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Event Notes: Meet the Author of Picasso: The Making of Cubism 1912-1914 (E-Book)On Tuesday, September 23, 2014, members of ARLIS/NY attended a launch event for The Museum of Modern Art’s (MoMA) first digital-only publication, Picasso: The Making of Cubism 1912-1914, held at MoMA Library. This event featured a demonstration of the e-book and discussion with the editor, Anne Umland, the Blanchette Hooker Rockefeller Curator of Painting and Sculpture at MoMA. The event was followed by a reception on the library terrace. Picasso: The Making of Cubism 1912-1914 is the first monographic e-book to be allowed by the Estate of Pablo Picasso. At 350 pages, the publication serves as an in-depth study of 15 objects made by Picasso between 1912-1914, a period in which the artist engaged in cross-medium studio practice with cardboard, sheet metal, drawing, painting, photography, and assemblages. The e-book took three years to prepare, longer than originally anticipated. As the tenth volume in the series Studies in Modern Art, the publication includes 300 unique high-resolution images, videos, essays, documentation, and detailed conservation notes on materials used by Picasso during this period. Picasso: The Making of Cubism 1912-1914 is available for purchase as an iPad application from the Apple store or as an interactive enhanced PDF via the MoMA store. There are not many differences between the iPad app and the enhanced PDF, although the zoom functionality only exists within the app. MoMA is not planning to update the app regularly, as it is considered a complete publication at this time. At the launch event, librarians were encouraged to provide access to the e-book, in enhanced PDF form, to their respective patrons. The author noted that future negotiations with library e-book providers, such as OverDrive and 3M Cloud Library, will address the issue of having to flatten the enhanced PDF in order to provide distribution via their established platforms. Several concerns were brought up during the discussion, such as digital rights management (DRM) protections and long-term preservation and access to the e-book. Once the enhanced PDF is downloaded, it’s a “whole” publication in perpetuity, however, MoMA will have to go back and renew the term of license for 287 of the images after a five year period. Additionally, preserving and providing for continued access to the iPad app poses another complex challenge to art libraries that seek to add this title to their collections. Many of us grapple with the shifting perception of digital publications versus their print counterparts. What does a digital platform allow for that a printed book does not? Does it offer archival, visual or textural advantages? With the publication of Picasso: The Making of Cubism 1912-1914, MoMA has demonstrated a commitment to contributing a fresh perspective on Pablo Picasso, one that represents immersive and collaborative digital scholarship in an ever-advancing and evolving publishing landscape. by Sumitra Duncan, NYARC Web Archiving Program Coordinator
Member Spotlight: Karl-Rainer BlumenthalName: Karl-Rainer BlumenthalTitle: National Digital Stewardship Resident (NDSR)Institution/Organization: New York Art Resources Consortium (NYARC)School: Drexel UniversityWhat made you decide to join ARLIS/NY?It’s the community of practice, and above all its eagerness to support its members, that immediately drew me to ARLIS/NY. Coming to a new city, diploma barely in hand, and into an especially challenging new job, I was thrilled to find a network of professionals so accomplished and equally generous with their experience. Can you describe your primary job responsibilities as the National Digital Stewardship Resident at NYARC?I’ll spend my residency designing and implementing best practices for quality assurance, preservation metadata, and archival storage in the web archiving program shared among the Frick Art Reference Library, and the libraries of the Brooklyn Museum and The Museum of Modern Art. This project has made incredible—and incredibly swift—strides already. My challenge is to make sure that the work can continue and even streamline in its next iteration, and that still further generations of stewards can access and share the that resources we capture today. NYARC is definitely blazing this trail for the field, so it’s equal parts exciting and scary to set the standards by which web-native art reference materials will be captured, preserved, and stored in general. I’ll work closely with the librarians, consultants, and interns at each institution to make sure I’m addressing their vital concerns all along the way. I’ll share updates from the project as well as other news from the world of digital preservation on the NDSR residents’ new blog at: http://ndsr.nycdigital.org.As someone who is new to New York, what has surprised you about the city?New York certainly moves at its own pace—I’ve noticed that I’m already about three times faster than the average pedestrian back home in Philadelphia! Still, there are more opportunities to slow down, quiet down, and enjoy the city, it’s places, and it’s people than I think I expected. New Yorkers really do seem to take advantage of all of the amazing cultural resources at their disposal, but if you know where to look, you can also still escape to a walkable, tree-lined neighborhood with small town charm. Do you have any advice for students or recent graduates like yourself?The challenges we face as librarians and archivists are getting more complex all the time, so picking up brand new skills and competencies obviously can’t end with your degree. We all have to advocate publicly and enthusiastically for our profession and our professional development if we want to keep pace with radical technological change. Definitely take advantage of the network that ARLIS and other professional groups provide you, but try to give as much as you take. Meet-ups, workshops, hackathons and the like are great opportunities to both learn from and teach your peers while the resources for more formal educational programs are scarce. What is your favorite aspect of being an information specialist?Without a doubt it’s the mandate that the profession gives me to constantly keep learning, and the opportunity to apply that learning in new, unexpected environments. Having good information acumen, curiosity, and a little bit of tact has enabled me to practice in settings with radically different needs, but similar power to change the way I see the world.Do you have a favorite museum or gallery?Coming from Philadelphia, I’ve been spoiled by some great landmark institutions like the Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Barnes Foundation, and the Rodin Museum. Still, whenever a friend makes the trip down to the city I always implore them to first visit the Mütter Museum—a fantastically quirky collection of medical oddities and specimens. Around Halloween they even host sleepover nights complete with flashlight tours, ghost stories, and séances! Image: Making timelapses of downtown Philly from the Cira Center tower in 2013 (photo by Sahar Coston-Hardy)
Conference Report: 42nd ARLIS/NA ConferenceThank you to ARLIS/NY for awarding me the Celine Palatsky Travel Award, which helped defray the costs of attending this year’s ARLIS/NA annual conference in Washington, DC.I flew into DC on Thursday morning, arriving just in time to join the Archives of American Art (AAA) tour. It was exciting to see some of the AAA’s amazing holdings in person, in preparation for its upcoming exhibition on artists’ models. We also learned about its archival processing and digitization workflows.The conference hotel’s central location meant that I was able to easily walk over to the National Portrait Gallery and Smithsonian American Art Museum, the National Gallery of Art, and the National Museum of Women in the Arts to take in the Garry Winogrand and Meret Oppenheim exhibitions over the course of the weekend.On Friday morning, I went on the tour of the Folger Shakespeare Library. It provided a great overview of its space (including a gorgeous reading room) and collections. We toured the photography lab and heard about its imaging operations as well. I appreciated the “backstage” view of library operations as well as tours of public spaces.ARLIS/NA conferences offer an interesting combination of tours, meetings, presentations, poster sessions, and opportunities to talk informally with colleagues, whether at a reception, in the exhibits, or in the halls between sessions. I spent some time in the exhibits talking to representatives from Bloomsbury, Alexander Street Press, and other vendors of books and databases. I attended meetings for two very different but similarly new special interest groups (SIG): the Fashion, Textile, and Costume SIG, and the Digital Humanities SIG, as well as a number of excellent sessions.For me, the most interesting parts of the Future of Art Bibliography Initiative Update session were the presentations on collaborative web archiving for art history and the WorldCat Art Discovery Group Catalog, which aims to create a sustainable, functional, unified platform for discovery of material within the discipline of art history. This is a response to diversifying types of resources required for research—datasets and digital materials in addition to print collections.Reinventing the Scholarly Collection Catalogue for the Online Age highlighted a number of projects that expand the idea of an e-book to take advantage of the online format, and also discussed questions related to copyright, authoritativeness, permanence, cataloging, and publication.The session called The Politics of Digitization included Patricia Fidler from Yale University Press discussing the acclaimed app created for Joseph Albers’ book, The Interaction of Color, in the context of findings from a study of art history faculty about e-publishing, and the challenges of e-publishing in the arts. Clayton Kirking, Debbie Kempe, and Billy Parrott talked about challenges of digitization and the popular assumption that most library collections should be or have been digitized, and that digitization is the best strategy for both preservation and access.The conference was an invigorating and inspiring experience, as usual. I left feeling more connected to my colleagues and aware of initiatives and concerns at other institutions. The conference organizers really went above and beyond for the social events. The reception at Dumbarton Oaks was lovely, and everyone was clearly having a great time during both the convocation and reception at the Library of Congress. I was glad to see so many sessions addressing the digital shift (or, as Carole-Ann Fabian called it, “the digital tipping point”) from the art library perspective. The themes I heard repeatedly were that art librarians need to be well-informed and well-connected to evolve and collaborate, and I felt that this year’s conference facilitated those goals.Lindsay King, 2014 Recipient of the Celine Palatsky Travel AwardImage: (left to right) Jina Park and Lindsay King
Conference Report: 42nd ARLIS/NA ConferenceThis past May, with the generous support of ARLIS/NY, I was fortunate enough to attend the 42nd Annual ARLIS/NA Conference in Washington, DC, as a recipient of the Celine Palatsky Travel Award. As an emerging art library professional and recent graduate, receiving this award means a lot—not only for the much-welcome financial assistance but also for the vote of confidence it provided me as I launch into my career. As a second-year conference attendee, I knew this conference would afford me with rich and unique opportunities to interact with leaders in art librarianship, learn about emerging and existing issues in the field, and a chance to share my own ideas and experiences with my peers. Although I was not able to attend all of the sessions that caught my eye, a few distinctly memorable ones were “Politics, Power, and Preservation,” “Picturing Dissent: Documentation of Labor Movements’ Actions from the Late 19th Century to the Present” and “All Power to the People: Collecting and Preserving Art of Social Movements.” Each really spoke to the conference theme of the intersection of politics and art and brought up interesting issues of preservation—a particular area of interest for me. I also had the chance to attend the Collection Development special interest group and listen in on the discussion of achievements and hurdles faced by collection development staff from several illustrious institutions across the country. I also really enjoyed the Poster sessions and the huge variety of topics they covered. I was really intrigued by the “Seen Obscene” poster by Jaye Fishel, which dealt with censorship of sexually explicit materials in library collections. However, the biggest highlight of the conference was definitely the Convocation and Reception at the Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress. Having free-reign of the Main Reading Room, Great Hall, and exhibitions spaces was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that reminded we what I love so much about librarianship. On Sunday morning, I was one of four speakers on “The Politics of Diversity in the Art Library Profession” panel, discussing the racial and ethnic diversity stumbling blocks I faced in library school, how they shaped my outlook on librarianship as a whole, and how mentorship from other librarians of color was a key factor that helped me to grapple with these issues. I am so grateful to have shared a panel with Charlene Maxey-Harris, Eumie Imm Stroukoff and Mark Pompelia. It was truly inspiring to hear them discuss how their lives and careers have been affected by different issues of diversity in our field and how their leadership has brought these obstacles to light.Although there were many highlights to that weekend, meeting and re-connecting with so many librarians—who generously offered words of wisdom and invaluable advice—was hands-down the high point. Of all the professional conferences I’ve attended, I’d safely say that ARLIS/NA has been the most encouraging and welcoming. Thank you again to ARLIS/NY for its kindhearted support and I look forward to the many ARLIS/NA conferences in my future. Jina Park, 2014 Recipient of the Celine Palatsky Travel AwardImage: Jina is the second from the right in the photo.