Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Portal?
The Getty Research Portal is a free online platform providing global access to digitized art history texts including rare books, journals, auction and exhibition catalogs, and foundational literature. The Portal is comprised of catalog records that link to full, digitized titles hosted by the contributing institutions or their service providers.

What kinds of texts are included in the Portal?
The Portal offers access to digitized resources for the printed literature of art history. Utilizing several important art history bibliographies to establish an initial framework, the Portal provides a wide range of texts on art, architecture, archeology, material culture, and related fields. A sampling of its range includes but is not limited to treatises on art and architecture; dictionaries and manuals of art; emblem books; festival books; travel journals and guidebooks; cultural histories; auction catalogs; exhibition catalogs; collection guides and inventories; artist biographies; artist monographs; artist books; books with original illustrations (and photographs); and texts on aesthetics as well as on the history, theory, and criticism of art.

Are all of the texts accessible through the Portal in the public domain?
No. Some contributing institutions are providing access to texts for which they own the copyright or have permission from the copyright owner to make available under specific terms of use. It is important to read the Terms of Use at each of the websites where the digitized texts are hosted.

Does the Portal provide access to more than one copy of the same text?
When more than one institution has contributed the same text, a Portal search will return a record for each copy. Additionally, because the metadata is in the language used by the contributing institution, a search may yield multilingual results. Lastly, a Portal search may return multiple editions of a title from various contributors, which may be beneficial for comparative research purposes.

Does the Portal offer any other features?
The Portal currently allows for the export of data as an RIS file. The Portal will also eventually include tools for annotating and sharing digitized texts and for linking to images, as well as other tools useful to researchers and art historians.

Given the wide range of search services offered to scholars, why do we need the Portal?
The Portal is an authoritative, worldwide resource that provides consolidated, multilingual access to art history texts, rare books, and related literature without restriction. The Portal texts are free, downloadable, and digitized in their entirety according to national and international standards. Since cataloging is done by the libraries that own the physical books, the records are authoritative. As an added benefit, libraries planning to digitize their art history texts can consult the Portal to see what has already been digitized.

Can I do a full-text search across all of the books in the Portal?
At present, an initial search includes only catalog records, not the full text of the books. However, once a user clicks through to a book, a complete search is possible if the contributing institution offers full-text searching.

What is the history of the Portal?
In March 2011, the Samuel H. Kress Foundation funded a two-day meeting at the Getty Research Institute to explore the scope and services of a proposed union catalog of digitized texts. The Institut national d'histoire de l'art (INHA) in Paris hosted a second meeting in October 2011. Staff members from the Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library at Columbia University, the Frick Art Reference Library, the Getty Research Institute, the Heidelberg University Library, and the INHA comprised the initial working group.

How can institutions contribute to the Portal?
Contributions are welcome from institutions seeking to make their digitized texts more accessible to users worldwide. To begin the process, please read the Guidelines for Contributions.

How often is the Portal updated?
The Portal is updated as soon as new contributions have been reviewed and processed. Books digitized by the Getty Research Institute are added to the Portal on a weekly basis; records from other contributors are loaded quarterly when there are new titles to add.

Who supports the Portal?
The direct costs of the Portal are funded by the Getty Research Institute. The system architecture was developed and initiated by the Getty, which also hosts the site, receives and processes new contributions, and provides project administration. Contributing institutions provide catalog records and staff time for preparing contributions.

Is there a Getty Research Portal advisory group?
An advisory committee comprised of representatives from several participating institutions meets periodically to provide guidance on the project. Scholars and researchers are also consulted for their input on content and usability.

Can a request be made for a Getty Research Institute title to be added to the Portal?
If a title is in the Getty Research Institute's collection and out of copyright, it may be digitized. Please contact for digitization requests or suggestions.

For more information or if you have a question about the Portal that is not listed here, please contact