Do you know about Google Custom? It’s a great feature that allows you to focus your Google searching across exactly the websites you want. Of course it’s really cool for personal use, but MSEL has used it to facilitate art history research.
Found on the Art History Research Guide, the Google Custom search engine – called Art Museum Search – includes over 500 art museum websites spanning North America and Europe. Why is this a good thing? An increasing number of museum professionals are putting scholarly information on their museums’ sites, such as encyclopedic essays, timelines, extensive bibliographies, and quality images of art and cultural objects – including accurate descriptive information about those objects, which is a rarity among general Internet search results.
For example, if you search “Van Gogh,” you can see all sorts of information about current, past, and forthcoming exhibitions. You can also often see museums’ permanent holdings of Van Gogh’s work, essays about his life, and lists of books and journal articles about him and his work.
By setting up this Google Custom search, we’ve cut out some of the guess-work involved when trying to make sense of general Google search results. These museum materials are a fantastic supplement to the scholarly materials you’ll find in Catalyst and all the other research databases we subscribe to and feature on the Art History Research Guide.