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About Text Finder

This index allows you to find texts published in books that are owned by the Decker Library at MICA or the Millard Sheets Library at Otis. Included are essays, critical and theoretical texts, manifestos, artist statements, and interviews.
Introduction | Scope | Editing Notes | Licensing | Personnel | Search TF


Text Finder was developed in 2003 at the Decker Library, Maryland Institute College of Art to provide access to texts that are collected in books owned by the Library.

People would often ask the librarians for help finding a particular text by Sigmund Freud, Susan Sontag, Adrian Piper, Roland Barthes, Jacques Derrida, Wassily Kandinsky, etc.

Looking in the Library's online catalog would reveal that we own one or more books by these writers, but, in most cases, the catalog records do not list a book's contents in detail. Of the books we have, perhaps one is checked out and the other two do not have the text. Yet influential texts may be anthologized in several different books that are available at that point.

After setting up a database of source books with their table of contents, we implemented a web-display that is browseable by text authors and source book titles, and searchable by keywords in text titles. By 2008 the list of source books grew to over 500, with over 16,000 text listings (including cross-listings for texts with multiple authors).

In 2008, the project was extended to partner with the Millard Sheets Library at Otis College of Art and Design.

  • Initially, Otis's library holdings were marked in the existing source list along with MICA's, and a joint display was set up, including a link to each library's online catalog to check for current availability of the source books.
  • In Summer 2009, a reciprocal text delivery system was implemented between the two institutions, allowing patrons to make requests to the partner library for particular texts when the source books are unavailable at their own library. To request a text, send email to:
    for Otis library users: MICA's reference dept.
    for MICA library users: Otis's reference dept.
  • A further stage will involve collaboration between the Otis Library and MICA Library staffs in selecting new sources and inputting contents to the database.



The scope of Text Finder is broadly defined: texts that are of interest in the curriculum of the Maryland Institute College of Art and the Otis College of Art and Design, and that are published in source books held by the Decker Library or the Millard Sheets Library.

Subjects include art and design history, criticism, and theory, as well as philosophy, psychology, religion, history, sociology, science, etc. Many of the writings date from the 20th and 21st centuries, but influential texts from earlier centuries are also included.

Literary work (fiction, drama, poetry) is generally not included, but since source books are included in their entirety, literary writings that are anthologized with other types of writing do appear in the index.

Source books may be chapter books or compilations of writings by a single author, or be edited anthologies. Essays from exhibition catalogs are also included.


Editing Notes

  • Texts with multiple authors are cross-listed under all names.

  • Dates indicated are those supplied within the source being indexed. They are intended to represent -- and usually represent -- the first publication of a text, although if the text's supporting commentary indicates that it was written substantially earlier than its first publication, the date used is the date of writing. In cases where dates are not provided in a publication, we have not done research to supply them.
  • When the author's name is variously represented among different sources, we use the form authorized by the Library of Congress or the Getty Union List of Artists Names for the indexed field, but the form taken from the source appears in the display field.



Creative Commons License

Text Finder by Decker Library, Maryland Institute College of Art is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.


MICA Personnel

  • Katherine Cowan - Database design and editing, 2003- ; Website design and programming, 2003-; Source selection, 2003-; Data entry, 2003-
  • Chris Drolsum - Interlibrary Loan Coordinator; Source selection, 2005-; Data entry, 2005-
  • Marianne Laino - Source selection, 2005-; Data entry, 2005-
  • Emily Connell Rafferty - Data entry, 2003

Otis Personnel

Decker Library, MICA | Millard Sheets Library, Otis | Search Text Finder