The opportunities afforded by the Internet and online commerce are molding a traditional union catalog project into a publication that, before they became widely available, could not have been conceived. The project, the Image Directory, is creating new alliances between the editorial, production, and marketing departments of Academic Press. It is encouraging image owners, who are providing data for the catalog, to enter into the electronic publishing medium either for the first time or beyond theft own Web pages or CD-ROM productions. Finally, it is also holding out the potential for scholarly benefits, not only to the image owners, but also to students, researchers, and professionals interested in arts images. Whilst the concept of creating a union catalog of information about arts images is not new, without the capabilities offered by electronic publishing the project could not come into existence. Electronic publishing has introduced two significant ingredients to the art museum community that are making this project work. The first is the potential that it offers for the management of image collections. In the era when information about images and art objects was recorded on cards, museums created idiosyncratic vocabularies and formats that were incompatible with those of other museums. Because collections differ and because museums are by nature competitive, vying with each other for unique objects, there were few incentives to combine data. Collections management software and the introduction of standardized vocabularies and controls, such as the Getty' s Art and Architecture Thesaurus, have provided the tools for significant inventory projects.The second is the fear of losing control of data that electronic publishing creates among curators and trustees. With the diminishment of grants and federal funding, museums are coming under increasing pressure to generate revenue. Looking for ways to generate revenue from their assets, they host block-buster exhibitions, sell coffee cups with paintings printed on them, and market themselves in ways that are succeeding in increasing attendance numbers. But electronic publishing and, in particular, the World Wide Web, offer pirates the opportunity to steal high resolution images, violating copyright rules and depriving museums of revenue that would naturally come through the sales of reproduction rights. Along with developments in image watermarking and the new envelope-locking technologies, museums need other ways to mark their assets as their own. The Image Directory directly addresses both of these aspects. The project is based on the information that image owners have already created for their collection management databases. Academic Press will add no new data to those records, but will standardize them so that idiosyncrasies among records are bridged but not erased. Scholars will be able to search the world for the location of and information about images and museums will have a central, definitive source in which to publicise their holdings and to list rights and reproductions information. The Image Directory will offer a leveling factor into the hierarchical world of museums, making records from the largest, best endowed museums equally accessible to those of small ones. And it will offer image owners the ability to sell images through the database architecture, potentially opening a new revenue stream for them. The Image Directory is an excellent example of an electronic publishing project crystallizing social and financial trends. There is every possibility that it will not only facilitate new scholarly discoveries, but it will increase the presence of different types of art in mainstream culture.