Frequently Asked Questions
Updated September 2009

1. I would like to use an image or other content from the Quilt Index. Do I need to have permission to do so?

Yes. Contributors to the Quilt Index retain copyright to their contributions of data (both text and images), and agree to permanently license these contributions to the Quilt Index to display on the website for educational purposes. If you wish to obtain permission to use any Quilt Index content in any other way, please contact the contributing institution or the Quilt Index. The Quilt Index copyright statement can be found on our About page.

2. How can our quilt documentation project or quilt collection become a part of the Quilt Index?

To join the Quilt Index, a potential contributor must:

  1. APPLY: Submit an application, application fee of $150 (payable to Michigan State University), and supporting materials about the quilt collection or documentation project. Every collection is different, so this application process provides the Quilt Index staff with the basic information needed to help contributors create a unique workplan and budget. The application fee covers administrative and staff costs for reviewing the applicant file and developing an individualized work plan, budget, and, if necessary, the fundraising strategy to fulfill the budgeted costs for adding the collection to the Index.

    Application materials for new contributors can be found on our contributors page.
  2. CREATE WORKPLAN AND BUDGET: After the application is submitting, it will be reviewed by the QI staff and the Quilt Index Editorial Board. Project staff will then work with you to develop a workplan and project budget. We can assist with a fundraising strategy as well to help you cover project workplan costs such as digitization, data entry, or database transfer, depending on your project's needs.

Application materials for new contributors can be found on our contributors page.

If you have questions, please contact us.

3. Our quilt documentation project has not yet created a documentation form. Is there a model we could follow?

Yes, we have created a documentation form based on the Quilt Index Comprehensive fields . The comprehensive fields are a list of descriptive terms used in documenting quilts and quiltmakers. The QI Comprehensive Fields were developed based on forms used by state documentation projects, information maintained by museums with quilt collections, and active contributions from contributors collaborating during the first phases of the Quilt Index.

4. My quilt documentation project already has a form but we have not yet computerized our data. What can we do to make sure that it is compatible with the Quilt Index?

The easiest, fastest, and cheapest way to add your data to the Quilt Index is to enter it directly into the Quilt Index's management system rather than creating a separate database. Upon becoming a Quilt Index contributor, you will enter your data directly into the Quilt Index using a computer that is connected to the Internet and a password protected online entry form.

Application materials for new contributors can be found on our contributors page.

5. We are preparing to photograph quilts and/or digitize images. What can we do to make sure our images are compatible with the Quilt Index?

If you are photographing quilts, obtain the best quality photographs possible. Be sure to make one image of the full quilt, and then take close-up images to show special details of the quilt. The Quilt Index can feature multiple images of the same quilt. Four basic benchmarks for image quality for quilts are: sufficient and even lighting (i.e. no hot spots), color faithfulness, quilt pattern detail, fabric pattern detail, and quilt stitching detail.

If you are digitizing existing slides or photographs that are part of a collection of documentation, you must have access to a scanner with adequate resolution and color consistency.

The Quilt Index Image Digitization Specifications provides information for preparing your slides or photographs to be uploaded to the Quilt Index.

Contributors submit images to the Quilt Index using password-protected online entry forms. Workflow varies depending on the contributors needs.

6. Some of the photographs from our documentation are not very good. Can we still submit them to the Quilt Index?

Sometimes existing archival images may have inconsistencies or lower photographic quality. We know that in many cases documentation is conducted by dedicated volunteers who are not photography professionals. The Quilt Index is committed to preserving and presenting quilts. If there is no way to re-photograph the quilts, then the existing images are the documentation of those quilts and they are OK to submit to the Quilt Index. Contributors can explain their photography standards or discrepancies on their contributor pages.

7. How many state quilt documentation projects, museum collections, and other quilt data collections will be available online in the Quilt Index?

Eventually, as many as possible. The Quilt Index is growing daily and current contributors add new quilts and new contributors are incorporated. All active current contributors are listed on the contributors page.

We are actively pursuing applications and partnerships from organizations that hold quilt collections and documentation projects throughout North America and internationally. View our application procedures on the contributors page.

To see how many quilts are in the Index today, click the "go" button in the upper right corner search (leaving the keyword box blank).

8. When will other state documentation projects be put online in the Index?

As soon as they've applied and we've worked with them to get their records entered or transferred. See our application materials on the contributors page.

The Quilt Index was designed to facilitate inclusion of formal quilt documentation projects and quilt collections. Project leaders are planning for the next phases of expansion. Funding provided by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities supported the research and development of the Index and data entry for all or part of the records from the four pilot contributors. Funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and from the National Endowment for the Humanities has added the records of nineteen contributors.

Coordinators of other quilt collections and documentation groups are encouraged to contact us for more information about participation and plans for making their quilt documentation records accessible online through the Index. Contact the Quilt Index for more information

9. Do state documentation projects need to go through the Quilt Index to put their records online?

No, but we would urge states to consider working with the Quilt Index. The power of the Quilt Index is in providing access both to quilt documentation project and to groups of documentation together so that they can be linked and searched and cross-referenced with documentation from other places. Thus, the QI will be most useful to everyone if it can provide a searchable source to as many documentation records as possible. Moreover, building and testing a useable site is complicated and costly; we would hope that research and development costs of The Quilt Index won't need to be replicated. Finally, the Quilt Index is built upon a repository and is housed at a major research university with high-level, redundant data back-up and preservation measures and an experienced, professional staff. Thus the Quilt Index can serve to preserve and protect the hard-earned quilt documentation information for years to come.

If your collection or state documentation project is interested in joining the Quilt Index, please contact the Quilt Index for more information.

10. Can an individual enter records on their quilts directly into the Index?

The Quilt Index team is,currently developing a mechanism in the for individuals to be able to do just that. The Quilt Index is collaborating with the Signature Quilt Project on the pilot phase of public submission of quilts to the Quilt Index. This work is being supported by funding from IMLS and the Salser Family Foundation.

11. How can I visit the quilts found in the Quilt Index?

The Quilt Index is a virtual repository, not a collections holding entity. The quilts found in the Quilt Index remain in the hands of museums, individuals, and private collections. You will need to contact the contributing institution that submitted the quilt data for information about visiting their collection or locating particular quilts.

12. I would like to suggest a change to a Quilt Index record. How can I do this?

The contributors to the Quilt Index manage and control their own records. If you would like to suggest a change to a record you can contact that record's contributor or you can send your request to the Quilt Index and we will forward your request.

13. What is the difference between a gallery, lesson plan and essay?

View the Index
View Entire Index

Browse By Category

Time Period


Featured Quilt

Picture Unavailable Sunflower, Dahlia/Dresden Plate
By Lorraine Porter Timmons