In 1963, Worldwide Books began publishing The Worldwide Art Catalogue Bulletin, a quarterly journal that documented exhibition catalogues newly selected for inclusion in the Worldwide Books Approval Plan Program. Each issue featured bibliographic records and brief abstracts describing some 200 catalogues produced by museums and galleries throughout the world, with the entries arranged geographically.
When the Bulletin first appeared, it had an annual subscription price of just $20 and was the only periodical devoted exclusively to documenting museum and gallery publications. Although the journal also served as Worldwide's sales catalogue, many library subscribers chose to bind the quarterly issues and annual indexes, recognizing the permanent value of the abstracts for researchers. Published from 1963 to 1987, the Bulletin ultimately served to document some 17,500 exhibition catalogues.
The bibliographic records that appeared in the Bulletin are themselves now included on our Web site (where every title we have ever chosen for inclusion in our Approval Plan Program remains listed permanently for reference purposes) and still reference the Bulletin volume and issue number in which each abstract appeared, enabling researchers to easily locate the printed abstracts at libraries that have retained the journal in their reference collections.
Now, nearly fifty years later, our electronic newsletter is made available to subscribers free of charge and provides a convenient link to our Web site, where each monthly list of new titles can be filtered in various ways to produce highly focused bibliographies based on such criteria as artistic medium, historical period, country of publication, and language of text, obviating the need for the annual indexes that were compiled so labor-intensively a half century ago.
The Bulletin was produced in an era when information about international exhibition catalogues was much more difficult to locate than it is in the digital age, but the motivation behind our monthly electronic newsletter is much the same: to present carefully selected titles from around the world to a specialized audience of art librarians, saving them the time and effort it would take to research and acquire these books from a multitude of sources.
Over the past 50 years, the number of art exhibition catalogues and other art books produced annually has grown exponentially. Major catalogues are now more likely to be co-published with trade or university presses, which makes them less obscure and more likely to be available from various non-specialized booksellers. Yet, each month Worldwide Books continues to offer a large number of international catalogues that do not have commercial distribution and that remain the purview of knowledgeable and specialized booksellers.
With the development of the Internet, obscurity has become less of an issue, and finding basic information on non-commercial catalogues is much less difficult than it once was. However, the challenge of providing libraries with information that is also accurate and reliable remains. And being able to reliably supply the publications themselves -- including titles published in short print runs by museums, galleries and other publishers that may not be familiar with or interested in international distribution -- continues to be one of our primary areas of expertise. We pride ourselves on our ability to guide clients in careful and systematic collection development and to help them separate the wheat from the chaff -- a skill honed by five decades of experience.
As we celebrate our 50th year, we remain committed to providing exceptional service in an efficient, knowledgeable and customer-friendly manner, and we thank our clients for their loyalty and support.