Lindsay King posted an articleThank 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,... see more Thank 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 Award
Image: (left to right) Jina Park and Lindsay King
Jina Park posted an article
This 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...see more
This 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 Award
Image: Jina is the second from the right in the photo.