MW 2014 Virtual Conference Now on ARLIS/NA Learning Portal


The 2014 ARLIS/NA-MW Chapter Virtual Conference

Testing the Waters: Professional Experimentation in the Arts and Art Librarianship

 Is now available on the ARLIS/NA Learning Portal for all to view.

“Experimentation in the way we offer services, teach or communicate is often part of a librarian’s job. The ARLIS Mountain West Chapter’s 2014 virtual conference focused on showcasing some of the innovative experiments conducted as a part of professional practice. Included are the video presentations of eight librarians discussing various experiences with professional experimentation. All of the presentations were individually pre-recorded before the conference.”

Access to the ARLIS/NA Learning Portal is open to anyone interested in current issues in art librarianship and is available by simply registering online at Click on the ‘Sign Up’ or ‘Sign In’ link in the top right corner to view all available content. Some fees may apply to receive access to certain content. Please visit the ARLIS/NA Learning Portal for more information!

Questions? Contact today!

**Please feel free to share with any interested colleagues or lists**


CAA to publish Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for the Visual Arts

The College Art Association has announced that on February 9 it will publish a Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for the Visual Arts, described as a “set of principles addressing best practices in the fair use of copyrighted materials based on a consensus of opinion developed through discussions with visual-arts professionals.” Funds for this project were provided by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation with additional support from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation. Copies will be available online and at the CAA conference.

New York Times Library News Aggregator

It’s one of the great love/hate issues concerning the Internet – information abounds, but that makes it really easy to miss something wonderful. To prevent missing the good stories without dedicating my entire life to web surfing, I am always on the lookout for useful news aggregators. Somehow, though, until now I’ve missed the fact that the New York Times has a topic aggregator for library stories.

There’s a nice variety here, including a number of stories relevant to my art museum library. I particularly like the notices showing some important collections being newly digitized and offered online. I was also fascinated by a story on Unlocking Scrolls Preserved in Eruption of Vesuvius, Using X-Ray Beams.

Stories come in online-print and in multimedia formats. I’ve got this site bookmarked for regular checking in the I-need-a-break-from-inventory moments.

About HistoryPin

HistorypinHistorypin was created to help people to come together from across different generations, cultures and places, around the history of their families and neighbourhoods, improving personal relations and building stronger communities.”

Historypin, created by the non-profit We Are What We Do in collaboration with Google, provides a platform for sharing and annotating images, audio, and video content. Initially the site was loaded with content shared by more than 100 libraries, archives, and museums. Content has now grown to more than 350,000 contributions from individuals and institutions. The exact (and ever-changing) count is displayed on the home page.

Content can be pinned to maps, allowing visitors to view a rich array of diverse images of their community. Content can be grouped into collections or “tours.” Anyone can add stories or comments to the pinned content. The result is an unusual, compelling mix of curation and crowdsourcing. Looking at content for my own home area, Northern New Mexico, I can see pins from individuals, museums, and universities. It is wonderful to explore, and inspires me to get busy adding some older photos of my own.

How much can one rely on crowdsourced information? That’s going to be a question of increasing importance. In some respects, though, even inaccurate comments or fictitious stories tell us something about the people who shared them, and about what matters to those people. In Historypin, users can report inaccurate or inappropriate content, allowing the community to regulate itself. I would expect that there are conflicts similar to those that arise in Wikipedia related to different interpretations – or in this case different recollections. Historypin does moderate content, but one wonders to what degree that’s possible with content being added quickly.

Among the projects and collections are several related to art. One that’s featured now is Putting Art on the Map, from the Imperial War Museums. Here’s their intro to the project: “From John Singer Sargent to Paul Nash, some amazing artists captured scenes of the First World War. Explore these evocative artworks from the Imperial War Museums, help us improve their locations and enrich them with your comments and stories. Or you can curate the artworks into your own Collections or Tour.” The IWM presents images and information via this project, but it is also looking for help solving “mysteries,” attempting to define the location of an image int he collection, or identify the subject of a portrait.

I can see lots of potential applications for my Library and Archives, rich in visual material and fieldwork.

The site is easy to navigate, intuitive and comfortable to use. Terms and conditions and procedures are clearly laid out (see the FAQ page to get a good overview). Historypin has won a Webby Award for the best Charitable Organization/Not-for-profit website. This one is well worth a little exploration.



Harvard WorldMap Project

  The Bartlett Library’s migration to Koha offered us a rare moment when our data was suspended between – and outside – library systems. During that time I was able to look at the data in a new way and consider some beginning moves toward controlled vocabularies that would suit our unique needs. One area of concern for an international folk art collection is correctly identifying cultural groups, so I went searching for new and interesting ways to discover and represent this kind of ethnic and cultural information.

A favorite resource discovered in that search is a map of ethnicities of the world from the Harvard WorldMap Project. WorldMap describes itself: “WorldMap is an open source web mapping system that is currently under construction. It is built to assist academic research and teaching as well as the general public and supports discovery, investigation, analysis, visualization, communication and archiving of multi-disciplinary, multi-source and multi-format data, organized spatially and temporally.” At the WorldMap website you can view many maps that have been made already. But WorldMap is more; it is open-source software that will allow you to create your own mapping portal.

I spent hours investigating the ethnicity map, and it helped me better understand the depth of complexity we face in describing collections adequately to support searches. Is there a WorldMap that might inform your work? Even if there isn’t, this is a good place to gain insight into the news of the day. Happy exploring!

Read ahead with NetGalley (free prepub ebooks!)

A public librarian friend recently introduced me to NetGalley, “a service to promote titles to professional readers of influence. If you are a reviewer, blogger, journalist, librarian, bookseller, educator, or in the media, you can use NetGalley for FREE to request, read and provide feedback about forthcoming titles” (from the website at ). Librarians can indeed join for free and receive preview e-copies of books.

I’ve tried it out. After sign-up I looked through the listings of books available for preview (trying to be fair and keeping to titles that would be of interest to those who use my library). Some titles can be downloaded immediately, but for most one must request the title from the publisher. The publisher will look at the profile of the person requesting the title, so it’s a good idea to create a profile that will accurately represent your position and sphere of influence in reader’s advisory and purchasing for your institution.

If the publisher approves your request you’ll get an email. You go to the NetGalley website to arrange to download your book. I’ve taken to downloading them in epub rather than Kindle, after finding problems with some Kindle formatting. The e-books you receive are not as perfectly formatted or as pretty as the final version will be; it can be more like reading advance galleys in print.

After completing a book – or reading as much as you are going to – you return to NetGalley to provide feedback to the publisher. Publishers want to see feedback. You are not required to provide it, but if you don’t you may find your requests being denied.

I’ve requested about a half-dozen books so far, and finished most of them. A couple will be good selections for my library. Some that seemed like possible choices are not as good as I expected. Some I may not purchase, but will remember for reader’s advisory or reference in the future.

Wayback on the Web

   Ever needed to see an old web page? Ever wish someone had archived your institution’s website from way back when? The Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine can help. They have a few web pages saved – about 417 billion, in fact. A quick search revealed my own museum’s site has been saved 152 times between January 25, 1999 and June 25, 2014. That means a number of pages on exhibitions that might have been lost when we didn’t archive them are actually still available.

The automated archiving can’t be perfect. Some dynamic features and images are among the things that may not have been saved. For more info on issues such as copyright, how to link to an archived page, how to cite an archived page properly, or how to remove a page you wish to keep private from the archive, see the FAQ.

Surfing the Wayback is an ideal activity for late Friday afternoon. See how far web design has come. Track trends in colors and menus. Remember old events and old friends. This is the Web’s old photo album – enjoy!