Visual Resources Association Conference Recap

New Members BreakfastThis is an update from the 25th Anniversary Visual Resources Association conference, held from March 27 – 31, 2007 in Kansas City, MO. Apologies for the abbreviated nature of these comments – I’m afraid that I’ll never get around to it if I don’t post them now!

Sessions and Speakers of Interest:

  • Cavalcade of Interoperability
    • Mark Pompelia of Rice University spoke on the challenges of the web-based MDID, open source Sakai courseware, and CCO metadata display.
    • Brooke Cox of DePauw University enlightened attendees on her strategies to export image sets out of Insight into the Blackboard environment.
    • Rebecca Price of University of Michigan talked about integration of images into a single institutional federated search feature, including difficulties with maintaining operative link resolvers. Exciting buzz-words in this presentation: linking to OCLC WorldCat identities and providing tag cloud browsing!
    • Alex Martinez of University of Denver dove into exciting territory to discuss their institutional Learning Object Repository, which expedites cataloging as well as image delivery to learning management systems like Blackboard.
  • Strategies for Data Migration in the Age of CCO and VRA Core 4.o
    • Trish Rose of University of California, Berkeley, gave an excellent outline of steps to follow when managing a data migration project. In short,
      • View your data
      • Map your data
      • Normalize your data
      • Backup your data
      • Migrate! your data
      • Do quality control and clean up your data
    • Johanna Bauman, Bard Graduate Center discussed her work with IRIS (Image Resources Information System) and Servoy.
    • Susan Jane Williams of Saskia Ltd and Scholars Resource shared her experiences with migrating data and Vireocat using XML natural language tags.
    • Billy Kwan rounded out the panel talking about the Met’s use of MediaBin software.
  • From Fair Use to Fair Trading
    • Tina Updike, James Madison University – I arrived late to this session, so I don’t have any notes for this portion! Yikes!
    • Andreas Knab, James Madison University spoke on MDID (naturally) and potential for sharing images through its API (Application Programming Interface – don’t worry, I had to look it up too).
    • Allan Kohl, Minneapolis College of Art and Design gave the most entertaining presentation on his image-sharing projects throughout his career. This is a great example of the contributions a very committed individual can make toward a community. (BTW, Allan was the lyrical mastermind behind the stunning VRAvue at the end of the conference).
    • Richard Urban, University of Illinios-Urbana/Champaign talked about metadata harvesting using OAI (Open Archives Initiative) and the IMLS Digital Collections and Content project. View his presentation here! Also, check out the Metadata for You and Me project!
  • Color Management: From A to Z
    • Way too much information from this session to relate in this post – sorry, its something that I can’t even begin to discern from my scribbled notes! In brief, Tammi Moe (Virginia Commonwealth University, Quatar), Alexander Nichols (Michigan State University), and Eric Schwab (Ontario College of Art and Design) bowled the audience over with RGB vs. CMKY, 6500 degrees Kelvin, and gamma curves!
  • Image Indexing
    • Joan Beaudoin read a paper on her study of “The influence of domain knowledge, indexer experience and image type on image indexing.”
    • Dr. Jun-ran Park couldn’t make it to the conference, so Joan Beaudoin read her paper titled “Semantic Interoperability across Digital Image Collections.”
    • Dr. Judith Klavans presented further information on the CLIMB (Computational Linguistics for Metadata Building) project, which is a program which pulls image metadata from accompanying text sources. Click for presentation.
    • Megan Winget talked about her exploratory research on flickr, including the idea that the folksonomic tagging vocabulary is more consistent than perceived.

Richard Urban did a great job of capturing his impressions of the conference as well – check out his post at Musematic. I know there were other ArLiSNAPers at VRA this year, so please comment on this post or share your thoughts in another full blog post!


  1. Just to set the record straight…

    I presented a paper on a research study I conducted titled “The influence of domain knowledge, indexer experience and image type on image indexing,” at the Visual Resources Association Annual Conference in Kansas City, MO last year. Dr. Park couldn’t make it to the conference, so I read her paper titled “Semantic Interoperability across Digital Image Collections.”

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