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Use The AMICO Library


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Content Summary

What's in The AMICO Library? Get this info as a .PDF file

  • Approximately 65,000 works of art from over 30 leading museums
  • Works by major European, American, and Canadian artists are included in the Library. Works range from contemporary art to Native American and Inuit art, from ancient Greek, Roman, and Egyptian works to masterpieces of Japan and China.
  • The public site has all the works as thumbnail images, but this is only a taste!
  • The Subscriber version of The AMICO Library has a catalog record and at least one still image, that displays up to 1024x768 pixels. Many works feature multiple views and further multimedia documentation.
    This documentation might include:
    • sound files
    • curatorial commentaries
    • video clips
    • conservation history
    • provenance data
    • scanned exhibition catalogs
Types of Works over 11,000 paintings
over 4,000 sculptures
over 9,000 drawings
over 11,000 prints
over 23,000 photographs
over 1,000 textiles
over 1,000 costumes and jewelry
over 4,500 works of decorative art
over 500 books and manuscripts
Time Periods over 2,200 works dated BC
over 4,000 works dated between 0 and 1500 AD
over 3,000 works dated between 1501 and 1600 AD over 4,000 works dated between 1601 and 1700 AD over 6,000 works dated between 1701 and 1800 AD over 18,000 works dated between 1801 and 1900 AD
Cultures over 25,000 works from Europe, including ancient Greece and Rome
over 30,000 works from North America including Pre-Columbian (Meso-American) art
over 6,000 works from Asia including ancient Asia Minor
over 4,000 works from Africa including ancient Egypt

Which museums contribute images to The AMICO Library?

The AMICO Library is the compilation of digital multimedia documentation of works of art contributed by AMICO Members. AMICO now has over 30 Member museums in the United States and Canada. See for the latest Membership listing.

Do European museums contribute content to The AMICO Library?

As membership grows, institutions from around the world will be included. AMICO expects to have European museums join in 2001.

When was The AMICO Library first made available?

The AMICO Library was first launched in July 1999.

Will The AMICO Library get larger?

Yes, each year AMICO Members contribute additional works from their collections to The AMICO Library. Also, as new Members join AMICO, they will provide new streams for image contributions. AMICO projects that The AMICO Library will reach 250,000 works by 2005.

Who produces The AMICO Library?

The AMICO Library is available through the combined efforts of AMICO Members, who govern the Consortium and contribute works from their collections, the Art Museum Image Consortium (AMICO), which processes Member data and administers the non-profit organization, and AMICO Distributors, who provide The AMICO Library via subscription, create the delivery software, and store and serve the data.

Please see this diagram for further elaboration.

Access Directions

How do I connect to The AMICO Library?

Your institution has subscribed to The AMICO Library, which is an online, Internet service. Access The AMICO Library by
1) visiting your institution's library home page,
2) selecting the electronic resources or databases section of your library page,
3) selecting either an alphabetical listing and going to A for AMICO Library OR
4) selecting a subject category listing and going to

  • Arts and Humanities
  • Art History
  • Image Collections (Note: Exact Library listings vary from institution to institution.)

The site does not require a password as long as you are an authorized user of your institution accessing via the campus network. Those trying to enter The AMICO Library from outside a subscribing institution or sanctioned campus network will be blocked. This is not a publicly-accessible site, but a licensed service.

As part of membership in AMICO your museum receives an annual AMICO Library subscription. We ask that a link to The AMICO Library be set up on your museum's intranet for easy access by all museum-affiliated users. When connecting to the RLG presentation of The AMICO Library, you will need a password or will need to have IP-filtering set up with RLG.

I don't have my password, where can I request it?

Please contact AMICO if you can't remember your RLG password for The AMICO Library.

Can my museum be IP-filtered, so we don't need to remember a password?

Please contact AMICO if you would like to provide an IP address or range for you museum in order to eliminate the need for a password when connecting to The AMICO Library via RLG from your institution.

Are there technical requirements for using The AMICO Library?

To access The AMICO Library via RLG's Eureka search service, you will need:

  • Netscape Navigator/Communicator 3, 4, or higher, or Microsoft Internet Explorer 4, 5, or higher
  • JavaScript enabled in your Web browser

RLG recommends maximizing the browser window and using a screen resolution of 800x600 or higher. For use on lower-resolution (640x480) displays, maximize the browser window and modify the browser toolbar options to increase the display area.

Note: Eureka cannot be used with Windows 3.x. Web browsers for the 16-bit Windows operating environment cannot handle all of the HTML transmitted from Eureka. The 32-bit Windows systems (Windows95, Windows98, WindowsNT) can be used. Macintosh and Unix operating systems do not have this system limitation.

Search Tips & Features

Using the RLG Eureka presentation of the Library:
Get this info as a .PDF file

Miscellaneous Tips

  • The search system is not case-sensitive. Artist names do not need to be capitalized.
  • Do not use accent marks on French or other non-English words that typically have these marks.
  • RLG will "time out" your session if you are inactive (not doing searches, opening up records, placing works into notebooks or other such things), so be aware of this. You might want to search, place works in a notebook, and then come back to them for deeper study, making notes, etc. To reconnect to The AMICO Library, simply click on the Reconnect link on the page telling you that you have been disconnected.
  • RLG lets you search for plural forms or alternate forms of words and date ranges by using a ?. For example, you may enter photograph?, which would find photograph, photographs, photography, and even foreign terms like photographique. The ? may even be placed within a word, so one could search for wom?n and find both woman and women. Truncation is especially useful for dates, e.g., enter 197? to get all works produced in the 1970s.
  • Notice that there are selections for choices, "these words" and "this exact phrase" under the boxes in which you enter your Advanced search terms. Make sure that the proper one is selected. If you type in "Boston Fine Arts" and choose the Owner Name criteria, but have "this exact phrase" selected, the search engine will not find works located at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
  • Unsure where to start? Check out the main Eureka AMICO Library screen for a changing "suggested search". This search changes daily. The link will show you the criteria for the search and then, when you click on the link, you will see the result of that search.

What is simple search?
Simple Search: Allows you to search on only one criterion. You are given a choice of three possible categories - creator, title, or keyword.

Creator: this can be an artist's name or a culture/nationality.
For example, select creator and type in · Degas · French · Navajo

Title: this can be an exact title of a work or words that may appear in the title.
For example, select title and type in · annunciation · lake · Lake George Barns

Keyword: this is a good catchall for searching. It looks throughout the entire record for the word you type in, so if the search term is mentioned in the title, commentary, inscriptions, anywhere, it will be found.
For example, select keyword and type in · mummy · moon · bust · relief · cup

~ A caveat with the Keyword search is that it finds a term wherever it appears: "park" will find images of "Yosemite National Park" and works created by "David Park" and "Thomas Park". ~

What is advanced search?
Advanced Search: Allows you to search on more than one criterion and the list of possible choices are expanded beyond three options. Also, you may use connecting variables (and, or, not) to link your multiple search criteria.
Note: Advanced search only allows you to search on two criteria at present.

In Advanced Search you can choose from 10 possible categories, rather the 3 in Simple Search. You do not have to search on multiple categories. If you wish to search on just one of the categories only included in Advanced Search, such as "Type", just leave the second variable blank and the connector word unselected.

The 10 possible criteria are: Creator, Title, Keyword See above under Simple Search

Type: AMICO Members use a list of 16 object types in The AMICO Library. RLG indexes these Object Types along with other classification Terms in the "Type" category.
Object List: Architecture, Audio-Video, Books, Costume and Jewelry, Decorative Arts and Utilitarian Objects, Digital Arts, Drawings and Watercolors, Installations, Mixed media, Paintings, Performance Arts, Photographs, Prints, Sculpture, Textiles, Other

Materials/Technique: Refers to the physical materials and production techniques used to create a work.
For example, select materials/technique and type in · linen · lithograph · marble · ceramic

Date: Searches the time the work was created. You can specify a range, an exact year, or truncate to get a series of years.
For example, select Date and search: · 1260-1360 · 185? (will get 1850-9, see more under Truncating) · 1974

Subject: What is depicted in a work, its content
For example, select Subject and search: · children · buildings · bodies of water
Note: not all works in The AMICO Library have subject terms assigned to them.

Owner Name: The name (or some words in the name) of the Member museum that holds a work.

Owner Place: The city in which the Member museum is located

ID: The unique number assigned to the work in The AMICO Library. (typically an accession number preceded by a four-character AMICO Identifier, eg. FASF.118935)

How can I print out images?
Users may print out search results or individual works. Simply select the particular browser page containing what you wish to print from The AMICO Library. This might be a search result listing, the text associated with a work, or a larger-size view of the work. Once the particular page is selected, simply choose File from the top Menu bar in your browser window and then choose Print Frame… or Print… from the pull-down menu that appears.

You can format a search result for printing by choosing "Export" from the RLG icon bar. This opens your search result in a printable format. Then choose File and then Print within your browser.

Once you've found your desired image, make sure you click on the righthand side in the browser window, so that the text is selected. To double-check that you will be printing out text, select File menu from the top of the browser and a menu will pop-up. Select Print Preview and a screen should appear with text. If it shows a small image then, you need to click on the righthand side of the original screen again in order to get the text to print out.

What are notebooks and how do I use them?
Notebooks are a great way to save sets of works under particular Themes. These might be study sets for class assignments or review purposes, lectures, and more. The Notebook allows you to add images to your own collection which you name and password-protect for your future reference. Images may be added and subtracted during subsequent sessions. You may have multiple notebooks under one user name and password. (Functionality to lock Notebooks and share them with other users is being considered.)

How it works: When you receive a search result, you will notice that there are small buttons that say "SAVE" under each image. Clicking on this icon saves that work into a Notebook. Notebooks are kept from session to session and can be added to in subsequent sessions. During any single AMICO Library session through RLG you can do many searches and all the works that you choose to save will be placed into one "Temporary" notebook.

Saving your notebook for future use: If you wish to save your notebook to use it during another session, select the Notebook icon. You will be shown the contents of your Temporary Notebook and will have a button that says "Save this Notebook". Select the "Save this Notebook" button and a screen will appear that asks you to name your notebook, give yourself a user name (do something intuitive like an acronym for your institution, your name, or something else memorable), and then RLG will generate a password for you - when you select yourself as a new user.

Saving new Notebooks and retrieving Notebooks as a Returning User: If you've already saved notebooks in previous sessions and want to create a new one, click the Notebook icon when you begin your session, choose "Other Notebooks," type in a title for the new notebook, and enter your notebook user name and password from previous sessions. Items you save will go into this new notebook.

To switch to other notebooks you've already created, click on the Notebook icon, click on the "Other Notebooks" button, select the notebook you wish to change to, and click on Send. Works that you select to SAVE will now go to this selected notebook.

To create another new notebook, you need to exit from The AMICO Library and begin a new session.

A user may only be in one notebook at a time within The AMICO Library, but you may have multiple browsers programs each open and connecting to The AMICO Library and that way, you may be in two separate Notebooks simultaneously.

NOTE: If you add items to your temporary notebook, the default notebook when you start a session, and then save the temporary notebook with a name, you will lose the contents of the temporary notebook when you use the notebook user name and password from earlier sessions. However, if you tell the system you are a new user, give yourself a new notebook user name, and let the system assign you a new password, the contents of the temporary notebook will become a saved notebook. RLG is working to fix this problem.

Why do I see "image coming soon" sometimes?
The AMICO Library is a growing resource and works are added to the Library at constant intervals, so you may see an "image coming soon" when the work is still in the process of being loaded on to the system. Once loaded, the image will be available and the "image coming" message removed.

What does Export do?
The export button allows you to send a search result listing or a notebook listing to a new browser window. From the new window you are able to print out the search by selecting File from the top menu bar and then choosing Print. Also, you may choose File and then Save As, and you could save the page in html format. You will need to add the .html extension to the file name. Be aware that this html page will not allow you to click on the images and enlarge them. The page will only save the thumbnail image and catalogue information.

What does History do?
RLG stores the past searches you have done in The AMICO Library during your current session. If you wish to see a list of those searches, click on the History button. This will display a list of searches. You may select several past searches using the check box next to the search listing. By doing this you may combine the searches into one larger search. However, searches marked with * cannot be combined with any others. These searches either did not retrieve any matching records or retrieved such a large result that they can't be combined with another search.

What is the Options button for?
This button takes you to a screen in which you may customize your search displays in The AMICO Library.

  • Change the image delivery to show you the largest image associated with the work only one layer down rather than two.
  • Adjust the sort order of a search result to display alphabetically by artist name, by title, chronologically, or by the museum that has the work in their collection.
  • Select the number of works that display per page in a search result, either 10, 25 or 50.
  • Alter the search result formatting to present both images and text, only images, or only text.
  • Indicate if full descriptions and images will display in separate browser windows or be displayed in the original browser window.


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