American Art Review Study Project

Volumes XI through XVI

Volunteer Information - Related catalogue essays


At the beginning or end of the American Art Review text there may be a note indicating that it is a condensation or excerpt from a catalogue essay. Often there is no clear indication of whether the American Art Review text is an original article or essay, a condensation, or a reprint of an essay. In instances where an American Art Review article is found by the vounteer to be a severe condensation or excerpt of a catalogue essay, the volunteer and TFAO may agree that the greatest value to the public would be for the volunteer to seek the value derived from reprinting of the original essay. An underlying essay may offer significantly greater knowledge than is contained in the related American Art Review text.

The pursuit of approvals for reprinting of related catalogue essays in substitution for pursuing approvals for reprinting of American Art Review articles or in addition to the articles will be by agreement between the volunteer and TFAO on a case by case basis.


there is additional reason for the volunteer to discuss pursuit of the underlying essay.


Determining ownership

The museum noted in the American Art Review text may not be the organizing museum. Organizing museums often own the copyrights to catalogue essays from which American Art Review texts are derived. In other cases copyrights are owned or co-owned by commercial or university presses.

Pursuit of permissions from smaller museums holding sole copyrights has proved fruitful in many instances. Seeking permissions or co-permissions from larger museums, university presses or commercial presses is of less interest. Google, Amazon and other firms are making arrangements with commercial and university presses to scan their books in whole and make available on the Web finite portions through keyword search. This facility is of great use to students and teachers who may need to read only excerpts. It partially negates the utility of TFAO republishing online essays from those books. The prospect of online redundance is a reason why republishing approval of an essay in a catalogue owned or co-owned by larger copyright holders is not usually pursued. On the other hand, books out of print with topics of narrow interest, with copyrights for those books held by smaller museums, may be of interest to TFAO's audience but of lesser interest to Google and Amazon for the time being.

Calls made to museums to determine the ownership of a catalogue essay can take several paths. Often a call to the museum librarian will solve essay ownership. The librarian will pull the catalogue from the shelf and look for the copyright legend at the front of the catalogue. If there is no librarian, a call to the exhibit's curator or the current curator will usually produce the answer. Contact with authors many times solves the question of copyright ownership of a catalogue essay.


Verbal synopsis and review

Before obtaining a catalogue or a copy for review, TFAO recommends that the volunteer obtain a verbal synopsis from a representative of the organizing museum of the catalogue's contents and then confer with TFAO on the preliminary findings. This discussion between the volunteer and TFAO can be done by email.

The volunteer can often sense from conversations with museum staff members whether catalogue essays are of markedly greater value than the American Art Review articles and can obtain an estimate of the word count of the essays.

Conversation with the author of an American Art Review article can also reveal whether or not an underlying essay is markedly more comprehensive than the article.

Before contacting owners of essays for permissions the volunteer should read Scholarly texts regarding essays owned by museums and Scholarly texts regarding essays owned by private sources. These pages describe not only the benefits of reprinting in Resource Library, but also provide copyright owners assurances on the protection of their copyrights.


Copyright owner approvals

If the museum solely owns the essay in a catalogue and permits TFAO to reprint the whole essay, the volunteer will obtain the approval in writing by email. If the museum owns the essay and permits TFAO to reprint a catalog essay, but feels that an author may have an interest in the essay, or wants the volunteer to make a courtesy call to the author, the volunteer will ask the author for permission to republish the catalog essay. If the author says yes, the volunteer will obtain the additional approval in writing by email.


Sections of essays

Major parts of very large essays may be acceptable for reprinting of a selective basis if the museum does not want the entire essay republished. Some essays are tens of thousands of words long. TFAO and the volunteer will confer about these special cases.


Multiple essays

If the catalogue has multiple essays, in some instances it may be worthwhile to reprint more than one of them. TFAO and the volunteer will confer about these special cases


Essay requirements

All essays must contain a minimum of 650 words covering the topic of the submission, excluding "boilerplate" text describing the source's address, hours of operation, fees, etc. Acknowledgments, forewords, indexes, checklists and image captions may qualify as approved texts. Images are excluded. There is no upper limit on word count.


Sample letters

TFAO has sample letters regarding essays which may be of use to volunteers.


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