A blog for materials collections in art, architecture, and design environments. Sponsored by the Art Libraries Society of North America (ARLIS/NA).

Materials Research Librarian at Sandow

At SANDOW, we know the key to being the best is to hire the best. We’re looking for passionate, driven, committed talent to deliver exceptional performance.

Working for innovative, groundbreaking brands in an entrepreneurial environment requires a “do-what-it takes” mentality to get the job done. At SANDOW, there is always opportunity to shine and, in return, we reward stellar employees with competitive compensation, attractive perks, and the ability to take on new challenges – even if it’s outside your wheelhouse. If you’ve got the chops, we’ll take notice and provide the pathway to grow your career faster than you ever imagined possible.

Want to join us? Keep reading.


A Materials Research Librarian is needed for a new and exciting Web service launch at SANDOW. In this critically important role, the Materials Research Librarian will be responsible for overseeing all material cataloging within a comprehensive database that he/she will help to manage and update. The ideal candidate will be expected to maintain a real-time approach to industry standards and trends, and will have a vast depth of knowledge and expertise in identifying various materials and their attributes.

Essential Responsibilities:

  • Develop guidelines for all material cataloging and tagging
  • Support and oversee the quality and accuracy of the material intake and entry process
  • Develop and manage a group of freelance librarians and designers that will help with tagging and writing about materials
  • Seek new items through trend spotting and product launches in order to grow the material database
  • Update attributes for materials that exist within the database and ensure that all critical data points are captured as they become available
  • Review, edit and update technical material content throughout the material database, as well as on client collaterals and in editorial perspectives


  • Minimum 5-8 years in the design industry, preferably as a Research Librarian or Designer for a major design or architectural firm, required
  • Experience with the design and specification process of materials
  • Participation at global materials trade shows or industry associations

Keys to Success:

  • Skilled in the art of visually inspecting materials and identifying key attributes, such as the brand and type of manufacturing
  • Have a current and comprehensive understanding of the design and materials industry
  • Must have overall knowledge of materials, as well as a deep understanding of testing and code standards across industries
  • Constantly on the lookout for new trends and innovations

Harvard GSD & RISD are Recipients of CollectionSpace Grant for Materials Authority

Please join me in congratulating the Harvard University Graduate School of Design (GSD) and Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) on their recently awarded CollectionSpace mini-grant ($26,000). Working together, the project partners will develop a new profile for CollectionSpace designed to improve management of materials collections. The profile will include a new authority for managing materials information, and an innovative expansion of the CollectionSpace authority platform that will allow both collections to contribute to a shared materials authority. RISD and HGSD are also working toward the development of a consortium that will allow materials collections across the country to contribute to and benefit from their ​​work.

We look forward to a long and productive collaboration.

Megan Forbes
CollectionSpace Program Manager

Materials Library Report

In summer 2015, librarian Kai Alexis Smith explored the possibility of a Materials Library being built at the University of Notre Dame (ND). The interest for this came from faculty in the Art, Art History, and Design department. In this document many aspects of building such a collection and possible partners and departments on campus that might be interested are identified including ways to acquire materials, possible vendors, recommended readings, ways to organize such a collection, funding, and possible outreach opportunities. In addition, a survey was conducted on materials collections in the U.S. and England. The findings from the data were used to benchmark suggestions and recommendations.

The report is based on data from the survey and the IMLS-funded white paper, Materials Collection Creation and Administration: A New Role for Libraries. The PDF that includes the responses from the survey is in 4 parts. Names have been redacted for confidentiality.

Please access the report at

Visit Material ConneXion in Seattle

Visit MC in Seattle!

Material ConneXion will be participating in two academic conferences in March – AASL and ARLIS/NA-VRA – as well as presenting at ACSA. They will focus on their academic offerings and products. Stop by and say hello, or contact Jacquelyn Wilson to set up an appointment.


2016 Materials Education Symposium – Registration Closes February 29

7th North American Materials Education Symposium
University of California, Berkeley, March 17-18, 2016
Guaranteed registration period closes on February 29

The Materials Education Symposia are a unique opportunity for the university-level materials education community to come together to discuss ideas, tools, and best practice relating to the teaching of materials across engineering, design, and science.

The Symposium has a packed agenda of talks, poster sessions, and short courses.
***register here***

Speakers and talks include:

  • Prof James Shackelford (UC Davis)
    Further travels in cyberspace
  • Prof Steven Yalisove (Univ of Michigan)
    Deep, engaged learning: a better way
  • Prof David Dornfeld (UC Berkeley)
    Sustainability in Design and the Design Process
  • Prof Mike Ashby (Univ of Cambridge)
    A “green-washing” detector kit
  • Dr Sylvia Johnson (NASA)
    Oh, the Materials You’ll Need!
  • Dr Cyrus Wadia (Nike)
    MGI Opportunities and Reflections from Industry

Job Opening: Color and Materials Librarian, College for Creative Studies

The Color and Materials Library (CML) is an established branch of CCS’ libraries located on the Taubman Campus.  This facility serves all undergraduate and graduate art and design majors at the College. The CML houses material samples, books, catalogues and periodicals relevant to the study of color, materials, sustainability, and trends in the commercial art and design context.


  • Oversee the daily operations of the CML;
  • Provide reference services, including bibliographic instruction sessions tailored to materials, to students, faculty and staff;
  • Purchase books and materials, including soliciting donor materials, to support the BFA and MFA curricula;
  • In collaboration with library staff, create, schedule and execute marketing events for the CML;
  • Perform original and copy cataloguing through the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC);
  • Work with the Main Campus Library in collection management and serials control activities;
  • Evaluate and subsequently, update and withdraw library materials;
  • Train, supervise and manage work-study students assigned to the CML;
  • Collaborate with Department Chairs, faculty and staff to work with relevant manufacturers and suppliers to build and update the materials sample collection;
  • Chair a color and materials’ advisory committee;
  • With the Director, plan, research and develop annual operating budget and capital budget projects;
  • Work with part-time staff and other AICAD institutions to develop a color & materials database;
  • Additional duties as assigned.


MLS from an ALA accredited program with one year experience.


Candidates with a background in art, design or material science are strongly preferred.  Candidate must be an energetic, enthusiastic, self-motivated and service-oriented individual with strong organizational skills and excellent written and communication skills.

Last Chance to Pre-register for 2016 Materials Education Symposia

There are less than two weeks left until the early-bird registration closes on December 31 – register now to secure your place.

Register here for early-bird discount >

There is a packed agenda of speakers, short courses, and hands-on workshops for the 7th North American Materials Education Symposium (UC Berkeley, USA) and the 8th International Materials Education Symposium (Cambridge, UK).

See full program of speakers and courses for Berkeley (US) >

See full program of speakers and courses for Cambridge (UK) >

Submission is still open for poster abstracts, with the first 25 submissions being guaranteed a one-minute oral presentation in a poster teaser session. Submit poster abstracts and register online >



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