Louvre: paper catalogue also available to download free of charge

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5/6/23 - Internet - Paris, Musée du Louvre - Publishing books on the internet - we did this recently thanks to Thierry Zimmer who entrusted us with his catalogue raisonné on the nineteenth-century painter Antoine Rivoulon (which you can download here) - sometimes makes it possible to have works that would be difficult to publish in paper form. But nothing can replace this format, which is still the most pleasant way of reading, especially as it enables you to leaf through the book, which is more difficult on the internet, and is a quicker way of finding a particular passage or illustration.
On the other hand, many traditionally published books and journals are rarely consulted, as they are subject to a number of constraints: small number of copies published, limited distribution, prohibitive price for the less well-off, sometimes very large storage volumes that make it difficult to build up a library in flats that are too small, etc.

For the first time, the Louvre has just published a scientific work that solves all the problems mentioned above. It is printed in the traditional way, and can be purchased (at a cost of €80), and is simultaneously available - free of charge, which is very welcome - in digital form, either as a web version, or available on the museum’s website in two formats, PDF and Epub.

We won’t go into detail here about the content of the book by Blaise Ducos, which we haven’t yet read, but we felt it necessary to give a quick mention of this excellent initiative. The well-designed web version makes it easy to navigate between entries, notes and images thanks to hypertext links, and features high-definition illustrations that can be zoomed in on.
PDF and Epub formats can of course be downloaded.

See the image in its page

We can only hope that this type of dual-media publishing will develop in the near future, both for the Louvre and for other museums, even if this may raise the question of the economic equilibrium of a model, which seems difficult for private publishers to adopt. It should be noted that other museums, such as the Metropolitan Museum, offer a large number of works free of charge for downloading, either because they are out of print (for example, the online version PDF version and free of charge, the catalogue for the Delacroix exhibition held at the Louvre and the Metropolitan Museum [[Note that another Delacroix catalogue, from 1991, Eugène Delacroix (1798-1863): Paintings, Drawings, and Prints from North American Collections, is also available]. - see article), or because they have not been published in paper format, such as the excellent catalogue of Italian bronze sculptures of the Baroque and Renaissance that can be downloaded here. It is also marked as "in print", which may mean that a paper version will soon be available. Others, such as Visitors to Versailles: From Louis XIV to the French Revolution are on sale in paper form, and can be downloaded in PDF format.

While the development of these online works may go some way to solving the problem of storage, it also raises another: how do you find the books you are looking for from among the vast but scattered range available on the web? For the time being, there is no substitute for free access to a real library.

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