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Artists of the World/Internationale Datenbank bildender Künstlerinnen und Künstler (International Database of Visual Artists)

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Artists of the World (AOW) is a biographical source for artists, artisans, craftspeople, designers, architects, and related occupations: It is “the world's most current, reliable, and extensive reference work on artists” (De Gruyter n.d.a.). It is the newer version of De Gruyter's Allgemeines Künstlerlexikon ‐ Internationale Künstlerdatenbank Online (AKL). Much of the content behind AOW is derived from AKL and its corresponding 119-plus print series built on previous art biographies in print. This fully digital resource has a new interface, search options, features, and a plan to expand, revise, and add content going forward. The scope is international but Western Europe is especially well covered.

The look and search options of the interface are likely to continue to evolve, as marketing materials for the product indicate “preliminary version: web design still in process”for many of the screenshots.The database is still in its infancy, and it will take time for users to discover it, utilize it, attempt searches, learn of its new features, and discover its pros and cons. New features—versus those of AKL—include a handful of free articles, maps that cite places where an artist has lived, a focus on groups of artists around a theme or an art/architecture prize, the Connected artists feature, and artist groups and families (included in the Artist search).

AOW, for those able to access it (a one-time purchase fee has not yet been made available), will likely become one of the most comprehensive and complete artist biographical tools available. German-language entries and lengthy biographies/Biogramm, especially for more obscure names, will attract a specialist audience such as academics, representatives from the art market and art trade, art specialists, library catalogers, museum and gallery personnel, and collectors, but AOW will certainly stand out as an essential tool for in-depth art and architecture research.

Publication date: April 1, 2023

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