The IRIS Consortium, founded in 1993, is an association of Florentine area art history and humanities libraries.
The founding members are: the Berenson Library (Villa I Tatti - The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies), the Library of the Uffizi (Gallerie degli Uffizi, Ex SSPSAE Florence) and the Library of the Dutch University Institute for Art History. The consortium has expanded with the arrival of the Library of the Istituto Nazionale di Studi sul Rinascimento (1997), the «Ugo Procacci» Library of the Opificio delle Pietre Dure (1999), the Leonardiana Library at Vinci (2007) and the Library of the Nuova Fondazione Rossana e Carlo Pedretti (2019). The member institutes have joined together to create a union catalog (a shared bibliographic database) available in Internet to scholars all over the world.
The IRIS catalog (OPAC), by virtue of the highly specialized nature of these institute libraries, offers a resource unique in its richness, focusing on the Italian Renaissance, its art history (including material on the conservation and restoration of art objects), its history, literature, philosophy, political thought, science and music.
The IRIS Consortium is headquartered at the Istituto Nazionale di Studi sul Rinascimento, in the historic Palazzo Strozzi, Florence, Italy.
The IRIS Consortium statute defines its scope as the acquistion and management of an online database system for libraries specialized in the humanities (history, art history, literary history and other disciplines related to culture in general), with the objective of allowing its member libraries to provide high quality research results to the scholarly community both local and international. The shared bibliographic catalog contains the patrimony of each member library (books, journals, rare and early printed titles, dissertations, journal offprints, music scores, and non-print media). The practice of «shared» online cataloging results in one bibliographic record for each work, with each library possessing the title adding its individual holdings.
This unique scholarly resource focused on the Renaissance is dedicated to the betterment of all library services offered by its members, satisfying the research needs of its scholarly constituency as well as as serving as an incentive for IRIS interlibrary cooperation with regard to exchanges of resources and information.
Since 2015 the IRIS Consortium has participated in the project entitled Art Discovery Group Catalogue.
The Art Discovery Group Catalogue project was introduced in May 2014 at the annual meeting of the Art Libraries Society of North America (ARLIS/NA) in Washington, DC. Hosted in OCLC's WorldCat, and co-ordinated by the artlibraries.net committee, the project has been developed in the context of "The Future of Art Bibliography"(FAB) initiative. The generous financial support of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation and the Getty Research Institute has guaranteed a successful project launch.
This new catalog offers the possibility of research focused on the literature of art within WorldCat environment. The art library catalogs are now available for consultation together with a notable number of online journals and databases permitting optimal retrieval results on a world-wide scale.
The Art Discovery Group Catalogue currently includes the participation of 58 art history libraries and three consortia located in Europe, America, Asia and Australia.
The IRIS Consortium is a member of ITALE (Association of Italian Ex Libris Users) which came into being informally in 1993. The areas of its activities, among others, are those of library automation and bibliographic standards applications for which it periodically organizes meetings and seminars, in co-ordination both with the International Group of Ex Libris Users (IGeLU) and other national-level users groups.
Following the official recognition of its constitution in 1999, ITALE coordinates the activities of its members regarding requests for software development and standards applications. Moreover, its unique central position functions as a point of diffusion among the members for exchanges of experiences in telecommunications innovations, developments and applications.