Benezit: Letter from the Editor, 2011

With the Benezit Dictionary of Artists moving online, this is an especially exciting moment—and a privilege—to become its Advisory Editor.

It is my role to help organize the updating and revision of its content, suggest new areas of coverage, contribute new content and suggest other contributors, and help integrate it with Oxford Art Online. New forms of artistic practice are constantly evolving, and although Benezit now covers environmental and performance artists, there are other areas of coverage which will need to be addressed.

I have been a user of Benezit since 1978. It was then that I began my career as a professional librarian at Chelsea School of Art, London. I can still see the blue cloth volumes of the French 1976 edition that we had. It rapidly became my preferred and trusted source of bibliographical information on artists of all periods, and it was essential for answering reference enquiries.

Its appearance in digital form will not only make it much more accessible and current, but it will also allow us to open up the entries to some of the emerging techniques of digital scholarship: we will be able to ask questions of the data we have hitherto been unable to answer, or even dream of asking.

I look forward to working with the Editor, Kandice Rawlings, and the staff of Oxford University Press, and with you, the users of Benezit, as we develop this resource from being the best print dictionary of artists to becoming the best digital dictionary of artists in the 21st century.

Stephen Bury
Andrew W. Mellon Chief Librarian
Frick Art Reference Library
October 2011