Visual arts research data management (VARDM) seems to be a burgeoning subfield among art librarians and visual resource professionals that will be increasingly relevant to the success of emerging professionals in these fields. VARDM is the subject of a workshop at the VRA Annual Conference in March and, with the advent of data management services and interdisciplinary research, we can expect to see data management spread beyond the sciences into the arts and humanities.
VARDM is currently more developed in the UK than the US, due to a series of JISC funded projects that have investigated the topic since 2007. These projects have labored to define the field, its component parts and the different roles that exist for researchers and data managers. The projects have made their various outputs available – most notably a series of online training toolkits aimed at students, researchers and data managers.
A common thread among these projects is the struggle to define key terms like ‘research data’, ‘data set’, and ‘research output’ as they pertain to the visual and performing arts. Some definitions that recur in the existing literature appear below.
- “A useful point to consider is that the research data of today may well be the special collections of the future” (cited in Murtagh, 2011)
- “Research data is digital information created in the course of research but which isn’t a published research output. Research data excludes purely administrative records. The highest priority research data is that which underpins a research output” (Research Data Management Glossary)
- “Data which arises out of, and evidences, research” (Garrett and Gramstadt, 2012)
Research Output – regardless of presentation, is a planned public statement of new knowledge or interpretation
Data Set – research collated in a certain way to substantiate a particular interpretation, analysis, or argument. May not always lead to a research output (Garrett and Grandstadt 2012)
Evidence – Evidence which is used or created to generate new knowledge and interpretations. (Garrett 2012)
The concept of the ‘visual arts researcher’ is a broad one, drawing from the fields of art, architecture, art history, design, dance, performance, etc. and including both practitioners and researchers from within each – including those who would identify simultaneously as both. Thus, ‘research data’ is understood to encompass sketches, samples, notebooks, process materials, reference materials, and any number of other things. Thinking about VARDM poses interesting challenges because, in addition to the logistics that need to be resolved in order to effectively preserve and provide access to the materials throughout their life cycle, one must constantly be distinguishing between the creative process and the research process, all the while recognizing moments when they intersect and align.
To date, most of the efforts to tackle these problems and get a handle on research data in the visual arts have been funded in various ways by JISC in the UK. Between 2007 and 2009, JISC funded a project called Kultur which developed an institutional repository model for research output in the creative and applied arts. Kultur was succeeded by a project called Kultivate which applied the best practice developed by Kultur. In August 2010, the JISC Managing Research Data Program (MRDP) funded the CAiRO project (Curating Artistic Research Output) which ran until July 2011 with the goal of creating a teaching and learning module designed for researchers at the postgraduate level.
CAiRO was followed by the KAPTUR project (also funded by JISC MRDP) from 2011 – 2013 which, “investigated the nature and scope of research data in the visual arts”, and, “created a sectoral model of best practice in the management of research data in the visual arts, consisting of: toolkits, workshops, case studies, institutional policies, a technical requirements analysis, and business and sustainability plans”. For more information, see the project’s outputs – in particular the KAPTUR Environmental Assessment Report. The report investigates issues of terminology, the role of the visual arts researcher and the visual arts research data lifecycle by exploring the following two research questions:
What is the nature of visual arts research data?
How can we support the needs of visual arts researchers through institutional infrastructure
KAPTUR also developed three of the previously mentioned online toolkits designed to provide an introduction into research data in the visual arts and its management – two of the toolkits are geared towards researchers (Introduction to Research Data, Data Management Planning) and the third is intended for visual arts data managers (Managing the Material).
KAPTUR was succeeded by a group called VADS4R (Visual Arts Data Skills for Researchers) from February 2013-July 2014 which built upon the work of KAPTUR by piloting and further developing additional training plans and making the KAPTUR toolkits available. VADS4R created two additional toolkits: How to Avoid a Data Disaster and Writing the AHRC Technical Plan.
Within the VADS4R toolkits the merits of effective research data management are discussed at great length and I will not reproduce all of them here. The concise version, available on the project site, is as follows:
Managing your research data can…
…Ensure you meet research funder expectations
…Make it easier to understand successive iterations of your research
…Make it easier to re-visit your research if changes are required, for example by a journal editor or exhibition curator
…Enable easier access to your research for re-use in other projects
…Avoid the serious implications of having to re-do your research from scratch, for example due to data loss or inaccessible data
For emerging professionals, the point of interest here is not so much the history of VARDM projects in the UK, but the methodical aims and prodigious outputs of these projects which are exceptionally well documented and easily accessible online. While earning my MLIS I was not aware of any coursework addressing VARDM and I would be very interested to hear about any programs that offer this kind of material or institutions that are actively addressing it.
In the recent conference co-sponsored by ArLiSNAP and VREPS, “Visualizing the Future: New Perspectives in Art Librarianship”, Kate Thornhill of Lelsley University College of Art and Design discussed the early stages of her foray into VARDM. If you’re interested in initiating VARDM programming at your institution, I would recommend reviewing her presentation in addition to the VADS4R toolkits and Kultur outputs.
For more information:
- Kultur – http://kultur.eprints.org/index.htm
- Kultivate – http://www.vads.ac.uk/kultur2group/projects/kultivate/
- CAiRO – http://www.webarchive.org.uk/wayback/archive/20140614073310/http://www.jisc.ac.uk/whatwedo/programmes/mrd/rdmtrain/cairo.aspx
- KAPTUR – http://www.vads.ac.uk/kaptur/
- VADS4R – http://www.vads4r.vads.ac.uk/p/welcome.html
- Garrett, Leigh.”KAPTUR: Managing Visual Arts Research Data” Poster presentation for JISCMRD program meeting (October 2012) http://www.slideshare.net/kaptur_mrd/kaptur-postera1
- Garrett, Leigh and Gramstadt, Marie-Therese (2012) KAPTUR: exploring the nature of visual arts research data and its effective management. EVA LONDON 2012 Electronic Workshops in Computing. pp. 88-96
- Marieke Guy, “Definitions of Research Data in the Arts” presentation: http://www.slideshare.net/MariekeGuy/kaptur-def2
- Murtagh, J. (2011) An arts persepective: day two and three – the sixth DCC Roadshow on data management http://www.dcc.ac.uk/news/arts-perspective-dcc-roadshow
- Research Data Management Glossary: http://vocab.bris.ac.uk/data/glossary/
Position: Manager of Digital Assets and Collections Information
Reports to: Chief Archivist/Librarian
Located on 200 acres in Potomac, Maryland, Glenstone strives to provide visitors with a unique experience through the seamless integration of art, architecture, and landscape. Its first exhibition building was designed by late architect Charles Gwathmey and opened to the public in 2006. It hosts a series of rotating exhibitions with artworks drawn from Glenstone’s permanent collection of post-World War II art. The outdoor landscape is home to monumental sculptures carefully placed amidst rolling pasture and unspoiled woodland. Admission is always free, and visits are scheduled by appointment to encourage an unhurried, intimate engagement between the viewer and their surroundings.
Glenstone is now embarking upon an expansion in order to strengthen its commitment to the viewing public. The centerpiece of this project will be the construction of a new exhibition building designed by Thomas Phifer and Partners. The building will highlight a series of discreet pavilions, or “rooms” surrounding a central water courtyard, many of which will be devoted to single-artist installations. It will provide significantly expanded gallery space and state of the art collection storage. Landscape architects Peter Walker and Partners will also oversee a revised master plan of Glenstone’s outdoor landscape. Finally, the expansion will incorporate a new public entrance and visitor amenities, to support a more comfortable and rewarding visit.
To develop detailed requirements for systems to manage Glenstone’s digital assets, including: a Digital Asset Management System (DAMS) and/or Digital Preservation System.
Produce a short and long-range plan as it relates to the creation, management, and use of information, digital assets, and other collections-related assets; deliverable due by end of appointed term.
Work closely with IT and other departments to ensure the reliability, security, and accessibility of all digital asset and collections information systems, including managing user groups, permissions, workflows, and reporting.
Work with records creators across departments to establish logical file directory structures, naming conventions, metadata standards, and formats for born-digital records and assets.
Develop and/or adopt metadata standards for digital assets and collections information.
Develop policies, procedures, and workflows for the ingestion of digital assets and collections information into all digital asset and collections information systems. Train staff accordingly and monitor compliance.
Develop and implement digital preservation strategies.
3-5 years of experience overseeing digital asset management and/or collections information management in a museum or archival setting.
BA or equivalent in Art History, History or Humanities. Advanced degree, preferably MLIS with archival focus, or Museum Studies with Collections Information Management and/or Digital Asset Management focus highly preferred; or equivalent combination of education and experience.
Knowledge of current best practices related to DAMS and collections information metadata, processes, and preservation strategies.
Experience selecting and implementing digital asset management and/or collections information management systems.
Experience and familiarity with one or more of the leading digital asset management systems, e.g., ADAM, Canto Cumulus, Extensis Portfolio, MeGlenstoneBin, NetXposure, Razuna, Xinet.
Familiarity with one or more of the leading ILS or AMS platforms, e.g., Aleph/Voyager, Archivists’ Toolkit, Archon, CollectiveAccess, CuadraSTAR, Koha, Millennium, Omeka.
Experience crafting institutional digitization and digital preservation strategies.
Excellent verbal and written communication skills.
Experience implementing open source software.
Familiarity with current cataloging best practices and metadata standards for collections in museums, libraries, and archives, including Cataloging Cultural Objects (CCO), LIDO, CDWA Lite, AAT, ULAN, DACS, EAD, MARC, AACR, LCSH, Dublin Core, PBCore, VRA Core, IPTC Core, XMP, EXIF, METS, MODS, and other standards as appropriate.
Ability to work with staff possessing a wide range of technical competence.
Experience and/or familiarity with CRM software.
Salary: Glenstone offers a competitive salary. This is a six-month, term position.
Electronically submit a cover letter, resume, list of three professional references, and a writing sample to HR@glenstone.org, or mail to:
Human Resources Generalist
12002 Glen Road
Potomac, MD 20854
Date Posted: May 20, 2014
Deadline: June 6, 2014
The Jewish Museum’s Visual Resource Archive consists of photographic materials depicting permanent collections objects, past exhibition installations, and themes relating to Jewish history and culture.
Under the supervision of the Visual Resources Coordinator, the Visual Resources Intern will be responsible for researching and cataloging physical photographic collateral including glass plate negatives, 35 mm slides, and 4×5 transparencies. The successful candidate will have film handling experience and will be familiar with collections databases. This is an excellent opportunity for someone looking to pursue a career in the visual resources fields and to observe the inner workings of a museum visual resources collection. The internship will also provide experience and hands-on training working with the most commonly used museum collections software, The Museum System (TMS).
The intern will receive a museum identification card that allows for free admission to other museums and various discounts.
Identify, research, and store photographic materials in the Visual Resources Archive
Transcribe information associated with the images
Label archival envelopes for the permanent storage of analog photographic materials
Use TMS to find information about artwork depicted in images
Entering data and attaching images to records in TMS may be required
At least 3 years coursework toward Bachelor’s Degree in Art History or Photography
Experience handling delicate materials such as negative and transparencies
Experience working with analog photographic materials and scanners
Strong attention to detail
Applicants with coursework toward advanced degree in Art History. Photography, Archives and/or
Library Science preferred
Full posting here.
JOB TITLE: Assistant Visual Resources Curator
DEPARTMENT: Visual Arts Library
REPORTS TO: Visual Resources Curator
POSITION OVERVIEW: Assists Visual Resources Curator in the daily operation of the Visual Resources Collection.
DUTIES & RESPONSIBILITIES:
- Develop and provide access to digital image collection.
- Provide support to faculty and student in the Visual Resources Collection.
- Assist the curator in the daily operation of the Visual Resources Collection.
- Maintain image database, organize and manage electronic images.
- Oversee image processing (scanning of digital material, creation of metadata, and uploading of images and metadata to our local database).
- Assist with ongoing digital image conversion projects; familiarizing faculty with MDID2, ARTstor, and other image resources.
- Assist with inquires regarding scanning, Photoshop, PowerPoint and other VR related software and equipment as needed.
- Troubleshoot image databases and working with Library Systems staff and campus IT to resolve technical issues.
- Supervise and train student staff.
- Occasional general maintenance of analog collection.
- Bachelor’s degree in Art History, Fine Arts, Design, or other relevant field.
- Knowledge of contemporary art–or be able to demonstrate an equivalent combination of education and experience.
- Strong knowledge of digital imaging technologies, scanning, FileMaker Pro, PhotoShop, Excel, PowerPoint, PC and Mac Platforms
- Mature and professional demeanor.
- Excellent communication skills and the ability to work well with a diverse group of people.
- High organizational aptitude and attention to detail.
- Previous visual resources, library, art history, or gallery experience; working knowledge of data standards used for cataloging works of art and/or general office experience a plus.
School of Visual Arts has been a leader in the education of artists, designers, and creative professionals for more than six decades. With a faculty of distinguished working professionals, dynamic curriculum, and an emphasis on critical thinking, SVA is a catalyst for innovation and social responsibility. Comprised of more than 6,000 students at its Manhattan campus and 35,000 alumni in 100 countries, SVA also represents one of the most influential artistic communities in the world. For information about the College’s 31 undergraduate and graduate degree programs, visit sva.edu.
Find out what it’s like to work at SVA visit: www.sva.edu/about-sva/working-at-sva .
To apply for this position, please send a cover letter and resume to firstname.lastname@example.org. No walk-ins please.
The School of Visual Arts is an equal opportunity employer.
Full post here.
Location: New York
Employment Type: P/T
chashama Arts, an NYC based arts non-profit that nurtures artists by transforming unused property into affordable work and presentation space, is seeking a Database Entry Coordinator to add, update and organize existing information using Filemaker Pro.
Efforts will be focused on: transferring years of company data into the organization’s Filemaker Pro database; streamlining internal data entry procedures; providing user support and suggesting improvements to the database; and ongoing maintenance of record accuracy.
The Database Entry Coordinator must be a professional with at least 1-2 years of experience implementing and/or using Filemaker Pro, or equivalent cross-platform (Mac & Windows) relational database software, with preferable experience in: Cataloging and metadata management, data entry coordination, user interface interaction, mail list and data management.
- Able to identify inefficiencies, address issues that arise during data transfer, and advise staff on how to correct errors and make necessary modifications to entry methods/processes.
- Organized, extremely detail orientated, focused, with excellent skills in communication, multi-tasking, time management, and problem solving.
- Able to work independently as well as collaboratively. A strong sense of initiative and independence is a must.
- Proficiency in Mac OS X, Windows, Microsoft Office Suite (especially Excel) is required. Familiarity with Adobe Acrobat, Outlook and Google Apps a plus.
- Has an understanding and familiarity with cultural institutions and non-profits.
To apply for this position, please send a cover letter, resume and salary requirements, with subject line “Database Entry Coordinator” to email@example.com
For those of you who are interested in photographic archives…
The department manages a circulating collection of slides, videos, 16mm films, and pictures/clippings and
an archival collection of bookplates, photographs, and design drawings. Under moderate supervision and
with moderate latitude for independent judgment, the employee holding this position participates in the
preservation, maintenance and acquisition of these collections.
– Participate in the evaluation, scanning, inventory, and de-accessioning of the department’s circulating
slide, video, 16mm, and picture collections.
– Participate in maintenance of archival still and moving image collections including inventorying,
rehousing, and scanning projects.
– Assist Curator in maintaining digital image production work flow and tracking deadlines.
– Oversee filing, shelving, labeling, and repair of circulating departmental collections.
– Participate in acquisition of digital images and videos including entering and tracking orders and
preparing items for circulation.
– Oversee circulation statistics of departmental collections.
– Participate in providing public service as needed, including relaying policies, receiving image orders and
video purchase requests, assisting patrons locate images in ARTstor and the Picture Collection,
circulating slides, videos, and 16mm film.
– Participate in the hiring, scheduling, training, and supervising of student workers and graduate
– Propose policies and procedures associated with department services
– Perform all other related duties as assigned
High school diploma or equivalent; and relevant associate’s degree or minimum 2 years related college
required. Bachelor’s degree or minor in film or photo-related field preferred.
Must have experience handling rare or fragile materials, especially slides, photographs, and film.
Experience working with cataloguing and databases preferred.
Excellent organizational, interpersonal, communication, and customer service skills required.
To Apply: Please submit your cover letter, resume, and the names and contact information for three
PRATT INSTITUTE IS AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER AND RECOGNIZES AND
VALUES THE BENEFITS OF A DIVERSE WORKFORCE.
Position Type – Full-Time/Regular
Salary – 39,400.50 USD
Tracking Code – 1386
From VRA Job Opportunities.