My ARLIS2015 Recap

ARLIS/NA in Fort Worth was rainy, warm (to a Canadian), and gorgeous (because I like abandoned buildings). I took on some volunteer duties for the conference, the first of which was to go on a fantastic walking tour of the city!

The conference itself, of course, was inspiring and informative. Because I have stopped taking actual notes and only live-tweet now, I’ll basically be reading back through those and trying to expand on things that are most important (if you know me, you know those topics are copyright, access, digitization, and weird formats).

First session: opening up your images to greater (more, better) use.

According to Anne Young, Manager of Rights and Reproductions, Indianapolis Museum of Art, administrative costs actually went way down when images were opened up for unencumbered use. (Given that most staff are overburdened anyways, this wouldn’t be due to salary cuts.) Once a large enough collection of open content went online, the remaining efforts were put towards digitization-by-request for researchers. Charging a flat rate for the custom service has apparently gone off pretty well, with researchers understanding and respecting the necessity (by copyright law, at least in Canada, you can’t charge more than the actual cost of the labour and materials needed to make the reproduction).

The Durationator, as elaborated upon by Elizabeth Townsend Gard, is a copyright tool that will help you evaluate the rights status of a work with as little information as possible — ideally, just the country, type of work, and date of creation. We’ve had a few forms of this in the past (see my Emerging Tech Forum presentation from last year’s ARLIS for examples of sliders, flowcharts, and interactive decision-helpers) but this is both a package service (as in, input your entire collection data) and relies on the work of quite a few law students and law-experience researchers. Not sure how much it costs, and why there isn’t a small-batch-for-free service for individuals / testers / etc., but it’s early days yet! (You can sign up to be a beta-tester on their site.)

I’m not usually into instruction, but I have found all of the IL Framework discussion really interesting. I was so glad to see someone implementing it in art instruction sessions (which has its own interesting set of information-seeking needs to control for):

The session about our labours with working artists covered everything from running a visual-resources centre at the NYPL …

… to working as a private archivist for a famous artist — and Claire Kennedy (archivist / librarian to John Baldessari) let us in on the usual course of things when it comes to private/personal archives:

I’m, of course, more invested in the archives side of things, and I’m always concerned with what happens to stuff before it gets donated. There’s so much dreary nonsense in records management that needs to be gussied up and spread about as common knowledge, just to be sure people aren’t, I dunno, dumping thousands of governmental emails they think have no value …. With artists, I’m even more compelled to make sure nobody’s purging any materials before they get into the hands of a trained appraiser.


Saturday, of course, was full of our own ArLiSNAP events, from our general meeting to the open discussion session (which I am so thankful you all came to!) — as well as the Canadian general meeting — so I won’t share too many details. (I’ll be printing up some results and recommendations from the open discussion another time.)

Sunday started with, in Secrecy in the Archives, a twenty-minute-long mic-drop presentation from heather ahtone:

The session on weird-media-collections didn’t go too in-depth on cataloguing, preservation, and access, but it was a great cross-cut view of cool initiatives.

The Linked Open Data session featured our own Sarah Seymore talking about the U Oregon collections. It was almost *too* informative.

The big finale, for me, was not the beautiful reception at the Kimbell, but seeing the CAA Fair Use Best Practices discussion.

But here are some photos of us partying at the Renzo Piano Pavilion, anyways. (And our new moderator, Tiffany!)


(Also I took some snaps for Librarian Wardrobe too.)

So that’s it! My trip to lovely Fort Worth and my time spent trying to do way too many things at once. And now, back to migrating the ArLiSNAP blog …

Tiffany dancing