Hi Arlisnappers! After a yearlong absence, I am back on the blog as a feature post writer and excited to be a part of the ArLiSNAP team once again. I recently graduated with my MLIS and I currently work as the Director of Visual Resources at the University of Georgia.
In April 2014, I shared my tips for hacking your MLIS program to focus on art librarianship. Now I’m back with a better-late-than-never follow-up on how I hacked my MLIS program to prepare for my career in visual resources librarianship. We have discussed how to plan your coursework so you are prepared to manage digital collections before, and this post will focus specifically on what you need to manage visual resources collections.
What is visual resources librarianship?
Visual resources librarianship is a bit different from art librarianship, though the two fields require similar skills and educational backgrounds. I have worked as a full-time visual resources professional for one year now, so I have a good idea of what the profession involves and what is required to do the job successfully. That being said, each position is unique depending on the needs of the institution. Visual resources professionals historically functioned as slide librarians, usually in art/art history departments or libraries. Now, we primarily manage digital image collections, though slide collections still exist at many institutions, and assist faculty and students with their image needs. We may also manage public visual resources spaces that range from digital scanning and projects labs to libraries with circulating materials.
Become involved in VRA
The Visual Resources Association (VRA) is smaller than ARLIS, but equally as welcoming. Hands down, this is the best way to get – and stay – connected to the field, especially if you are one of the few people in your program interested in art and visual resources librarianship. Not only do you have access to a large network of art and visual resources professionals, but you can also follow news, concerns, and trends on the VRA listserv. I encourage you to be active on the listserv as well since name recognition can help you in your job search later on! Seriously – my predecessor was very active, and I get asked about him all the time. If you have been involved with ARLIS but haven’t yet ventured into VRA, there is a joint conference next year in Seattle, WA, so it will be an opportune time to check out both organizations and annual conferences. There is also a similar group to ArLiSNAP called vreps – visual resources association emerging professionals and students – that you should join. The VRA Bulletin is the journal of the association and each issue contains a wealth of information about current issues and practices in the field.
Focus coursework and projects on visual resources topics
As I said in part one, the best way to ensure you are getting a similar education to a MLIS program that does offer an art librarianship track is to see which courses they require and which electives they offer. I also recommend looking at similar tracks, such as digital content/asset management or archives. I recommend courses on the following topics, since they relate to visual resources: humanities information services, digital libraries, descriptive cataloging and metadata, database design, digital humanities, and digital archives. Basically, looks for classes that focus on metadata, technologies, databases, and managing or curating digital archives, libraries, and other collections. These classes will give you an overview of the information you need and you can focus your projects and papers specifically on arts and humanities topics.
In part one, I discussed an independent study on art and visual resources librarianship that I designed as an elective in my MLIS program. If you would like more information on that, I’m happy to share my syllabus and course projects in a later post.
This time, I’m focusing on what you can do independently outside of coursework to build some of the skills you need to work in visual resources.
Photography, Photoshop, and Lightroom
Knowledge of photography, especially editing software, is very helpful for managing image collections. I still have a lot to learn about photography, but I have heard that ShootFlyShoot has fantastic photography classes. Why is this important? So you understand how the images you work with are produced, and you can produce images if required. Some visual resources positions require original photography of works of art, either from works in museum or galleries, or from faculty and student work. I do not produce original photography in my current position, but I do a lot of scanning, and knowledge of photographic editing techniques is essential. I use Adobe Photoshop, and recommend Photoshop Classroom in a Book to learn the basics of using Photoshop. The book has a disc with tutorials and sample images to practice editing. Adobe Lightroom is a simpler and easier way to edit images and is preferred over Photoshop by some visual resources professionals.
Just like a library book would be lost without a catalog record, images would be lost without good metadata. I believe that metadata is perhaps the most important part of managing image collections. After all, what’s the point of having a collection if your content cannot be easily found? Just as there are cataloging standards and formats for cataloging books, archival materials, etc., these also exist for visual resources collections. Cataloging Cultural Objects (CCO) is a content standard for visual resources collections (comparable to RDA) and VRA Core is a metadata schema used to describe images (comparable to MARC). If you have access to Adobe Bridge, you can download the VRA Core panel and practice creating metadata for images. It’s also essential to be familiar with the Getty vocabularies, which are now available as Linked Open Data. The vocabularies will give you the structured terminology for art, architecture, and other materials and are essential tools for the proper cataloging of images.
Working in visual resources doesn’t just mean managing image collections. There is a reference and instruction component. You must be able to help others find and locate images using subscription databases, institutional image collections, and free resources on the web. The most popular subscription database for images is Artstor Digital Library. If the institution where you attend school or work does not have a subscription, you can still check out the website or YouTube videos to learn more about how the database works and how to use it. There is a section with free guides, including subject-specific guides, and studying these is an excellent way to increase your knowledge of this resource.
Visual resources professionals manage institutional image collections or archives. These collections can include images from faculty and student image requests, images from digitized slides, images purchased from vendors, and images related to institutional history. In order to properly manage these image collections, you need to know how digital asset management systems work. A broad knowledge of DAMs is important, because there are many different systems out there. The most popular DAMs for visual resources include Artstor’s Shared Shelf, Luna Imaging, and Madison Digital Image Database (MDID). These can be high cost for some institutions, so in-house solutions are also popular.
You also need to know how to locate high-quality and accurate images on the web. Libguides are an excellent way to compile these resources, and many institutions have great libguides on locating images for you to browse and study. My personal philosophy behind libguides, or curating image resources in general, is this: quality over quantity. Your job isn’t to know all instances of where to find images of the Mona Lisa. Your job is to know where to find the best images of the Mona Lisa.
Copyright and fair use
You also need to know how the images you manage, or how images available in subscription databases or on the web, can be used. This is why copyright and fair use comes into play. For general information on copyright law, look at Copyright Law for Librarians and Educators: Creative Strategies and Practical Solutions. For copyright information related to the visual arts, your best resources are from the College Art Association. Copyright, Permissions, and Fair Use among Visual Artists and the Academic and Museum Visual Arts Communities was released in 2014 and and the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for the Visual Arts was released earlier this year. Study these documents and know them well.
Get experience – if you can
Some institutions don’t have a visual resources collection, but those that do usually need help. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a visual resources professional and ask if you can volunteer, intern, or even just visit the collection and learn more about what they do and what a typical day is like for them.
So this is what I recommend doing as a library science student if you are interested in visual resources. If other visual resources professionals are reading this, I’m curious to hear what you also recommend!
Once again California Rare Book School (CalRBS) is able to offer Kress Foundation-Dr. Frankllin Murphy Scholarships for Week 3 to those art librarians, art historians, and graduate students preparing to enter these fields. The scholarships cover tuition for one course and provide $1,000 toward the travel expenses of attending. They are competitive. Apply by September 15, at www.calrbs.org.
CalRBS 2014 Course Schedule
Week 3 (November 3-7, 2014)
“Books of the Far West, with an Emphasis on California” taught by Gary Kurutz at the California Historical Society
“History of the Book in East Asia” taught by Peter Zhou & Deborah Rudolph at the Starr East Asian Library, UC Berkeley)
“History of Typography” taught by Paul Shaw at the Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley
Reminder: VRAF Professional Development Grant
Application deadline for this grant is Wednesday, July 23, 2014
2014-2015 VRA Foundation Professional Development Grant: Call for Applications
The Visual Resources Association Foundation (VRAF) is pleased to announce that it is accepting applications for two VRAF Professional Development Grants, one to support the advancement of an emerging professional and the other to support the work of an established career professional. These grants can be used to support conference attendance, enrollment in a workshop, or participation in research activities. More information, including the application form, is included below. For consideration, submit your application to Linda Callahan, email@example.com, by Wednesday, July 23, 2014, 11:59 Pacific Time. If you have any questions about the VRAF Professional Development Grant or the application process, you may also contact Linda Callahan, firstname.lastname@example.org. The recipients of the VRAF Professional Development grants will be announced by Wednesday, September 10, 2014.
Guidelines and Application Form: http://vrafoundation.org.s119319.gridserver.com/index.php/grants/professional_development_grant/
Similar to (but different from) the VRAF Professional Development Grant is the VRAF Internship Award, which is a fantastic way to fund or supplement an un- or underpaid internship in arts and visual resources work.
The Visual Resources Association Foundation (VRAF) Internship Award provides financial support for graduate students preparing for a career in visual resources and image management. The award grants $4,000 to support a period of internship in archives, libraries, museums, visual resources collections in academic institutions, or other appropriate contexts.The recipient will receive a stipend of $3,000 for 200 hours completed at the host site. A professional development component of $1,000 supports conference attendance or attendance at the Summer Educational Institute for Visual Resources and Image Management. The recipient will receive a one year complimentary student membership in the Visual Resources Association.
Who May Apply
Students currently enrolled in, or having completed within the last 12 months, a graduate program in library or information science, art history, architectural history, architecture, visual or studio art, museum studies, or another applicable field of study may apply for this award. Applicants must have completed at least 10 credits of their graduate coursework before the application deadline, or demonstrate an equivalent combination of coursework and relevant experience.
I would strongly consider applying even if your (planned or proposed) internship is only tangentially related to visual resources or arts librarianship: metadata, digitization, conservation, rights management, administration, or plain old cataloguing.
Only one VRAF Internship is awarded per year. Once an award recipient has been selected, he or she will select an institution to act as host for the internship. This Institution must be approved by the VRAF Internship Award Committee. VRAF and VRA are not responsible for matching candidates with a host institution, but will gladly assist with the process.
This Internship Award will be granted during the 2014 to 2015 academic year. The intern is required to work on site at their chosen host institution for a minimum of 200 hours. The intern will choose to initiate their internship in the fall of 2014 or the winter or spring of 2015. The internship must begin within 30 days of the official beginning of the selected academic session of the participant’s home institution and be completed within one academic semester or two academic quarters. Exceptions are allowed by agreement between the selected intern and the VRAF Internship Awards Committee. In all cases, the internship must be completed within twelve months of the recipient being notified of the award.
This language can be complicated: if you’re a recent graduate, why would you need to start the internship within the beginning of a semester? (What’s your “home institution” in that case?) Especially if the award isn’t necessarily going towards internships for graduate credit? Unfortunately, I hold no answers for you; you’ll have to work towards “agreement” with the awards committee.
To apply for the award, please submit the following:
- A current resume.
- A current transcript [this does not need to be issued directly from the institution].
- An essay of up to 300 words addressing the applicant’s professional goals, expectations of the internship experience, and any skills or background that might benefit visual resources. A brief description of the proposed project is desirable.
- The names of two professional or scholastic references with address, telephone numbers, and email addresses.
- Recommended, but not required: Host institution and contact information of internship supervisor.
Application materials in electronic form are preferred and should be submitted as a single PDF file to:
Visual Resources Consulted
- 7/31/2014; Deadline for submission of applications to the VRAF Internship Award Committee.
- 9/12/2014; VRAF Internship Award Committee announces the award recipient for 2014 to 2015.
Great opportunity for new professionals!
The Visual Resources Association Foundation (VRAF) is pleased to announce that
it is accepting applications for two VRAF Professional Development Grants, one to
support the advancement of an emerging professional and the other to support the work
of an established career professional. These grants can be used to support conference
attendance, enrollment in a workshop, or participation in research activities. More
information, including the application form, is included below. For consideration, please
submit your application by Wednesday, July 23, 2014, 11:59 Pacific Time. If you have
any questions about the VRAF Professional Development Grant or the application
process, please contact Linda Callahan, email@example.com. The recipients of the
VRAF Professional Development grants will be announced by Wednesday, September
Award Amount: Each of the two 2014-2015 awards will provide a grant of $850. The
grant is for use between September 10, 2014 and September 9, 2015.
Eligibility: Applicants should be in the field of visual resources and image management,
and may include retirees, the currently unemployed, or students seeking educational and
training opportunities in support of broad access to cultural information. Membership in
the Visual Resources Association is not required. Statements of financial need will be
Acceptable Uses of Award Money:
• Transportation costs to and from the event venue
• Registration fees or tuition
• Required course materials (e.g., work books, DVDs)
• Meals – including meals in transit to and from the educational event
• Research expenses
(Grant monies may not be used to cover indirect costs at institutions.)
Application Deadline and Decision Announcement:
Applications for the 2014-2015 are due Wednesday, July 23, 2014.
The award decisions will be publically announced on Wednesday, September 10, 2014.
Guidelines and Application Form: http://vrafoundation.org.s119319.gridserver.com/
Guest Post: Alison Verplaetse on the Summer Educational Institute for Visual Resources and Image ManagementPosted: July 26, 2013
Alison Verplaetse took part in the most recent Summer Educational Institute on June 18-21, 2013. Find out more about this program at http://sei.vrafoundation.org/index.html
The Summer Educational Institute (SEI) is an excellent learning and networking opportunity for anyone currently involved or interested in a career in image management. As a fairly recently degreed librarian, I found SEI incredibly valuable: it not only taught immediately applicable skills, but also provided me with insight into future avenues of the profession. I would recommend SEI to anyone considering pursuing a career in Visual Resources as it provided a perfect opportunity to gain a broad perspective on what people are accomplishing in this area of librarianship.
SEI provided a unique opportunity to learn about the core aspects of image management –namely, metadata, imaging, copyright, and outreach–from top experts in their respective fields. I am incredibly grateful to have been a participant at SEI, and I feel I gained knowledge and professional connections that will benefit me throughout my career. Here is a quick run-down of the workshop sessions and speakers:
Our first afternoon at the institute included a lecture on Intellectual Property Rights given by the University of Michigan’s Associate General Counsel Jack Bernard. Mr. Bernard’s presentation was thoroughly engaging and informative, providing compelling copyright case studies that illustrated the essential tenets of copyright law in an accessible and useful way for library professionals.
The second day of SEI was the Metadata Intensive part of the workshop. The first session began with a Metadata Overview by Jenn Riley, the Head of the Carolina Digital Library and Archives at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Library. We discussed the most popular metadata schema currently used by cultural institutions and participated in completing sample metadata records in VRACore. In the afternoon’s session, Greg Reser, the Metadata Specialist at University of California, San Diego, introduced the group to the concept and application of embedded metadata for image professionals.
The third day at SEI was an Imaging Intensive taught by Alex Nichols, the Academic Technology Coordinator at the Visual Resources Library at Michigan State University. His sessions spelled out the best practices and standards for digital imaging in terms of equipment, image quality, and workflow. In conjunction with the late afternoon session regarding the “Tools of the Trade,” in the Visual Resources field, this day introduced me to a number of relevant and useful applications for managing digital images.
The final day of the conference was organized in an “unconference” style, allowing us to interact and hear the ideas of our colleagues regarding collaboration, project management, keeping current in the field, and several other areas of visual resources management. In a similar vein, the afternoon’s session, entitled “Expanding Your Role,” presented us with great ideas for reaching out to the community, both the people we serve in our profession and other professionals.
Whew! A lot happened in a just a few days at SEI. The best part, though, was getting to know my fellow participants. I met an excellent group of like-minded individuals whom I look forward to working with again in the future, and I was able to bring back a wealth of knowledge germane to both my current and aspirational professional endeavors.
Do you have an idea to present at a VREPS session during VRA 2014 Conference in Milwaukee?
We’re looking for participants in two separate sessions, one about new directions for visual resource professionals and the other about transforming VRC into teaching and learning centers. Each of the sessions will have 3-4 speakers who will be expected to speak for about 15-20 minutes with time for questions and answers.
After we hear from you we’ll propose the sessions for Milwaukee 2014.
The deadline is July 15th!! We want to hear from interested participants by the 12th so we can put it all together!!
What we need from you: Simply your name and the title/subject of your presentation
Below are the descriptions of the two sessions:
Working Title: New Frontiers in Visual Resources Management
As the use of images to document and share becomes an increasingly vital component of many academic fields and professional arenas, new opportunities for professionals with visual resources skills are emerging in non-traditional environments. This session will explore the challenges, successes, and pitfalls of curating and managing images outside the traditional art history context. Case studies will discuss various image environments including commercial, academic, and non-profit environments.
Working Title: The Teaching Turn: From Static Collections to Dynamic Learning Centers
Much of the business of creating and disseminating images has moved away from individual academic departments and isolated image collections toward centralized cross-discipline departments. This has left many visual resource centers looking for new ways to engage users and support the educational goals of their institutions. One way centers are meeting these new challenges is by transforming from being a storage silo for physical slide collections to being a collaborative learning space where students and faculty alike can come to work on projects and refine imaging and videography skills. As many resource centers make this move toward more teaching and learning, the physical spaces and skill sets of employees have also shifted. This session will examine case studies of visual resource centers programming that is directed to teaching imaging skills and how this new role is shifting their profile within their institutions.
As always, you can also see what’s coming up through the Educational Opportunities Calendar. Keep reading for details about all the great webinars, CFPs, and scholarship opportunities below!
Title: Communicating Through Infographics
Presenter: Dawne Tortorella
Date: Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Start Time: 12 Noon Pacific
This webinar will last approximately one hour. Webinars are free of charge. Please note: we have changed hosting services fromWebEx to Adobe Connect, so we advise you to test your browser before the webinar: http://intesolv.adobeconnect.com/common/help/en/support/meeting_test.htm
For more webinar tips, see: http://infopeople.org/webinar/tips.
For more information and to participate in the Wednesday, November 14, 2012 webinar, go to http://infopeople.org/training/communicating-through-infographics.
· Have you noticed the growing trend of communicating through infographics?
· Do you wonder where the data comes from and how to verify information displayed in visual form?
· Would you rather read a 100 page report or look at a visual presentation that conveys the story in less than one minute?
· Would you like to tell a compelling story about your library through the medium of infographics?
Visual representation of information has existed for hundreds of years in various forms and formats. Infographics (information graphics) represent the latest visual form to gain popularity. Telling an effective story through infographics requires accurate data, compelling design, and visualization tools.
During this one-hour webinar, we will discuss and demonstrate:
· blogs and infographic search resources to find examples and track trends
· differences between infographics, poster art, and data visualization
· common data sources used in infographics (big data and local sources)
· suggest library-specific data and statistics appropriate for visual presentation
· visualization tools for experimentation
This webinar will be of interest to library staff at all levels and in all types of libraries who need to present information to customers, stakeholders, and management. Senior staff and directors responsible for board reporting are especially encouraged to attend. If you are unable to attend the live event, you can access the archived version the day following the webinar. Check our archive listing at: http://infopeople.org/training/view/webinar/archived.
VRA Travel Award:
VRA Travel Awards are available for attendance at the 2013 VRA conference “Capitalizing on Creativity” in Providence, Rhode Island April 3-6. The deadline for receipt of applications will be Monday, November 26, 10 am EST. The list of recipients will be announced on the VRA listserv the third week of December.
A preliminary conference schedule with a listing of workshops and sessions has already been posted at: http://vra2013annualconference.sched.org and information about costs is posted here:http://www.vraweb.org/conferences/vra31/?page_id=8 and here: http://www.vraweb.org/conferences/vra31/?page_id=11
Before you apply, PLEASE READ “Travel Award Rules and Guidelines”, “Tips for VRA Travel Awards Applicants”, and “Types of Travel Awards”, all linked here as PDFs: http://www.vraweb.org/about/awards/index.html#travel
HERE’S THE LINK TO THE APPLICATION:
The form is also linked from the What’s New on the VRA homepage.
You do not need to be a member of the VRA to apply for a travel award, but please note that upon winning an award an applicant who is not a member of VRA must purchase a membership, with the option to use funding from the travel award to do this. This year by removing the membership requirement for all applicants, we hope to draw more interest and expand membership.
In order to allow funding to go further, Tansey awards will be distributed according to financial need i.e. full awards (up to $850) may be given to some, whilst lower amounts may be awarded to others with partial institutional/ other support.
For 2013, we are fortunate to have generous financial support from sponsors and funds provided by the membership:
* The Kathe Hicks Albrecht award of $850 for a first-time conference attendee
* Two New Horizons awards of $850 each. These awards are aimed at members in the following categories: solo VR professionals, part-time VR professionals, geographically isolated VR professionals, VR professionals in smaller institutions, and/or first-time attendees
* The Joseph C. Taormina Memorial award of $250 for an applicant with partial funding
* A New Horizons student award of $300, for a full-time student enrolled in an accredited degree program and considering a career in visual resources
* $4800 in Tansey fund awards ranging from $250 to $850 each
More awards may become available and will be announced on this listserv. Also, stay tuned and watch VRA-L and the VRA website for further details about the conference. Please email if you have any questions not answered by the documents noted above.
So don’t delay – apply today!
We look forward to receiving your applications,
Heidi Eyestone & Vicky Brown
Co-Chairs, VRA Travel Awards Committee
Visual Resources Collection
Art and Art History
One North College Street
Northfield, MN 55057
507 222-7042 fax
Vicky Brown, Visual Resources Curator
History of Art Department, University of Oxford
Suite 9, Littlegate House
Oxford OX1 1PT
+44 (0)1865 286839
Call for Book Chapters: Collecting the Contemporary (Book to be published by MuseumsEtc in 2013)
COLLECTING THE CONTEMPORARY
Edited by Owain Rhys and Zelda Baveystock
We invite international submissions to be included in this forthcoming book, to be published by MuseumsEtc in 2013.
The book will be edited by Owain Rhys, Curator of Contemporary Life at St Fagans: National History Museum, Wales and Zelda Baveystock, Lecturer in Arts Management and Museum Studies at Manchester University.
Why and how should social history museums engage with contemporary collecting? To fill gaps in the collection? To record modern urban life? To engage with minority communities? To link past and present? There are many possible responses… And many museums collect contemporary objects, stories, images and sounds – consciously or unconsciously. But reasoned policies and procedures are very often lacking. And – given the uniquely detailed record of contemporary life recorded by ubiquitous media – how best are museums to record and present contemporary life in their collections?
An overview of contemporary collecting in a social historical context is well overdue. Original source material, ideas, developments and research has never before been brought together in a single volume. This book will bring together practitioners from around the world to provide a contemporary and convenient reader which aims to lay the foundations for future initiatives.
We welcome submissions – of between 3000 and 5000 words – on the practice, theory and history of contemporary collecting in social history museums, based on – but not confined to – the following issues and themes. We are particularly interested in new and pioneering initiatives and innovative thinking in this field.
Projects (including community outreach, externally funded collection programmes, projects with specific goals)
Exhibitions (including popular culture, contemporary political issues, under-represented groups
Networks – including SAMDOK and other initiatives
Fieldwork and contemporary collecting
Adopting a scientific approach to contemporary collecting
The influence of the internet, how to collect, and associated museological issues
Contemporary collecting and contemporary issues
Access, storage and conservation issues
What to collect?
How to collect?
Who should collect?
Community involvement – advantages and disadvantages
Contemporary collecting – key priority or passing fad?
Definitions of contemporary collecting
Should contemporary collecting be object or people based?
Alternatives to the accepted norms
The case for nationally or regionally co-ordinated policies
The impact of social and digital media for the future of contemporary collecting
Origins and development of contemporary collecting
Differences between institutions and countries (e.g. Sweden’s ethnological approach v. Britain’s social history approach)
Owain Rhys has recently published Contemporary Collecting: Theory and Practice with MuseumsEtc. This book gathered together disparate strands of contemporary collecting theory and history, and provided an insight into current practices at St Fagans: National History Museum. Owain is interested in formalising definitions and procedures, and in strengthening the bonds between those museums involved in contemporary collecting. Zelda Baveystock has a longstanding interest in contemporary collecting. As the first Keeper of Contemporary Collecting at Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums, she established a subject specialist network of urban history museums actively involved in the field in 2004. She has lectured and taught on the subject in the UK, and in Sweden.
If you are interested in being considered as a contributor, please send an abstract (up to 250 words) and a short biography to both the editors and the publishers at the following addresses: firstname.lastname@example.org,email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org by 10 December 2012. Enquiries should also be sent to these addresses. Contributors will receive a complimentary copy of the publication and a discount on more.
The book will be published in print and digital editions by MuseumsEtc in 2013.
ABSTRACTS: 10 DECEMBER 2012
CONTRIBUTORS NOTIFIED: 11 JANUARY 2013
COMPLETED PAPERS: 2 APRIL 2013