Call for Reviewers: October Issue of ARLIS/NA Multimedia & Technology Reviews

ARLIS/NA Multimedia & Technology Reviews Needs You!

ARLIS/NA Multimedia & Technology Reviews Co-editors are seeking volunteers to author reviews for the October 2018 issue. To volunteer, choose a resource from the list below and complete our Reviewer Interest form (https://goo.gl/forms/mpOOJZaCBb6wIXpA2) by Tuesday, July 31.

Initial draft submissions are due Monday, September 3.

Contributing to ARLIS/NA Multimedia & Technology Reviews is a great opportunity to get involved with the Society, learn about interesting new resources, and help shape the publication. Please feel free to read the complete review guidelines and direct comments and questions about the reviews to arlisna.mtr@gmail.com.

 

Submitted by ARLIS/NA Multimedia & Technology Reviews Co-editors:

Melanie Emerson

Gabriella Karl-Johnson

Alexandra Provo

 

Resources for Review: We seek reviewers for the following resources.

**The snippets below are taken from each resource’s web page and are not necessarily the opinions of the M&T Reviews Co-Editors

 

Hugh Edwards

http://media.artic.edu/edwards/

Hugh Edwards was one of the most influential, yet least known, photography curators in America. During his time at the Art Institute, he worked with remarkable enthusiasm and prescience to build the museum’s photography collection and expand its exhibition program, acquiring some three thousand works and organizing seventy-five shows. In a field that was still young, Edwards helped to shape institutional practices and the public’s understanding of photography in Chicago as well as across the country.

 

Picturing Places

https://www.bl.uk/picturing-places

A new free online resource which explores the Library’s extensive holdings of landscape imagery. The British Library’s huge collection of historic prints and drawings is a treasure trove waiting to be discovered. Picturing Places showcases works of art by well-known artists such as Thomas Gainsborough and J.M.W. Turner alongside images by a multitude of lesser-known figures. Only a few have ever been seen or published before.

 

Connect Vermeer

http://connectvermeer.org/

For many art lovers and museum visitors, Johannes Vermeer stands out as the mysterious genius of Dutch seventeenth-century genre painting. However, as this website reveals, he was not working in isolation. …Through a series of interactive visualisations, this website allows users to discover the network of connections between Vermeer and his sixteen contemporaries. Users can discover the strength and likelihood of relationships between the seventeen artists, the impact of an individual artist’s paintings on the work of his contemporaries, as well as how artists adopted, adapted and disguised elements, from their peers’ work, in their own paintings.

 

Parker Library on the Web

https://parker.stanford.edu/parker

The Parker Library’s holdings of Old English texts account for a substantial proportion of all extant manuscripts in Anglo-Saxon, including the earliest copy of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (c. 890), unique copies of Old English poems and other texts, and King Alfred’s translation of Gregory the Great’s Pastoral Care. The Parker Library also contains key Anglo-Norman and Middle English texts ranging from the Ancrene Wisse and the Brut Chronicle to one of the finest copies of Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde. Other subjects represented in the collection are theology, music, medieval travelogues and maps, apocalypses, bestiaries, royal ceremonies, historical chronicles and Bibles. The Parker Library holds a magnificent collection of English illuminated manuscripts, such as the Bury and Dover Bibles (c. 1135 and c. 1150) and the Chronica maiora by Matthew Paris (c. 1230-50). Scholars in a variety of disciplines – including historians of art, music, science, literature, politics and religion – find invaluable resources in the Library’s collection.

 

Clyfford Still: The Works on Paper

http://pubs.clyffordstillmuseum.org/worksonpaper/

Clyfford Still (1904–1980) may have explored the potential of drawing more than any other artist of his time. The sheer volume (more than 2,300) and variety of Still’s works on paper reveal the centrality of drawing within his lifelong creative process. Over six decades, Still explored (and showed considerable mastery of) the entire range of drawing media—graphite, charcoal, pastel, crayon, pen and ink, oil paint, gouache, and tempera on paper—as well as the printmaking techniques of lithography, etching, woodcut, and silkscreen. Examined together, these works on paper tell the story of an artist who never lost an experimental and curious approach to his art, even as his mature work became quintessentially deliberate and monumental.

 

Vincent van Gogh: The Letters

http://vangoghletters.org/vg/letters.html

All the surviving letters written and received by Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890) are contained in this edition of his correspondence. Excepting only the digital form in which they are now being published, this is the continuation of a long tradition.

 

Faces of Frida

https://artsandculture.google.com/project/frida-kahlo

Faces of Frida is a collaboration between the tech giant and a worldwide network of experts and 33 partner museums in seven countries. Accessible via the Google Arts & Culture app and website, Faces of Frida is the largest collection of artworks and objects related to Kahlo ever compiled.

 

Palmyra

http://www.getty.edu/palmyra

In this 21st century, war in Syria has irrevocably changed the ancient caravan city of Palmyra, famed as a meeting place of civilizations since its apogee in the mid-2nd to 3rd century CE. The Romans and Parthians knew Palmyra as a wealthy oasis metropolis, a center of culture and trade on the edge of their empires. Stretching some three kilometers across the Tadmurean desert, the ruins of Palmyra, like all ruins, stand as bearers of meaning marking their place in history. For centuries, traveling artists and explorers have documented the site in former states of preservation. Created as a tribute to Palmyra, this online exhibition captures the site as it was photographed for the first time by Louis Vignes in 1864 and illustrated in the 18th century by the architect Louis-François Cassas. Their works contribute to Palmyra’s legacy, one that goes far beyond the stones of its once great buildings.

ARLIS/NA Multimedia & Technology Reviews Needs You!

*Early-career and new professionals are encouraged to apply*

ARLIS/NA Multimedia & Technology Reviews Co-editors are seeking volunteers to author reviews for the August 2018 issue. To volunteer, choose a resource from the list below and complete our Reviewer Interest form (https://goo.gl/forms/4K4RgU5Gv9dLHIKo1) by Monday, June 4.

 Initial draft submissions are due Monday, July 2, 2018

 Contributing to ARLIS/NA Multimedia & Technology Reviews is a great opportunity to get involved with the Society, learn about interesting new resources, and help shape the publication. Please feel free to read the complete review guidelines and direct comments and questions about the reviews to arlisna.mtr@gmail.com.

 Submitted by ARLIS/NA Multimedia & Technology Reviews Co-editors:

Melanie Emerson

Gabriella Karl-Johnson

Alexandra Provo

Resources for Review: We seek reviewers for the following resources.

  1. Bibliotheca Palatina – Digital: http://digi.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/en/bpd/index.html
  2. The Cultural Histories Series:https://www.bloomsburyculturalhistory.com/
  3. Edcat:https://edcat.net/
  4. New Directory of Art Historians:http://www.arthistorians.info/

Resources for Review: We seek reviewers for the following resources.

**The snippets below are taken from each resource’s web page and are not necessarily the opinions of the M&T Reviews Co-Editors

Bibliotheca Palatina – Digital

http://digi.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/en/bpd/index.html

A Virtual Reconstruction of the Former Crown Jewel of Germany’s Libraries

One of the consequences of the Thirty Years’ War was that the most important collection of books in the 17th century Holy Roman Empire, the Bibliotheca Palatina, was divided between two principal locations: Heidelberg and the Vatican. Since 2001, Heidelberg University Library has been working on several projects that aim to digitize parts of this great collection, the final goal being a complete virtual reconstruction of the ‘mother of all libraries’

The Cultural Histories Series

https://www.bloomsburyculturalhistory.com/

The Cultural Histories Series offers an authoritative survey of a wide range of subjects throughout history. Each subject is looked at in Antiquity, the Medieval Age, the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, the Age of Empire and the Modern Age and thematic coverage is consistent across all periods so that users can either gain a broad overview of a period or follow a theme through the ages.

** Reviewer will have access to the trial subscription.

Edcat

https://edcat.net/

edcat is an open catalogue for art editions and publications. Search a fast growing database of artists publications. On edcat you can manage your edition collection and your watchlist, sell and buy them on the marketplace. Contribute and help building the best resource for artists’ editions.

New Directory of Art Historians

http://www.arthistorians.info/

A thirty-year-old resource emerged today as a modern reference tool for art history. The Dictionary of Art Historians, http://www.arthistorians.info/, announced a new interface, data structure, and user options, the product of a year-long redesign. The original tool, a website since 1996, was developed privately by Lee Sorensen, the art and visual studies librarian at Duke University. Duke’s Wired! Lab for digital art history & visual culture sponsored the project beginning in 2016. The new DAH offers searchable data on over 2400 art historians, museum directors, and art-writers of western art from all time periods.

Archives Research & Processing Fellowship

Archives Research & Processing Fellowship, 2.5 days/week

The New Museum Archives seeks an Archives Research & Processing Fellow to support the processing of records in the New Museum’s collections. The New Museum Archives document the New Museum’s history of presenting groundbreaking exhibitions, performances, public programs and civic initiatives, spanning from its founding in 1977 to the present day. Reporting to the New Museum Archivist, the fellow will assist with all aspects of collections processing, with tasks including:

  • Conducting research to identify records and relationships between record groups.
  • Assisting with the creation of finding aids and container lists.
  • Identifying items in need of preservation intervention.
  • Cataloging and re-housing photographic materials.
  • Identifying subjects and events in archival photographs.
  • Recommending items for digitization.
  • Assisting with digitization workflows, as needed.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Graduate coursework in Art History or Library/Archival Science. Must be currently enrolled student, or starting in Fall 2018.
  • Experience performing archival research and familiarity with handling of archival photos and documents.
  • Background in art history, particularly contemporary art and performance.
  • Experience arranging, describing, and rehousing archival collections, highly desirable.
  • Familiarity with preventative conservation and its application within archival collections.
  • Ability to work in a fast-paced production environment and make workflow changes on the fly.
  • Experience cataloging in a content management system or OPAC, especially Collective Access.
  • Familiarity with digitization specifications and media formats.
  • Editorial and academic writing/publishing experience, a plus. Experience with Adobe Creative Suite, also a plus.

Instructions:

Application reviews will begin immediately, and the position will remain open until filled. This is a temporary 8-12 month position. Interested candidates should send a cover letter, list of three references, and current resume with links to portfolios and writings to archive@newmuseum.org with subject line “Archives Research Fellowship”. Professional and academic letters of recommendation are welcome, and may be sent separately. Applicants who are selected for the position are expected to keep regular weekly hours, to be negotiated in advance with the Archivist, and will be paid with a monthly stipend. Course credit may be arranged.

Please welcome your new Social Media Liaison: Larry Eames

Hi Hi! My name Larry Eames (she and he pronouns) and I’m excited to be serving as your social media coordinator!

I’m currently working on my MLIS at the University of Washington iSchool and working at Suzzallo Library as a Graduate Reference Assistant in Government Publications, Maps, Microforms, and Newspapers. You can find me personally on Twitter @liblarrian. I’m excited to get more involved with ArLiSNAP after the 2018 New York ArLiSNA conference and I’m even more excited to connect with all of you!
Before Library School, I received a BA in Religious Studies and an MA in the Humanities focused on Art History and Print Culture. Outside of class, I play D&D and enjoy knitting and listening to podcasts on Seattle’s many rainy days. Right now, I’m hooked on Spirits Podcast, the CBC’s Because News, and Scriptnotes, but I’m always taking recs.

A Success Story: An Interview with Jenny Ferretti, Digital Initiatives Librarian at the Maryland Institute College of Art

Can you tell us a little bit about your background, your current position, and how you got into the field of (art) librarianship?

I’m a first-generation American Latina; both of my parents emigrated to the United States from Central America. I never considered librarianship as a career because I didn’t know what librarians did. I had no real connection to the library or librarians. Before becoming a librarian, I had never met a Latinx librarian, which may have contributed to why I didn’t see myself in this profession.

I went to Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) and got my BFA in Photography. If it hadn’t been for MICA, I wouldn’t have gone to college and I probably wouldn’t be a librarian. I was a difficult, underachieving student in middle and high school because I didn’t learn like everyone else, and no one, including myself, had the patience to realize this. If my fine art practice hadn’t been something I wanted to pursue in college, I don’t know what would’ve become of me. MICA led me to a career in librarianship because in order to graduate, the Photography program requires students to complete an internship. I interned at a private, non-profit museum/library and it was there I realized digitizing museum and library collections was a job. After completing the internship, I got a part-time job there and after graduating I stayed there part-time and got a part-time paid internship position at Smithsonian Institution’s Anthropological Archives. I stayed at both part-time jobs for about a year, then pitched a full-time job at the museum/library (complete with budget projections and digitization program plans) and ended up getting it. I stayed there for about five years before applying to Pratt Institute’s School of Information.

At Pratt I concentrated on Digital Humanities (DH), getting as much digital tools experience as possible in the classroom and as much archives-related experience outside the classroom. While in NYC, I worked at a variety of institutions, including Pratt Institute, Columbia University, New York Public Library, and Barnard College. Pratt’s program was exactly what I was looking for. I wanted to be challenged, particularly in the area of technology and user experience work. After moving back to Baltimore in 2014, I worked in the Library & Archives department at Smithsonian Channel archiving their born-digital assets for about a year.

When I saw the opening for my position, Digital Initiatives Librarian, at MICA, I thought this would be the perfect job to engage two areas I absolutely love: tech and art/design. I had no connection to the library when I was an undergraduate student. This would be my opportunity to engage with a student like me when I was in college. I had what it takes to bridge the gap between artist and archivist/librarian. I wanted to share this knowledge and explore the ways in which DH work could be integrated in the fine art/design context.

Tell us something fun about yourself! What do you do in your spare time? If you could take a trip to visit any library in the world, which would it be?
If I had to base my response on my instagram feed, my favorite things are baseball, sneakers, plants, working, music, being Latina, dogs, family and friends, and eating! Some of my favorite things to do are go to the movies, Bike Party, and dancing. I come from a family who likes to have fun, so we’re generally in a celebratory mood!

I’d love to visit the Stony Island Arts Bank, founded by artist Theaster Gates and I’d love to visit libraries or archives in Nicaragua or El Salvador to try to find any records about my family.

What does a typical day at work look like for you?
This is a tough question because I don’t often have ‘typical’ days! One of the best things about my job is that my day-to-day can be unpredictable and varied. I could be doing a research consultation, in a meeting about something web-related (most recently I’ve been involved in researching a MICA-wide DAMS), creating social media posts for Decker Library, doing collection development for the Film and Video Collection or my liaison areas, less often teaching, etc. My team, the Digital Initiatives Unit, is in charge of the digital presence for the library (which includes the website and social media). Between that and being a liaison librarian, those are the things that take up most of my time.

Do you have any advice for current students and/or those on the job market?
My advice always includes do your research. Make a spreadsheet of all the places you’d like to work – I think my list had around 35 institutions – with links to their job opportunities and check them frequently. I would check them several times a week, especially when I was close to graduating. I looked at the job titles and anything else about people who already worked at these institutions. I would also research the institution, staff, and average salaries.

I would also suggest meeting with your advisor, a trusted faculty member, or using your school’s career development center. A career development center might also help with salary negotiations.

Also, keep in mind that your position might shift priorities. My position originally was not supposed to teach at all and I was not supposed to staff the reference desk regularly (granted I only do two hours per week). I was okay with these changes because I wanted to get instruction experience. But that meant that I had to start reading about pedagogy (which I wish I had done a lot more in school).

Finally, I’d say build up your peer network. Find people who will have your back and be honest about applying for jobs, read your resumes/cover letters, etc. Applying for jobs can involve intense, emotional labor. Find your people and support them as you would want to be supported.

What were/are some challenges for you as a librarian? Are these related to larger challenges in art librarianship or the field in general?
On a personal level, balancing my time between being a manager of a unit and liaison librarian has been the most challenging. I’m lucky our library director gives me room to vent, express what I like or dislike, helps me prioritize my time if I’m feeling stressed, etc.

In terms of librarianship as a profession, I think the most challenging has been to have an open, honest dialogue about what librarianship, particularly art librarianship, is and what our values as a profession should be. Lately I’ve been writing and presenting about whiteness and neutrality in librarianship. Coming to terms with the overwhelming whiteness of this profession is the only way we can hope to change the profession’s demographics. As a woman of color, this has been challenging because many people try to derail the discussion because they view it as a personal attack. After being awarded a Library Journal 2018 Movers & Shakers award for my work with the library and archive workers of color group We Here, I know now is the time to have these difficult discussions and rethink/redesign inclusion and equity initiatives.

A Success Story: An Interview with Margaret Huang, Digital Archivist at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Can you tell us a little bit about your background, your current position, and how you got into the field of (art) librarianship?
I received an MLIS from the University Pittsburgh in the Archives, Preservation, and Records Management track. I am currently the Digital Archivist at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. I have been interested in working with and around art ever since I got a job in high school in the gift shop of a museum. During undergrad, I was an art history minor and also happened to get a work study position in my college library’s digitization lab. This is when I started to piece together my career path. I considered pursuing a Masters in Museum Studies but ultimately decided that an MLIS could be a more flexible degree.

What does a typical day at work look like for you?
My position recently pivoted to focus on one specific project so my typical work day right now involves a lot of noodling around in XML/JSON and Excel spreadsheets since I am deep into the metadata creation phase of the project. It is broken up by some of my other responsibilities as issues arise, such as maintaining our ArchivesSpace and Preservica instances, developing digital preservation policies and procedures, answering reference questions, participating in discussions surrounding our time-based media art (I am currently the mentor for our NDSR Art resident on our project: Planning for Time-Based Media Artwork Preservation), and whatever else may come up!

Do you have any advice for current students and/or those on the job market?
My advice to current students and/or those on the job market is to hustle. I was juggling freelance jobs, part-time jobs, and volunteering until I finally got a full time permanent library/archives job. Try to get as much hands on experience and technical skills as possible. Apply to as many jobs that interest you as possible, even if you feel unqualified. It never hurts to give it a shot. Meet and talk with people who have the jobs you want to see how they got there. Again and again, I have found that people tend to want to help and give advice. Also, your first job out of school doesn’t have to be your exact dream job but you can use what you learn to build towards it. At the same time, it’s also ok to not settle if you know what you want. I do honestly believe that hard work pays off so keep hustling.

What were/are some challenges for you as a librarian? Are these related to larger challenges in art librarianship or the field in general?
Currently, my biggest work related challenge is copyright issues. There are so many legal complications, risk tolerances, and stakeholders to consider. This is definitely a common challenge in the field, especially when embarking on digital projects and it becomes even more overwhelming if you’re dealing with entire archival collections, like me, that comprise of hundreds of possible copyright holders. Moving forward, I would like to see libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural heritage institutions collectively push Fair Use as far as possible.

My biggest personal challenge is feeling confident in my technical chops aka imposter syndrome. I think this is felt by many people and while I do not know the cure for these feelings, I can at least say: If you feel this way, you are not alone — let’s empower each other!

Tell us something fun about yourself! What do you do in your spare time? If you could take a trip to visit any library in the world, which would it be?
I love to ride my bike, hike, and travel when I can. Recently, I’ve been reading a lot of true crime books. I think I would be most curious to see the personal libraries of people I admire or am intrigued by – for example, what’s on Iggy Pop’s or Amy Goodman’s bookshelves?

Welcome Our New ArLiSNAP Co-Moderator, Michele Jennings!

Please join me in welcoming our new Co-Moderator for 2018-2020, Michele Jennings!

Hi ArLiSNAP! My name is Michele Jennings and I’m excited to serve along Breanne Crumpton as your new ArLiSNAP Co-Moderator. I’m the Art Librarian at Ohio University (as of this January) where I act as a subject liaison for Art + Design, Art History, Interior Architecture, Interdisciplinary Arts, and Visual Communication. I completed my MLIS at the University of British Columbia in September 2017 and I have a BA in the History of Art and Visual Culture from UC Santa Cruz. 

I have been a follower and member of ArLiSNAP since 2015, and I’m thrilled to serve as your co-moderator now that I’m able to volunteer time to the organization! As someone who didn’t attend a library school with a dual-masters option or a specialization in art librarianship, ArLiSNAP has been a lifeline to me and an opportunity to be engaged (albeit virtually) with the broader community of students and new professionals in the field. I’m looking forward to offering more chances for new members to connect with each other, and to maintaining ArLiSNAP’s robust social media presence and invaluable job postings and career tips–another lifeline to many of us who follow ArLiSNAP!

Additionally, in the next two years I’d like to strengthen our engagement with critical librarianship and, as job seekers and students, to critically examine the ways that social justice and diversity and inclusion impact our studies, our work, and the field as a whole. This past year the ArLiSNAP/VREPS virtual conference was wonderfully thought provoking and has informed the way that I have personally approached my work as a new professional located at the nexus of art and information. There’s so much more work to be done in our communities, institutions, and organizations, and as new professionals and students it behooves us to bring this critical awareness and engagement into the future of the profession.

And of course, let’s have some fun while we’re at it! I’m so excited to get to work and to connect with all of you, and I hope you’ll share with me your thoughts, opinions, and experiences to make this an even better space for our community.

Thanks,
Michele

The Dual-Degree Art Librarian: Survey and Guide for Career Planning (by Autumn Wetli & Sarah Bilotta)

Whether or not a second Master’s, or perhaps even a PhD, is needed for the subject specialist librarian is an area of debate. We have decided to think about this conversation specifically in the terms of Art Librarianship. Gathered are some pros and cons to getting the advanced degree in art/art history, formulated from the thoughts of fellow ArLiSNAP followers and some scholarly articles on the subject.

For the purposes of informally ascertaining a consensus among early career art librarians or those interested in the field, we conducted some preliminary research with scholarly materials that address the educational requirements for professional art librarian jobs, as well as the opinions of more established art librarians. We then used this research as inspiration to formulate methods for engaging the perspectives of new and emerging art librarians. This culminated in circulating an open-ended question to evoke the thoughts and opinions of our colleagues, both via e-mail with librarians we have worked with and through the e-mail listserv of ArLiSNAP. In order to achieve varied and unrestricted opinions, we solicited feedback on the basis that we were curious to hear about colleagues’ experiences in the field in relation to this topic in a broad sense. All respondents were informed that this information would be used for an ArLiSNAP blog post (with the option to remain anonymous). For this survey and the resultant blog article, “subject Master’s degree” and “second Master’s degree” are intended to refer to a Master’s degree in a subject other than librarianship, obtained before, after, or in conjunction with a librarianship Master’s degree, and meant to bolster the scholarly research capabilities of a librarian in the field of the arts and design.

From the results of this survey, we have drawn conclusions not necessarily about the overarching value (or lack thereof) of the subject Master’s degree to the field of art librarianship, but about individual librarians’ experiences with or without a subject Master’s degree and patterns among this small sample of librarians, which may be indicative of trends warranting either further study or consideration for librarians who are considering a second Master’s degree.

From the nine responses we received from our call out for opinions, four individuals have a Master’s degree in a subject other than librarianship and five do not. Of the five respondents who do not have a second Master’s degree, two have completed partial coursework towards a second Master’s degree and one is currently applying to dual degree programs.

Responses from our survey

PROS

Research Experience
“[Getting a second Master’s degree] is a rewarding experience…something that has come in very handy as an academic librarian.”
-Librarian with a second Master’s

“I think I would consider pursuing a second Master’s degree to not only further my understanding of the field, but also have a better grasp on the type of research [that] is done at the graduate level by participating in it myself.”
-Librarian with a Master’s degree in librarianship, but without a subject Master’s

“…the [Master’s degree in Art History] provided me with appropriate knowledge of arts and art history subject areas; resources, tools, and methodologies; and vocabulary to meet the requirements of the co-op role, and that experience has been invaluable for shaping my readiness to enter the workforce in art librarianship.”
-Librarian with a Master’s degree in Art History, currently working on MLIS

“[Getting a subject Master’s degree] is a rewarding experience and really helped me learn how to sculpt a scholarly research project, something that has come in very handy as an academic librarian.”
-Librarian with an arts-related subject Master’s degree, currently working on MLIS

Job Possibilities
“I have held two professional librarian positions since graduating from library school, and both asked for an Art History MA as a preferred requirement.”
-Librarian with MLIS and MA in Art History

“…feedback [from others in the art librarianship field] has consistently been a positive assertion that having the two degrees will help me have a competitive edge in the job search.”
-Librarian with a Master’s degree in Art History, currently working on MLIS

“My current job does not require the second masters, but other positions I might be interested in down the line do require it for promotion…”
-Librarian with MLIS and partial coursework towards MA in Art History

Enhanced Opportunities for Professional Development
“Though I have yet to determine if — or how — having a second, subject specific Master’s will help my career in art librarianship, I can say that it has had a strong influence in my professional development throughout the MLIS program.”
-Librarian with a Master’s degree in Art History, currently working on MLIS

“[Having a subject Master’s degree] has gone a long way to gaining acceptance and interest from members of professional organizations that cover the intersection of arts and librarianship.”
-Librarian with an arts-related subject Master’s degree, currently working on MLIS

Strengthened Relationships with Art Scholars

“…it’s always helpful for an academic librarian to have a second master’s degree or even PhD. It can go a long way in your ability to gain respect or trust from faculty and administration.”
-Librarian with MLIS, previously enrolled in MA program in Art History

“I definitely find it easier to be an art & design librarian without an extra Master’s than I think I might serving art history [faculty].”
-Librarian with MLIS but no subject Master’s degree

“Having an advanced degree helps when you are working with senior scholars, whether curators or university academics.”
-Librarian with MA in Art History and Master’s degree in Librarianship

CONS

Cost
“[Enrollment in Master’s degree program in Art History] was costing a fortune, and I knew my loan debt was already staggering.”
-Librarian with MLIS and partial coursework towards MA in Art History

“To me the biggest reason not to get a second master’s was the money. I wasn’t sure that the investment would be necessary or pay off sufficiently to warrant the debt.”
-Librarian with MLIS but no subject Master’s degree

“If I could go back and do it again, the only thing I would change is lowering the amount of student loans I took out…Luckily I qualify for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program because I work for a university, but who knows what will happen with that program in the near future…”
-Librarian with MLIS and MA in Art History

A Degree is Only What You Make of It
“I do think it’s a challenge to find a good position in the field regardless of whether you pursue the second degree.”
-Librarian with MLIS but no subject Master’s degree

“I think the more you do and achieve, the higher your chances will be for potentially landing that ideal position you’ve got your sights set on…”
-Librarian currently applying to Master’s degree programs

“…having served on a few search committees now, I can say that it’s not necessarily the education that gets you the job, but rather the way you present yourself and articulate the ways in which you can/have applied that education to a practical position as a librarian.”
-Librarian with MLIS and MA in Art History

Not All Art Librarian Positions Require a Subject Master’s

“[A second Master’s degree] is not required for my current role where I lead the library’s instruction program and work with a variety of subject areas.”
-Librarian with MLIS, previously enrolled in MA program in Art History

“[In my current position] the second Master’s is less needed because I’m not being asked to help with graduate level research. So in general, I think it depends on your position and the level of research you are expected to help with.”
-Librarian with MLIS but no subject Master’s degree

Responses in the Literature
In addition to reaching out to our colleagues, we looked at a couple articles that performed studies on the MLIS and an advanced subject degree. This was not an exhaustive search into the literature on this topic, but rather, a very brief look into the results of a couple similar surveys. Much like the results of our own informal survey, the importance of a second advanced subject degree, really depends on the individual and should be evaluated on case-by-case scenarios.

Echoing responses we heard from ArLiSNAP followers, one of pros of an advanced-subject degree was found in its ability to make the librarian a better researcher than if they had just pursued the MLIS. This helps the librarian in two ways. First, it better prepares them for research and publication of their own, which can help with career advancement in regards to tenure and/or promotion (Mayer & Terrill, 2005, p. 68). Secondly, the librarian has first-hand research experience that many patrons, perhaps particularly graduate students and faculty, need (ibid.) One article made an interesting note, that from their research, the demand for second masters or advanced degrees was found to be most desirable for library administrators (Ferguson, 2016, p. 732).

Many School of Information programs offer dual degrees, which allow students to receive the a second, subject specialized Master, at less cost and time than pursuing the MA/MS solely on its own. Art History as a second Masters is commonly a part of these programs. A few programs that offer such are The University of North Carolina, Indiana University Bloomington, Pratt Institute, and Kent State University.

References

Ferguson, J. (2016). Additional degree required: advanced subject knowledge and academic librarianship. Libraries and the Academy, 16(4), 721-736. Retrieved from https://muse.jhu.edu/article/632342

Mayer, J. & Terrill, L. J. (2005). Academic librarians’ attitudes about advanced-subject degrees. College & Research Libraries, 66(1), 59-70. https://doi.org/10.5860/crl.66.1.59

Thinking about “Folk Art”

This post was sparked by an essay that caught my eye while reading Radical cataloging: Essays at the front, edited by K. R. Roberto (I highly recommend it if cataloging, description, and/or metadata is your thing). The article that intrigued me was a chapter by Joan M. Benedetti, a re-edit of an article that originally appeared in a 2000 issue of Art Documentation, entitled “Words, words, words: Folk art terminology- Why it (still) matters.” Benedetti talks about the mess of issues surrounding terminology like folk art and outsider art. It reminded me of the work of Sanford Berman and Hope Olson. Both Berman and Olson’s seminal works, Prejudices and antipathies: A tract on the LC subject heads concerning people and The power to name: Representation in library catalogs, discuss the biases, and with this power, in the language of the Library of Congress controlled vocabularies. While some time has passed since these works were initially published, 1971 and 1996, librarians are still challenging problems in the language of controlled vocabularies (see Emily Drabinski’s 2013 article “Queering the catalog: Queer theory and the politics of correction”).

Matthew Arient’s Angel by Howard Finster, 1987

 

Before digging into Benedetti’s essay and issues surrounding folk art terminology, I want to present brief definitions of terms that are helpful to think of in the context of this discussion. Definitions have been taken from The Getty Thesaurus for Art and Architecture.

Folk art: Art and crafts that are produced in culturally cohesive communities or contexts, and guided by traditional rules or procedures. It includes paintings, ceramics, textiles, sculpture, and other art forms. It is generally distinct from “naive art,” which is created by those without formal training, but not necessarily within a cohesive cultural community. It is also distinct from “outsider art,” which usually refers specifically to art created or collected according to a philosophy of avoidance of traditional training.

Outsider art: Refers to art created or collected according to a philosophy of avoidance of the conventional fine art tradition. The concept generally refers to art that fits the ideal described by Jean Dubuffet, who posited that art should be inventive, non-conformist, unprocessed, spontaneous, insulated from all social and cultural influences, “brut,” created without thought of financial gain or public recognition, and based upon autonomous inspiration, in direct contrast to the stereotypes of the traditional or official artistic culture. Dubuffet sought such art in the work of psychiatric patients and other insulated individuals. It is generally distinct from “naive art,” which is created by those without formal training, but not necessarily in accordance with the principles described above. It is also typically distinct from “folk art,” which is made according to the rules and traditions of a particular culture.

Naive art: Refers to art created by non-professional artists or artisans who have not had formal training and are often self-taught. It typically displays the artist’s poor grasp of anatomy and lacks mastery of conventional perspective and other hallmarks of trained artists. It includes painting, sculpture, embroidery, quilts, toys, ships’ figureheads, decoys, painted targets, and other objects, and often refers to such objects created specifically in 19th- and 20th-century Europe and North America. It is generally distinguished from “outsider art,” which includes the more extravagant psychotic drawings and other art created or collected according to a philosophy of the avoidance of, rather than simply a lack of, traditional training. It is also usually distinct from “folk art,” which is created according to specific cultural traditions.

Fine art: Genre including physical objects that are that are meant to be perceived primarily through the sense of sight, are of high quality, requiring refined skill in creation, and typically using the media of painting, drawing, or sculpture. It may also refer to architecture and design. Although there is overlap, fine art is generally distinguished from other art forms based on the media, extent of skill, and the level of formal training required. It is distinct from “decorative art” in that the fine arts are art in which the aesthetic or intellectual expression is more prominent than the utilitarian purpose. It is distinct from “crafts,” which are handiworks of media such as ceramics, glass, needlework, or any medium other than painting, drawing, sculpture, or architecture. It is also distinct from “commercial art,” which is created to serve commerce such as in advertisements or illustration.

The Getty Thesaurus of Art and Architecture gives distinct definitions for folk, outsider, and naive art, clearly delineating them as not synonyms to one another. However, these words are still often used interchangeably. This is also not an exhaustive list of terms that are used to describe art of this similar, yet variant nature, but just three I chose to highlight.

Man with a Plow by Bill Traylor, 1939-1942

Folk art, outsider art, and naive art are terms used by individuals in a position of privilege within the institution of fine art to describe the work created by individuals outside of this institution. A dichotomy between those with the power to name and those without, between those who point out this “other” and those who are this “other,” is always problematic. General acceptance of what constitutes fine art is rooted in Western, Eurocentric practice and thought. The land of outsider art, as posited by museum professional Kenneth L. Ames, is largely populated by “minority, marginalized, and unempowered people. (Ames, 1994, p. 255).

Navajo Rug, 1890-1900

Benedetti discusses problems with the overuse of “folk” as a designator for such a wide variety of works. She draws a distinction between items that are created by “culturally cohesive communities” with utilitarian value, such as a Navajo rug, and items created from a “personal consciousness,” which are often idiosyncratic and often “functioning in opposition to any community context,” such as the works of artist Howard Finster (Benedetti, 1987, p. 4). Oftentimes though, both of these types of works would fall under the same category of “folk art.”

The concepts behind folk art terminology is not so simple and further evaluation for nuances, biases, and clarification would be beneficial. Both Benedetti and Ames present issues with the terminology that garners future consideration, thought, and study by scholars, librarians, and anyone with an interest in the power of language.

References

Ames, K.L. (1994). Outside outsider art. In M. D. Hall & E. W. Metcalf, Jr. (Eds.) The Artist outsider: creativity and boundaries of culture (p. 253-271). Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press.

Benedetti, J.M. (2000). Words, words, words: Folk art terminology- Why it (still) matters. Art Documentation, 19(1), 14-21.

Benedetti, J. M. (2003). Folk art terminology revisited: Why it (still) matters. In K. R. Robert (Ed.), Radical cataloging: Essays at the front (p. 112-125). Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company.

Library & Archives Intern (paid) at Toledo Museum of Art

Toledo, OH
POSITION: LIBRARY & ARCHIVES INTERN (Paid)
AVAILABILITY: SUMMER 2018

WHO WE ARE: Since our founding in 1901, the Toledo Museum of Art has earned a global reputation for the quality of our collection, our innovative and extensive education programs, and our architecturally significant campus. More than 30,000 works of art represent American and European painting, the history of art in glass, ancient Greek, Roman, and Egyptian works, Asian and African art, medieval art, sculpture, decorative arts, graphic arts, and modern and contemporary art.

To accommodate the ever growing collection and demand for art education, the Museum campus has grown exponentially since its founding. From its humble first exhibition space in two rented rooms, the Museum has grown to cover approximately 36 acres with six buildings.

Thanks to the benevolence of its founders, as well as the continued support of its members, the Toledo Museum of Art remains a privately-endowed, non-profit institution and opens its collection to the public—free of charge—six days a week, 309 days a year. We are closed on Mondays and major holidays.

AREAS OF INTERESTS: Library & Information Studies, Archives

SUMMARY: This internship provides students with direct experience processing museum archival material. The internship will focus on our Facilities Plans inventory project. The student will assist with processing and inventorying of blueprints and other physical plans in this archival collection. Responsibilities will include arranging records, data entry and assisting with the creation of catalog records and a finding aid for the collection. Other responsibilities may include assisting with other archival request or projects at they may arise or the intern may have interest in.

RELATIONSHIPS: Mentorship from the Head Librarian and other library and archives staff; participation in library & archives staff meetings.

EDUCATION, EXPERIENCE & COMPETENCIES: Active college enrollment status at the graduate level preferred; library and information science, archives, or related concentration/major; coursework or experience in archival processing or description preferred; comfort working independently; computer savvy and proficient in Microsoft Office and related software; extreme attention to detail; innovative and self-motivated.

WORK ENVIRONMENT: Standard office work environment with related phone, computer and printer noise; position requires ability to lift boxes and retrieve material as needed and the ability to leverage technology including computer, printer and phone systems; the person in this position may be required to communicate with public and staff who have inquiries and must be able to exchange accurate information in these situations.

The Toledo Museum of Art provides equal opportunity for employment and promotion to all qualified employees and applicants. No person shall be discriminated against in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, age, national origin, marital status, disability, sexual orientation, veteran status or any other status or condition protected by applicable federal or state statutes. The Museum is committed to maintaining an environment in which all employees are treated equitably and given the opportunity to achieve their full potential in the workplace.

Apply through link: http://www.toledomuseum.org/about/jobs-volunteer/employment/