Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
#SC3: Visual Resources to the Rescue Panel
Wednesday, 24/Jul/2019:
3:30pm - 4:30pm

Session Chair: Jasmine Burns
Location: Marquis A, Marriott City Center
capacity 42

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Visual Resources to the Rescue: Supporting the Humanities with Digital Tools

Jasmine Burns1, Carolyn Lucarelli2, Ann Graf3

1Cornell University, United States of America; 2Penn State University, United States of America; 3Simmons University, United States of America

Although the role of visual resources professionals has shifted with the emergence of digital technologies, the core values have remained in tact. As the slide library becomes a relic of the past, these spaces and services remain central to supporting research in the humanities. Images are an important source of knowledge, and visual resources professionals are uniquely positioned to provide guidance in finding, cataloging, and using visual materials. This session will present three aspects of the visual resources profession that reflect these values: providing research support, participating in departmental collaboration, and the analysis of digital/visual collections.

Speaker 1 will present a broad discussion of the framing of images as research data, and the ways in which information professionals can support this practice. The terminology that defines “research data” in STEM does not readily apply to the humanities. As a result, humanities researchers have a tendency to resist the term, claiming that they do not produce research data and therefore have no need for data management strategies or workflows. The goal of this presentation is twofold: to define “research data” in a humanities context through a discussion of the ways in which humanities researchers create and aggregate image collections, and to address the processes by which information professionals can play an active role in shifting the treatment and perception of images as research data.

Speaker 2 will focus on her participation in a graduate seminar in Digital Art History for the Penn State Department of Art History and her subsequent efforts to transition the department’s Visual Resources Centre (VRC) into a Digital Art History and Scholarship Lab. Speaker 2 will describe the ways in which she plans to position the VRC as a hub where faculty, staff, and students can explore digital resources, consider the possibilities and challenges of new technology, consult with others about project development and digital research, and collaborate on innovative research and teaching projects. Key to this initiative is the establishment of a graduate assistantship in Digital Art History. Speaker 2 will discuss the role of the DAH assistant and share the pilot project that resulted from this new program.

Speaker 3, has examined about 250 websites dedicated to the documentation and sharing of graffiti art/street art, specifically looking at how curators of such sites are organizing their photographic collections based on groupings for different facets (places, dates, artists, styles, etc.). Speaker 3 also interviewed a number of curators to discuss their organizational methods and the labels they use to describe works. Additionally, she has done research comparing graffiti art style language in graffiti zines with available graffiti and street art-related terminology found in the Art and Architecture Thesaurus (AAT). Speaker 3 will present this work, including the the lack of overlap between the AAT and language used by the graffiti art and street art community that her research showed in 2016, and the subsequent addition of nearly all the missing terminology two years later.

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