Art historians, critics, curators, humanities scholars and many others rely on the records of artists, galleries, museums, and arts organizations to conduct historical research and to understand and contextualize contemporary artistic practice. Currently, much of the art-related materials that were once published in print form are now available primarily or solely on the web and are thus ephemeral by nature. Without a sustained, coordinated approach to archiving this web-based art material, a significant portion of this content is at risk of disappearing.

The Internet Archive and the New York Art Resources Consortium (NYARC), with generous funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), have embarked on a collaborative project aimed at capturing and preserving at-risk web-based art materials. The project, Collaborative ART Archive (CARTA), facilitates the development of a collaborative entity of art libraries building collections of archived web-based content related to art history and contemporary art practice. Through this consortial approach, the project will leverage shared infrastructure, expertise and collecting activities amongst participating organizations, scaling the extent of web-published, born-digital materials preserved and accessible for art scholarship and research. CARTA member organizations identify and nominate websites within the scope of eight (8) collection topics, including: Art Criticism; Art Fairs and Events; Art Galleries; Art History/Scholarship; Artists Websites; Arts Education; Arts Organizations; and Auction Houses.

The goals are to promote streamlined access to art reference and research resources, enable new types of scholarly use for art-related materials, and ensure that the art historical record of the 21st century is readily accessible far into the future.

Learn more about the initiative from our Frequently Asked Questions

Diagram of web crawling workflow