The Getty Research Institute has published the third edition of the very important “Introduction to Metadata” book edited by Murtha Baca.
As a specialist in metadata related to art and architectural resources, this text is practically my bible, and any update is most heartily welcome. In addition to providing a basic overview of metadata, it’s importance, and offering best-practice guidelines for it’s creation, this new edition contains information on linked open data, as well as resource description framework, making it an essential primer for anyone wanting to understand the importance of creating, editing, and preserving good metadata. There are also a chapter on rights metadata and a very thorough glossary.
Any digital project begins with well-defined, and well-formed, digital assets. I found this model and illustration a great example of how and where to begin when undertaking a digitization project.
As explained in the FAQ, “The model shows the logical sequence of receiving, appraising, selecting (or disposing of) data, followed by ingest and subsequent actions such as preservation, storage, access, and possibly transformations or reappraisals of the data. The model allows curators to identify potential weaknesses in policies, or gaps in the archival chain. It also identifies ongoing concerns such as community watch which could be incorporated into working practice, and identifies other stakeholders as sources or users of data, or as people who could pick up the process where your institution’s responsibilities end.”
Earlier this year, ARTstor announced that it was forming an alliance with ITHAKA, which currently operates JSTOR, Protico, and Ithaka S + R. Having ARTstor linked to JSTOR provides researchers not only with high-quality images of works of art, but also a wealth of research materials about that work.
Exploring Rembrandt is a “proof of concept” site produced by JSTOR labs and ARTstor labs using 5 Rembrandt paintings. Users can select one of the paintings, download a high-quality image from ARTstor, view the metadata provided by the owning institution, and find articles about the work via JSTOR.
In a recent blog post, Google Cultural Institute announced that they have begun using a custom-built camera to capture “ultra-high resolution ‘gigapixel’ images” of artwork from museums around the world. Putting these large, high-quality images of artwork online provides tremendous opportunities to scholars, researchers, museum professionals, and the general public, who can now view artwork in great detail, yet do so remotely.
There are currently about 1,000 images available here, and more will be added as more museums receive the cameras and begin photographing their collections.
Recently, the College Art Association and the Society for Architectural Historians released a very useful document. The Guidelines for the Evaluation of Digital Scholarship in Art and Architectural History is intended to “provide an extensible structure for scholars, academic departments, review committees, and others to employ when assessing digital scholarship. Though flexible, these guidelines offer concrete assistance to our colleagues as they develop best practices in their own institutional guidelines and establish benchmarks of excellence and accomplishment in the realm of digital scholarship.”
The guidelines cover definitions and criteria for assessment, forms of publication and evaluation, and collaboration. It’s the perfect document on which to build as digital scholarship moves forward in both museum and academic settings.
CAA, the College Art Association, recently announced that they are adding a new feature to their “CAA Reviews,” the site where CAA members review books, exhibits, and projects on all areas and periods of art history. That new feature is reviewing digital art history projects!!
The first entry is an essay written by Pamela Fletcher entitled, “Reflections on Digital Art History.” In the essay, after quoting Paul Jaskot’s call for a digital art history that “[puts] the intellectual problem (rather than a method) at the center of the discussion,” Fletcher writes, “One of the goals of the new field editorship in “Digital Humanities and Art History” for caa.reviews is to help answer that call, bringing more visibility to digital art history projects and creating space for discussion of both their art-historical and technological achievements.”
The Getty Research Institute recently announced the launch of the Getty Scholar’s Workspace. As described on the website, “Getty Scholars’ Workspace™ is an online environment designed to support collaborative art-historical research. It provides a space and a toolset that enable research teams to examine digital surrogates of works of art and primary source materials, build a bibliography, translate and annotate texts, and exchange ideas. With Scholars’ Workspace, research and communication are consolidated into a single online location accessible from anywhere.”
The Workspace includes multiple tools including a bibliography builder, tools for uploading, editing, and comparing images, a tool for annotating text and images, and a forum. The possibilities for collaborative scholarship are rather far-reaching!!
While the Workspace can be installed on one’s own computer, it is recommended that it be installed on a shared server by an IT professional.
The International Image Interoperability Framework, or IIIF, is a framework that specifies common interfaces for interacting with images on the Web. It provides an open framework for organizations to publish their image-based resources, to be viewed, cited, annotated, and more by any compatible image-viewing application
More and more institutions are adopting the use of IIIF to make their images and metadata more accessible and interoperable with other systems. More information can be found at the IIIF homepage.
I was recently introduced to a great new collection database that’s open-source and free to the public, called Collective Access.
The program is web-based, uses accepted data schemas like Dublin Core and VRA Core and is customizable. It also provides features needed by museums, including storage information and loan tracking. Users can also import data sets like ULAN or WorldCat.
Documentation is provided for setting up. There is also a wiki and a forum to assist those who need it. For a free, easy-to-install product, Collective Access seems like a really nice product!
HASTAC, the Humanities, Arts, Science and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory, have issued a list of tools useful for those engaged in the digital humanities.
The Digital Humanities Toolbox lists programs and applications useful for media creation, project management, mapping, data visualization, reference systems, and text processing and annotation. The list is a great start for sharing resources and will be updated regularly.