VRA @ CAA 2009

VRA Business Meeting
Theme: Building Digital Image Collections
Saturday, February 28, 12:30-2:00 PM
John Trendler, Scripps College, VRA Southern California Chapter Chair

VRA Sponsored Session at CAA
You Can Do It. We Can Help: Building Digital Image Collections
Thursday, February 26, 12:30-2:00 PM
West Hall Meeting Room 501ABC, Level 2, Los Angeles Convention Center

Session Chair:
Maureen Burns (Humanities Curator, University of California, Irvine)

Session Abstract:
Digital images have been used in education for over a decade, yet instructors in visual disciplines and information professionals are still learning how to deal effectively with the complexities of this changing environment. Experiments combining imaging best practices with emerging technologies and social networks indicate that there are a number of promising approaches to building the next generation of digital collections. Among them are image-centric cooperative ventures, which are the focus of this session: artists uploading images of their work to a Flickrbased portal, art historians sharing field photography and descriptive data, information professionals managing image and metadata production, a learned society trying to transform scholarly communication by peer-reviewing shared images, and a digital image library opening access while respecting copyright. The panelists will discuss such coordinating resources, which often have images, metadata, management and presentation tools bundled together for both user spontaneity and controlled design in terms of collection development and image delivery. Information on expanding content, quality standards, workflow, legal issues, promising technological tools, and preservation will be provided to broaden our understanding of the value of building digital image collections together. A participatory rather than passive culture of academics, artists, visual resources curators, librarians, intellectual property specialists, archivists, information technologists, and museum professionals are demonstrating that each group has something to contribute and leveraging expertise, collaborating on production, and combining resources maximizes the potential of digital technology and can lead to profound results. Whether a small scale project or large collective, you can do it and we can help.

accessCeramics.org: Building an Artist-Centered, Browseable Image Collection with Flickr
Margo Ballantyne, Visual Resources Curator, Watzek Library, Lewis & Clark College, Portland, Oregon
Mark Dahl, Associate Director for Digital Initiatives and Collection Management, Watzek Library, Lewis & Clark College, Portland, Oregon

accessCeramics.org is an innovative online collection of high quality contemporary ceramic art images aiming for a global scope. The collection was initiated in Spring 2007 as a collaboration between the Department of Art and Watzek Library at Lewis & Clark College. accessCeramics brings together the work of established national and international artists with digital technology in a way that is highly usable for arts education. This new model uses Flickr’s software tools and social network capabilities to gather and store juried images described with rich metadata through a customized web interface. The accessCeramics team has developed an ambitious plan to grow the accessCeramics collection to over 4000 images and 300 artists by Spring 2010. This paper will demonstrate that it is possible to create a valuable online digital image database even when resources such as institutional staff and budget are limited.

Digital Fieldwork: The Peril and Promise of Sharing an Archive
Alka Patel, Department of Art History & Visual Studies, University of California, Irvine

With the invaluable help of UCI’s Visual Resources Collection, by mid-2009 ARTstor will launch my archive of approximately 14,000 and growing images as two integral collections. My real-world fieldwork has focused on historical architecture in South Asia and Cuba. I hope that my colleagues and others interested in these areas, particularly in the interactions of Islamic cultural forms with regional traditions, will make extensive use of it in both teaching and research. This extremely fruitful relationship with ARTstor was only the beginning, however, of my foray into the world of digital images and sharing them with a wider audience. This presentation will document the perils and, more importantly, the promise of sharing the hard work each of us has done. My venture into the dissemination of a digital archive has given me new perspectives on collaboration, pedagogy, and the very practice of art and architectural history as a profession.

It’s the Network: How the Society of Architectural Historians is Building an Image Collaboratory
Ann Whiteside, Head, MIT Rotch Library of Architecture & Planning, Project Director SAH AVRN

The SAH Architecture Visual Resources Network is an online library of still and dynamic architectural images for research and teaching in the field of architectural history and related disciplines. SAH AVRN is a collaborative effort among SAH, scholars of architectural history, librarians and libraries, and ARTstor. In the first year of its development scholars from MIT, University of Virginia, Brown University and the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation are contributing images to SAH AVRN, and are working with libraries and librarians at their institutions to create and catalog the images. When AVRN is launched at the SAH Annual Meeting in Pasadena on April 1, 2009, it will contain approximately 10,000 digitized images and 100 QTVRs that will be available for download by SAH members and ARTstor subscribers. This paper will discuss the collaborative process of developing AVRN, and the opportunities for change that working collaboratively brings to the development of scholarly content.

It Takes a Village: Building Collective Responses to Copyright Challenges
Gretchen Wagner, ARTstor General Counsel, Secretary & Director of Administration

There have been a number of recent efforts aimed at encouraging broader online access to works while respecting copyright. While legislative efforts have largely been unsuccessful in addressing current copyright issues, community-driven initiatives are making some progress.
This presentation will give an overview of those community efforts, including community principles and best practices being developed around particular uses of copyrighted works, the adoption of Creative Commons licenses, the sharing of some cultural institutions’ collections through Flickr, and ongoing and upcoming efforts by ARTstor and others to encourage broader use and sharing of images for teaching and research.


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