BWR project partners, the Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library at Columbia University, Artstor and the Getty Research Institute, are pleased to announce the launch of the Built Works Registry. This phase one release includes 70,000 openly accessible and shareable core records for works of architecture and the built environment.

BWR fulfills a community need for a structured means to compile and provide a dataset of uniquely identified records for use by catalogers, scholars and the interested public in their individual and collective efforts to describe, interpret and reference the built environment across the world’s geographic and temporal boundaries. BWR is comprised of records aggregated and enhanced from forty-two source collections; we are extremely grateful to those individuals and institutions who contributed their data to be openly shared through this important new resource.

By working with colleagues in the academic and cultural heritage communities, BWR aims to evolve a coherent set of standards, policies, protocols and technical platforms to facilitate the continued development and growth of the BWR as a shared data resource. Our work throughout the project development has been enriched by the input of many professional colleagues and community advisors; we thank each of them for their thoughtful contributions of insight and good counsel.

Built Works Registry (BWR) phase one development was made possible in part by a 2010 National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). We are enormously grateful to IMLS for seeding the BWR project with funding to support this initial development phase.

BWR work has also been generously supported by institutional commitments from Columbia University Libraries (including the Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Original and Special Materials Cataloging, and Lehman Library Digital Social Science Center), Artstor and the Getty Research Institute.


BWR is very pleased to announce the extension of our three-year IMLS National Leadership Grant for an additional year. This extension allows us to continue technical and metadata development in advance of the project launch in October 2014.

The primary goal of BWR is to address an ongoing and particular challenge for information professionals working on the description of architecture and built environment assets. Unlike the bibliographic arena where ISBN/ISSN numbers provide uniform title controls for multiple manifestations of the same work, the lack of an authorized list of built work names results in numerous locally improvised constructions of authority and work records. The absence of reliable records and unique identifiers for these valuable cultural assets not only leads to duplication and inefficient efforts but creates inconsistencies that hamper sharing and linking data within and across institutions.

Current work on the BWR project includes curation of the seed collection data to aggregate records reflecting a cross-section of architectural and built works throughout history and around the world by our launch in Fall 2014. This includes securing and analyzing the content as well as adding geo-coding information so the works can be placed on and discovered via a digital online map. Comprising –at minimum– an ID number, building name, and location, we anticipate that individual BWR records will be augmented by expert users and institutional partners who will contribute new content and help us expand the scope of the registry over time.

We are also pleased to announce some recent appointments to the BWR team. Margaret Smithglass joined us as the Built Works Registry Librarian at Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, and Vera V. Zlatarski as the new General Counsel and Secretary at ARTstor.

The Built Works Registry (BWR) is a joint endeavor of the Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library at Columbia University, ARTstor and Getty Research Institute (GRI).  BWR was awarded a three-year National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

The funds will be used to support the new Built Works Registry (BWR), a community-generated data resource for architectural works and the built environment. BWR will be available to scholars and catalogers from academic and cultural heritage organizations worldwide.  BWR data will also be contributed to the Getty Research Institute’s planned Cultural Objects Name Authority (CONA).

For more information about the 2010 National Leadership Grants, go to the IMLS website.