Online Collections

Archives of American Art

Art and Artist Files in the Smithsonian Libraries’ Collections

Artists in Canada

ARTstor (subscription required)

Los Angeles as Subject

NYPL Digital Gallery

Utah Artists Project (part of the Mountain West Digital Library)

Microform Collections

New York Public Library. Artist Files on Microfiche. Alexandria, VA: Chadwyck-Healey, Inc., 1989.

Museum of Modern Art Library. Artists Files on Microfiche. Alexandria, VA: Chadwyck-Healey, Inc., 1986.

Museum of Modern Art Library. Artists Scrapbooks. Alexandria, VA: Chadwyck-Healey Inc., 1986.

Catalogs, Indexes, Guides, and Directories

Archives of American Art

Archives of Women Artists

Bibliography of German Expressionism: Catalog of the Library of the Robert Gore Rifkind Center for German Expressionist Studies at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Boston: G.K. Hall, 1990.

Campbell, Cyndie and Sylvie Roy. Artists in Canada: A Union List of Artists’ Files = Artistes au Canada: Une Liste Collective des Dossiers d’Artistes. Ottawa: National Gallery of Canada, Library and Archives = Musée des beaux-arts du Canada, Bibliothèque et archives, 1999.

Cohen, William K. Art of Our Time in Southern California: A Guide to the Documentation of Contemporary Art. New York: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1986.

Directory of Vertical File Collections on Art and Architecture Represented by ARLIS Montreal/Ottawa/Quebec. Monteal: ARLIS M/O/Q, 1989.

Smithsonian American Art and Portrait Gallery Library Artist Files Description and Selection Criteria

Women Artist Archives National Directory (WAAND)

Centers and Societies for Ephemera Research

Centre for Ephemera Studies, University of Reading, England

The Ephemera Society (U.K.)

The Ephemera Society of America, Inc.


From Here to Ephemerality: Fugitive Sources in Libraries, Archives, and Museums (Rare Books and Manuscripts Section of the Association of College and Research Libraries, a division of the American Libraries Association; 48th RMBS Preconference, June 19 – 22, 2007, in Baltimore, MD.)

Buried Treasure: Artist Files in the Digital Age (session summary)
(ARLIS/NA 30th / VRA 20th Joint Conference, St. Louis, Missouri – March 25, 2002)


Biblio. (ISSN: 1087-5581) Eugene, Or.: Aster Pub. Corp., 1996-1999.

Ephemera Journal. (ISSN: 1543-4990) (Hillsboro, NH): Ephemera Society of America, 1987-

RBM: A Journal of Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Cultural Heritage. (ISSN: 1529-6407) Chicago, IL: Association of College and Research Libraries, 2000-


American Antiquarian Society. (2002). Ephemera at the American Antiquarian Society. Retrieved 7 November, 2003, from

Archer, B. “Tools of the Trade: Cataloguing Trade Literature.” Art Libraries Journal, 26, no. 2 (2001): 25-28.

Artist Files Working Group, ARLIS/NA. Artist Files Revealed: Documentation and Access. Art Libraries Society of North America, 2009, 2010, p. 3.

Automating Newspaper Clippings Files: A Practical Guide by members of the Newspaper Division, Special Libraries Association. Washington, DC: The Association, 1987.

Baxter, Paula. “North American Vertical File Database: Dream or Possibility.” Art Documentation 14, no. 1 (Spring 1995): 3-4.

Berger, Marilyn. “Automation of a Vertical File Collection.” Art Documentation 14, no. 1 (Spring 1995): 5-7.

Bichteler, Julie. “Geologists and Gray Literature: Access, Use, and Problems.” Science & Technology Libraries (ISSN 0194-262x) 11 (Spring 1991): 39-50.

Bodleian Library. The John Johnson Collection: Catalogue of an Exhibition. Oxford: Bodleian Library, 1971.

Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals. Working Party on Ephemera. (2003, January). Ephemera: The stuff of history. Retrieved 8 November, 2003, from

Clinton, A. Printed ephemera: Collection, organization, and access. London: Bingley, 1981.

Deutch, Samantha, and Sally McKay. “The Future of Artist Files: Here Today, Gone Tomorrow.” Art Documentation 35, no. 1 (Spring 2016): 27-42.

Docampo, J., and R. L. Prado. “Are the latest exhibition ephemera available? Problems and solutions for a neglected material in museum libraries.” Art Libraries Journal, 26, no. 2 (2001): 29- 37.

Duncan, Samantha and Katherine Kalsbeek. (2003). Cataloging Ephemera: Records of the Past. Retrieved March 26, 2008, from

Ford, Margaret Crocker. “Capturing Ephemera.” In Art Museum Libraries and Librarianship, edited by Joan M. Benedetti, 247-252. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press: In association with Art Libraries Society of North America, 2007.

Greenberg, J. (1996). “Subject control of ephemera: MARC format options.” Popular Culture in Libraries, 4(1), 71-91.

Hadley, N. “Access and description of visual ephemera.” Collection Management, 25, no. 4 (2001): 39-50.

Holcombe, E. A. Difficult to find and keep: Providing access to ephemera. (2001) Retrieved 17 October, 2003, from

Hughston, Milan. “Preserving the Ephemeral: New Access to Artists’ Files, Vertical Files and Scrapbooks.” Art Documentation 9, no. 4 (Winter 1990): 179-181.

J. Paul Getty Trust. Art & Architecture Thesaurus ® Online.

Kai Alexis Smith, “Digitizing Ephemera Reloaded: A Digitization Plan for an Art Museum Library,” Art Documentation 35, no. 2 (Fall 2016) (FYI: Kai was an intern at the National Gallery working on e-access to vertical file collections and had to develop a digitization plan. There’s a related publication and poster from DC conference on her website: see

Kent C. Boese, Art Ephemera: Relics of the Past, or Treasures for Posterity?  ART DOCUMENTATION 25, no. 1 (Spring 2006), 34-7

Koot, Roman, and Klawa Koppenol. “From Marginal to Mainstream: Art Ephemera as Research Material at the RKD.” Art Documentation 35, no. 1 (Spring 2016): 43-56.

Kronenfeld, Michael, and Louis Howley. “Theory and Implementation of an Automated Vertical File.” Readers’ Quarterly no. 3 (Spring 1994): 387-394.

Lawes, Elizabeth and Vicky Webb, “Ephemera in the art library.” Art Libraries Journal, (2003, 28:2): 35-39.

Lewis, John. Collecting printed ephemera: a background to social habits and social history, to eating and drinking, to travel and heritage, and just for fun. London: Studio Vista, 1976.

Library of Congress. (2002). American Memory: An American Time Capsule: Three centuries of broadsides and other printed ephemera. Retrieved 7 November, 2003, from

Luzi, Daniela, and Paola Molinas. “La catalogazione della letturatura grigia.” (Cataloging of gray literature). Bollettino d’informazioni (Associazione italiana biblioteche) (ISSN 0004-5934) 27 (luglio-dic. 1987): 325-344.

Makepeace, Chris E. Ephemera: A Book on its Collection, Conservation, and Use. Aldershot, Hants.; Brookfield, VT: Gower, 1985.

Phillpot, Clive. “Flies in the Files: Ephemera in the Art Library.” Art Documentation 14, no. 1 (Spring 1995): 13-14.

Posnett, N. W. “Factors Affecting the Accessibility of Nonconventional Literature for Use in the United Kingdom, and Some Possible Solutions.” Library Acquisitions (ISSN 0364-6408) 8, no. 4 (1984): 275-285.

Program for Cooperative Cataloging, The Library of Congress. “Collections: BIBCO Core Record Standards.” Last updated July 13, 2005.

Rickards, Maurice. This is ephemera: collecting printed throwaways. Brattleboro, Vt.: Gossamer Press, 1977.

Rickards, Maurice. Collecting Printed Ephemera. Oxford: Phaidon, 1988.

Rickards, Maurice. The Encyclopedia of Ephemera: A Guide to the Fragmentary Documents of Everyday Life for the Collector, Curator, and Historian. New York: Routledge, 2001.

RLG Art and Architecture Group. “’Inaccessible Domain’ Materials Working Group Report.” Last updated March, 1997.

Rominski, Barbara, “Ephemera in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Research Library.” In Art Museum Libraries and Librarianship, edited by Joan M. Benedetti, 253-258. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press: (In association with) Art Libraries Society of North America, 2007.

Roylance, Dale. Graphic Americana: the art and technique of printed ephemera from abecedaires to zoetropes. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Library, 1992.

Rugoff, Ralph, et al. Extra Art: a Survey of Artists’ Ephemera, 1960-1999. Santa Monica : Smart Art Press, 2001.

Sitter, Clara Loewen. The Vertical File and its Alternatives: A Handbook. Englewood, CO: Libraries Unlimited, 1992.

Simmons, Anne H. “Viewpoint: FOMO Case Studies: Loss, Discovery and Inspiration among Relics.” Art Libraries Journal 41, no. 2 (2016): 72-76. Note: Art ephemera is the theme of this issue.

Slania, Heather. “Online Art Ephemera: Web Archiving at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.” Art Documentation 32, No. 1 (Spring 2013): 112-126.

Spencer, Michael D.G. Readings on the Vertical File. Englewood, Colo.: Libraries Unlimited, 1993.

Starr, Daniel. “Cataloging Artist Files: One Library’s Approach to Providing Integrated Access to Ephemeral Material.” Conference Proceedings of the 66th IFLA Council and General Conference, Jerusalem, Israel 13-18 August, 2000. Last update May 23, 2000.

Still, Julie. “The Vertical File in Academic Libraries.” Show-me Libraries 39, no. 4 (Spring 1988): 36.

Stone, R. (1997). Junk as heritage: The collecting of printed ephemera on a national scale. Retrieved 6 November, 2003, from

Trepanier, Peter. “The Artists in Canada Reference Database: Revised, Updated and Enlarged.” Art Documentation 14, no. 1 (Spring 1995): 9-11.

Urbanski, Verna and Bao Chu Chang, Bernard L. Karon, Edward Swanson. “Cataloging unpublished nonprint materials: a manual of suggestions, comments, and examples.” Lake Crystal, Minn.: Soldier Creek Press, 1992.

Wasserman, Sharon, “The Archives of Women Artists at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.” In Art Museum Libraries and Librarianship, edited by Joan M. Benedetti, 259-263. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press: (In association with) Art Libraries Society of North America, 2007.

Wilson, Terrie L. and Erika Dowell. “Today’s Ephemera, Tomorrow’s Historical Documentation: Access Options for Artists Files” Journal of Library Administration (ISSN: 0193-0826) v. 39, no. 2/3 (2003): 43-60.

Wismer, Maja, et al. “Ephemera. Invitation cards, press releases, inserts and other forms of artistic (self-)marketing.” On Curating, issue 27 (Dec. 2015). Retrieved 22 May 2017 from

Wrighting, Andrew. “Cataloguing Ephemera: A Student’s Project.” Catalogue & Index (ISSN 0008-7629) v. 76-77 (Spring-Summer 1985): 15-16.

Zietz, S. J. (1992). “Ephemera: MARC-formatted cataloging records.” Rare Books & Manuscripts Librarianship, 7(2), 152-159.