New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art launched a new portal earlier this month offering free, full-text online versions of hundreds of art books. Dubbed MetPublications, the tool offers unprecedented access to the output of the museum's publishing arm, opening up 643 titles stretching back to 1964 — recent books include Afghanistan: Forging Civilizations along the Silk Road and Art and Anatomy in Renaissance Italy, both published this year. What's more, 140 out of print books are now available for purchase through a high-quality print on demand service administered by Yale University Press.

The initiative, reportedly funded by a donation from Hunt and Betsy Lawrence, is integrated with Google Books, allowing users to discover titles through the search engine as well as through the Met's own catalogue. According to a press release, the collection of books will "continue to expand" as more are published and as digitization efforts ramp up, with the eventual aim of offering access to "nearly all books, Bulletins, and Journals published by the Metropolitan Museum since its founding in 1870."A