Ask ARLIS 1: Intellectual Property in the Electronic Age
April 29, 1996
This Ask ARLIS was an informal guided discussion focusing on the diverse issues involved in the debate surrounding intellectual property rights in the digital age. Janis Ekdahl convened the session by outlining the history of the U.S. copyright law, adopted in 1976, and describing the legislation for its revision that had been introduced in the Congress [National Information Infrastructure Copyright Protection Act]. This legislation, proposed by the Commerce Department, is commonly referred to as the White Paper. Ekdahl also outlined the progress of the NII-related Conference on Fair Use by summarizing Macie Hallís talk at the 1996 CAA/VRA conference. The conference, known as ConFU, is developing guidelines to govern the fair use of, among other things, digital images and digital image archives.
Maryly Snow expanded the introductory comments by observing that it is through case law that the U.S. copyright law has been interpreted and understood. To date, no visual collection has been involved in a copyright case to test the limits of the fair use exemption. Snow then examined specific sections of the White Paper that are troubling because they undermine fair use protections guaranteed in the current law. She announced that ARLIS/NA has become a signatory of the Digital Future Coalition, a group of library organizations working toward a broad, thorough, and balanced congressional debate of copyright law and policy.
Snow also outlines two potential scenarios for securing rights to use a digital image: one that requires negotiating for permission with the rights holder and another that necessitates signing a license agreement with the rights holder. Because a license agreement infers, incorrectly that the rights holder has the authority to deny access whether the usage is covered by fair use or not. Snow argued that educational institutions should seek to follow the first scenario. She concluded her remarks by distributing a bibliography and list of Web sites focusing on fair use and copyright.
Katy Poole and Hinda Sklar, co-chairs of ARLISís new Public Policy Committee, outlined how their committee intended to fulfill its charge with respect to the issues of copyright and fair use. In addition to monitoring governmental and legislative activity and recommending actions to the board, the committee is expected to educate the membership about these issues. Towards that end, the committee will post a list of Web sites devoted to public policy concerns on the ARLIS/NA Web Site. Poole distributed paper copies of that list.
Linda Bien concluded the session by describing the copyright situation in Canada and the role that copyright collectives play in securing access to visual images. She speculated that the issues being raised by digitization have not yet been addressed in Canada because the government is awaiting the outcome of legislation in other countries before revisiting its own statutes. Indeed, just prior to the session, the Canadian government announced that it was postponing plans to reexamine Canadian copyright law.
This session provided a useful forum in which the membership could interact and learn from colleagues involved with copyright issues. The audienceís animated participation emphasized the relevance of this topic and underscored the importance of having an informed, articulate, and involved constituency within ARLIS.
Janis Ekdahl , Museum of Modern Art
Ask ARLIS 2: Let's Make a Deal: the Art of Working with a Vendor
April 29, 1996
Come on down for the "Price is Right"! Getting the price right is one of the many factors book vendors and librarians have to negotiate. On Monday, April 29, the Collection Development Committee sponsored an AskARLIS session called, "Let's Make a Deal: the Art of Working with a Vendor." One of the major points made at the session was that the lowest price isn't always the best deal. Quality of service and depth and breadth of book offerings are factors that can outweigh a low price. The panelists at the session included: D. Bonner, bibliographer at Yankee Booksellers; Jack Perry Brown, director of libraries at the Art Institute of Chicago; Susan Craig, head of the Murphy Art & Architecture Library at the University of Kansas; Brian Gold, director of Worldwide Books; Kenneth Soehner, acting head of the Watson Library, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; and Renata Wiedenhoft, president of Saskia Ltd. Paula Gabbard, Avery Library, Columbia University, moderated the session.
Wiedenhoft started the session by briefly introducing herself. She said that for about thirty years she has been working for Saskia, a major slide supplier with a collection of about 20,000 mostly original images. Saskia has expanded to digital formats since the early 1990s, with close to 2000 images scanned at a high resolution by Luna Imaging. Recently, they have begun to digitize slides to correspond with text. For example, they have a set of 224 slides that correspond with Gardner's text, that are sold with a license agreement.
Craig spoke next--emphasizing that the best circumstance is for librarians and vendors to form a partnership. As a large institution, the University of Kansas can negotiate for discounts, consolidated invoices, and publisher-based plans. Because the university is a large institution, vendors recognize who they are and there is an on-going relationship. Disadvantages to centralized acquisitions are that the acquisitions staff are not necessarily art specialists, it is difficult to monitor approval plans, and often exhibition catalogs go out of print before the library has had time to order them. It is also difficult to reward particular vendors for alerting the library about particular publications, since the acquisitions department vendor selection is financially motivated, regardless of the quality of a vendor's book selection.
Gold explained that as a small vendor, Worldwide Books doesn't make deals the same way the bigger vendors do. They don't have contracts, but their approval plans are based on profiles developed with the librarian. Worldwide offers all customers the same discount because they believe that they shouldn't put customers in the position of having to negotiate. While Worldwide is less interested in drawing single sales, they are very interested in creating good profiles, which ensure long-lasting relationships. The vendor's job is to please the librarian. An important aspect of creating satisfaction for the customer is expressing clearly what the vendor can and can't do. It is also critical that the library has a list of priorities in order to help the vendor understand their needs.
Soehner, Metropolitan Museum of Art, expressed interest in using this session to share general ideas of how to work with vendors, instead of giving advice on "how we do it at our place." He agreed with Gold's concept of a partnership, but disagreed that the vendor's job is to make the librarian happy, asserting that it is really the librarian's responsibility. Librarians must be familiar with the full range of vendors and their services and must evaluate the cost of services. They should know why they choose one vendor over another and understand the trade-offs. The essential thing is to develop partnerships where each partner is working with enlightened self-interest and a sense of fairness. A wildly profitable book trade is good for libraries because vendors provide services we need.
Bonner of Yankee Books agreed with her co-panelists that the vendor-librarian relationship is essential. As an approval book buyer, she must establish relationships with publishers, which is no easy task because often publishers have notably bad customer service. She must negotiate deals and monitor the discounts carefully. It is incumbent upon the librarian to capitalize on the expertise of the vendors. Vendors want to develop a relationship with libraries. Librarians should maximize what a vendor can do and use their leverage to negotiate discounts. Make the vendors work for you.
Brown spoke next, laughingly suggesting the Onassis auction as a model for vendors and librarians. He quoted Sherman Lee's advice for success at an auction, "Know what you want, take plenty of money, know your limits, and enunciate clearly." That advice goes for libraries as well. A collection development policy guides you to what you need and helps you create a profile with a vendor. What you need from a vendor includes individual items, values, discounts, and responsibility. The pricing of art books is expensive, yet the profit is small. Publishers and book sellers need a fair return on their sales. Librarians also need to know their limits and evaluate how badly they need a particular item. Enunciating clearly is part of knowing what you want and creating a good profile. Librarians must look at the long term and remember the mutual responsibilities of libraries and vendors.
Brown's talk concluded the formal portion of the session and Gabbard called for questions from the audience and the panelists. The discussion was lively, wide- ranging, and well-balanced between librarians and vendors. Peter Blank began the dialogue by asking for comments from the vendors about what they see happening in the next five years in terms of collection development initiatives. This question opened an in- depth discussion of the out-sourcing of cataloging as an impending development. Because of increasing competition among vendors for a limited market, vendors are feeling pressured to provide more services, including cataloging books. A member of the audience noted that in Europe, shelf-ready book-selling is too expensive because staff costs are too large. Instead, booksellers try to provide accurate information on forms and let libraries use their own staff to catalog. If the dominant concerns of library administrators are discounts and out-sourcing, then there is a problem for dealers of specialized titles, because of the expense of that service.
Soehner voiced some concerns regarding the trend towards "superstores" which force small stores out of business and limit the kinds of materials that are available. Small vendors provide titles that are not seen elsewhere. The sales of these specialized titles are supported by the sales of the mainstream titles. If libraries only order mainstream literature from large vendors and specialized literature from the small vendors than the small vendors will suffer. The result will be that the small vendors will have to charge more for their services, or go out of business. It behooves librarians to help keep the specialty vendors in business because they are a valuable resource.
Unfortunately, many art librarians feel that their hands are tied when it comes to choosing vendors because in a centralized university, the acquisitions department must make decisions based on the needs of the entire university. Since acquisitions departments negotiate for all of the books for the university, it makes less sense for them to insist on special vendors. One member of the audience commented that librarians should fight to maintain the responsibility for vendor selection.
A member of the audience asked the panelists how well small institutions can negotiate discounts. Bonner answered that because volume is an important factor in making up approval plans, small institutions have less leverage, but still can negotiate discounts. Gold replied that at Worldwide, everyone gets the same discount. Brown made the point that institutions should avoid the "little ol' me" syndrome and should persist in negotiating for discounts, even if they are small. Another member of the audience asked whether some institutions get priority over others when it comes to limited printings of trade books. Bonner answered that at Yankee, priority lists cycle so that no one remains at the top of the list forever.
In conclusion, the major points covered in the session revolved around the necessity to strike a balance between low prices and quality service. The concept that librarians and vendors can achieve that balance through open communication and understanding of each other's needs was emphasized. Although getting the right price is still important, knowing the value of the services provided is also seen as a crucial part of working with vendors.
Sarah Travis, Harvard University
Ask ARLIS 3: Computer Imaging Issues
April 29, 1996
All the presenters were at different stages of automating their image collections. The first speaker, Bill Broom, Duke University, has been using digital imaging since 1991. Duke had a local programmer make a presentation software package. The success of the project was the result of its narrow focus. The software was created for image study only. The major requirements included: ease of use, ability to network throughout the campus, speed and resolution. Speed was essential so that throughput would work for the campus, the images would come up without a long wait no matter what location was being accessed. Resolution was important too, so students would receive a good quality image for their study. Broom remarked that, if he had to do it over, he would look for off-the- shelf software. Going it alone is never the best course. At the time the project started though, there was nothing available. The project was built on the Apple Macintosh platform. This was important at the time the project started, but it isn't necessary to be platform specific anymore to get the high resolution 24-bit color.
They are very happy with the project overall. The students can now view the images remotely with good speed and resolution. The problems with the project were the result of a lack of foresight. The university did not get a documented agreement with the software vendor and this contributed to problems later on down the line. Another unexpected consequence was the great amount of time in-house imaging takes. Copyright issues were also sticky. Broom ended his presentation with a caution to look to other projects which might also use your technology. Search strategies should be considered before implementing the database.
Sara Jane Pearman, Cleveland Museum of Art, spoke next. About eight years ago her slide library received their first computer. This was accomplished by working on relationships within the library and always trying to do a lot with not much. The first system was for printing up slide labels. When Pearman tried to store all her records, it soon became clear that the records were overloading the computer and that the software was pushed to its limits. This first system worked with MARC tags. It was later superseded by the museum collection's software. The museum saw that the slide library has applicable uses for computers. This led to an effort to get computers installed and they are, at last, in place.
The library chose ReDiscovery software for their database. It is a database built on Microsoft's Fox Pro software. While ReDiscovery does offer a digital imaging solution, Cleveland decided to use only its text capabilities for now, and link with the image capabilities later.
Pearman emphasized that a close reading of the contract is important. The contract was reviewed by three different areas of the museum, including the legal department. Various amendments were introduced into the contract, including putting the software codes in escrow so that if anything went wrong or the company went out of business, the database was not lost along with all the information.
Pearman is very satisfied with the software. It has fast searching, bar codes, and the potential for images, all of which were part of the initial requirements. Authority control is available in the many different fields of the record. AAT, and ULAN databases are already loaded and they're working on ICONCLAS. Excellent support is delivered via phone and modem hookup. Support is an issue that should have a lot of weight in any decision.
Angela Bustamente, slide curator at Miami-Dade Community College, was the final speaker. She described how she was able to pull together funding to build a multimedia lab in her small Art and Art History Department. She described the areaís academic institutional history and placed Miami-Dade Community College in this context. She discussed her growing awareness of the issues and possibilities of teaching with new technology.
Through research, she discovered a good vendor and has followed their progress for a number of years. She also offered examples of the types of grants she and her faculty wrote in order to create an environment in which it would be possible to fund an image lab. By working with the software vendor, she was better able to understand just what would be needed to build a successful lab and slide collection.. Nothing is installed yet, however, and the lab is still under construction Pearman emphasized the importance of maintaining a good working relationship with oneís vendor.
Questions about the possibility of document scanning were raised during the question- and-answer period. This led to a brief discussion of records management and optical character recognition (OCR) technology which is quite different from image scanning. Another question addressed the issue of whether images of various databases would be included in the institutionsí OPACs. The answer was that, because of copyright and other library considerations, no one had pursued this. The final question had to do with the site licensing of images. Broom remarked that his database was distributed only within the slide collection and library and that any distribution beyond that was not being considered at this time.
Adina Lerner, Walt Disney Archives
Ask ARLIS 4: A Wilder Kingdom: Stalking Ephemeral Material in the Inaccessible Domain
April 29, 1996
The wilder kingdom of ephemeral material was the topic of the Ask ARLIS session sponsored by the Museum Library Division and the Cataloging Section, and moderated by Roger Lawson, head of the Cataloging Section, National Gallery of Art Library. This ìinaccessible domainî includes all the formats which art libraries collect, other than books or serials. Some consider such material ephemeral, but researchers seek it with passion. Each library has its own methods of dealing with this stuff, usually an accession slip, blue card, folder, or the memory of senior staff. Because of lack of trained staff or time, most are forced to leave it in the invisible backlog.
Several new cooperative initiatives are in progress on this issue. These groups spent hours discussing the many problems involved, then formulating standards and guidelines for processing. The Library of Congress very recently published guidelines for collection level records for all formats in its backlog. The Research Libraries Groupís Archives and Manuscripts Task Force on Standards explored ways to improve access to archival materials.
Pedro Figueredo of the Wolfsonian presented the proposal of the Inaccessible Domain working group of the RLG Art and Architecture Group (later shortened to InDoMat). The three charges to this group were to identify the material types falling into this category, to identify the means currently available to make the materials accessible, then to make recommendations to RLG for improving access to these materials on RLIN. For the first charge the committee identified the five types of material: catalogs, clippings, visual resources, architectural records, and documents. The group settled on the collection level record as the most productive use of staff available. A minimum level standard of description and access at this collection level was determined, which included the required variable fields: cataloging source, main entry heading if applicable, title, physical description and extent of material, and subject or genre heading. Highly recommended were the location of the collection and a link to electronic location of any finding aid. A report was sent to the AAG in April, and several examples of different formats are available in the RLIN database searchable by the title phrase InDoMat demonstration.
Murray Waddington, chief librarian of the National Gallery of Canada, presented a paper on a major project at the gallery, the development of an online finding aid to research materials relating to the history of all National Gallery of Canada exhibitions from 1880 to 1995. These exhibitions number approximately 1900 and include many of national and international importance. This massive project will centralize all the exhibition material, both published and archival, including catalogs, checklists, press releases, photographs and slides of objects and installations, as well as promotional material for the event. Formerly, these materials were held in several different files located in the archives, the library and curatorial offices.
Waddington used as an example the fifty-third annual exhibition held in the Royal Scottish Academy Galleries, which included a section of Canadian watercolors. This exhibition was shown also at eight other venues, and separate exhibition catalogs were published for each of these regional shows. To make matters more complicated, a reciprocal exhibition of English watercolors circulated throughout Canada at about the same time. This whole exhibition was presented as number 155 in the book, The National Gallery of Canada: a Hundred Years of Exhibitions (1880-1980), published in 1985. A MARC-based format was devised which provided all the desired access points, but was easy enough for volunteers to input. Linking fields connect the records online, although the materials themselves reside in separate collections.
Elisa Lanzi, manager of the Art & Architecture Thesaurus, then spoke on the ìhidden treasuresî of the inaccessible domain, in particular visual materials. She reported on the proposal from the VRA Data Standards Committee for a core record. ìA core record is one created to a level between minimal and full and stipulates which data elements are required in order to describe an item in a visual resources collection.î Deciding on the absolute necessary elements of a record to be shared electronically took endless hours of debate, but enabled a focused mission. The VRA Data Standards Committee also worked with the Getty Art Information Task Force to develop related visual material sections of the Categories for the Description of Works of Art. Lanzi was careful to distinguish data elements from MARC tags, as the elements may be labeled differently according to the system employed; the nature of the data content in each element should be consistent. A major decision was to describe the surrogate, and not images as objects. A draft will be submitted to the visual resource community.
Roger Lawson related the categories of information essential to identify and locate any of the discussed material, then took questions from the mixed audience of librarians and visual resource managers. Authority control was a major concern. It was assumed present in the InDoMat collection level records for artistís name, corporate headings, and material formats. The VR core record states which fields are controlled and that a standard thesaurus is to be used. It proposes two subjects, one to be iconographic, the other could be indicative of culture, ethnicity or citizenship. Several of the groups emphasized the need for easy-to-create records which less sophisticated assistants or volunteers could input under the direction of professionals. These records should also be easy to enhance as time and staff allowed. One suggestion for visual resources was a unique identifier for art works, perhaps a uniform title.
Links were a fairly constant request in all formats. The approved 774 field in the MARC record provides the ability to link item information within a collection level record. In the Canadian example, linking fields connected the different collections. In most museum slide collections, accession numbers link slides to the art objects portrayed.
Although widely disparate groups were represented in this discussion, all seemed hopeful that the wilder kingdom of ephemeral material would be domesticated in the foreseeable future.
Margaret Crocker Ford, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Ask ARLIS 5: New ARLIS/NA Standards for Staffing Art Libraries and Visual Resources Collections
April 29, 1996
As part of the initial plan for updating the ARLIS/NA Standards for Fine Arts Libraries and Visual Resources Collections published in 1983, the Staffing Standards Committee anticipated two open hearings: one at the beginning of the process to gather members' comments on the existing Standards, and one at the point of publication of the new Standards to welcome members' reactions. This AskARLIS session served as that second open hearing.
The session was moderated by Carol Terry, Rhode Island School of Design, and Betsy Peck Learned, Roger Williams University, who had worked closely with a task force over the past year to complete the document. Members of the task force included Anita Gilden Carrico, University of Maryland, College Park; Janice Chadbourne, Boston Public Library; Carla Conrad Freeman, Alfred University; and Leigh Gates, Art Institute of Chicago. Approximately fifteeen members attended the session.
Terry announced the publication of the Standards in three formats: in the winter 1995 issue of Art Documentation, on the ARLIS/NA Web Site, and as ARLIS/NA Occasional Paper No.11. She distributed copies of the document for discussion, and followed with a brief overview of the history of the committee and the evolution of the document. The remainder of the session was open for discussion. Questions and comments varied rom discussion of how the standards are being used in specific situations; the continuing need for assessment criteria, particularly for those in libraries that undergo accreditation; and the current difficulties with staffing museum libraries. Reactions to the document overall were positive, and the task force and previous committees were commended for their efforts.
Betsy Peck Learned, Roger Williams University
Ask ARLIS 6: ARLIS and
the Web: Management and Research Issues Librarians Encounter
April 29, 1996
Panelists included Barbara Prior, Lee Sorenson, Deirdre Stam, and Edward Teague. Each discussed issues they deal with in terms of the World Wide Web. Here are a few points presenters made during the session.
Barbara Prior discussed the value of doing research on the web. Some resources, such as directories, can be better on the web than in print. However, acceptable standards for determining what is authoritative have yet to be developed and so caution must be used when searching. Sometimes the institution involved in the creation and maintenance of the site makes its authority obvious, such as old master drawings from the Sala Rosa of the Biblioteca Ambrosiana in Milan. At other times, however, the name of the site might be misleading, which can create problems for the researcher: for instance, the Web Museum was originally titled the Louvre although the museum was not involved in the creation of the site. When in doubt about evaluating a site, one can call or e-mail the webmaster for more details.
Lee Sorenson spoke about the problems of using the web. He used the example of searching for images, particularly the Mona Lisa, and found that the museum Web pages didn't always have the best images, that in fact the home pages of individuals often had the clearest, largest images.
Using overheads, Deirdre Stam outlined the issues anyone putting up a web page needs to think about. She spoke of the problems of doing the creation and maintenance on one's own, issues about the necessary skills and salary for a webmaster should the institution decide to contract out, the fact that managing a web site is easier if one person makes decisions that are then reviewed regularly by a committee, and everything else involved in the decision-making process of creating and maintaining a web site. She noted that the Coalition for Networked Information is the best site for WWW policy.
Finally, Ed Teague spoke about what makes a good web page. He noted that the University of Florida used to have an image of an alligator on the home page which took a great deal of time to upload. He recommended that simple images that won't slow down the system be used. He reviewed the advantages of home page software like Page Mill to create web sites. Another recommendation he had was to make sure the library's address is on the first screen of the institution's home page so that users don't have to hunt for the site.
Peggy Keeran , University of Denver
Ask ARLIS 7:
Architectural School Accreditation
April 30, 1996
Responding to the accreditation requirements of the National Architecture Accrediting Board, NAAB, presents many challenges for architecture librarians. This session provided an opportunity for ARLIS/NA members to discuss some of our common problems, including preparing for the accreditation visit, writing the library guidelines section of the Architecture Program Report, and working with the NAAB to improve the accreditation process.
The session was sponsored by the Architecture Section and moderated by Betsy Peck Learned, Roger Williams University. It opened with brief reports by several ARLIS/NA members with a variety of experiences and perspectives on NAAB accreditation. Anita Gilden Carrico, University of Maryland College Park, gave her impressions as a newcomer to the process; Melissa McDonald, Savannah School of Art and Design, spoke on the loss and restoration of accreditation at her institution, and Elizabeth Byrne, University of California, Berkeley, Environmental Design Library, described the joint ARLIS/NA- AASL task forceís work with the NAAB to adopt guidelines for evaluating libraries, as well as future work which needs to take place. Approximately twenty ARLIS/NA members attended the session.
Discussion focused on various themes, particularly that of the need for architecture librarians to improve the standards by which our libraries are evaluated. Many attendees were concerned over the NAAB's questions regarding peer data and their criteria for determining adequacy in comparison with our peers. It was proposed that we collect this type of data ourselves in conjunction with data collected through a survey done by Jeanne Brown and Judy Connorton this past year. Several members volunteered to work on this project. It was agreed that visual resources issues are largely ignored by the NAAB, and that there is a need to raise awareness of and broaden criteria for evaluating this area of our collections. Linda McRae spoke of the work of the Joint ARLIS/VRA Taskforce on Visual Resources Professional Issues regarding accreditation and it was determined that we should coordinate our work with them. The remainder of the discussion dealt with how we might best communicate with the NAAB regarding the guidelines, and how we can ensure that accreditation teams are trained appropriately to evaluate architecture libraries.
The brief time allotted for the session was just enough to get ideas for projects germinated. When polled, the group felt strongly that the best way to proceed would be to work on these projects throughout the year and continue discussion in San Antonio through a second Ask ARLIS session.
Betsy Peck Learned, Roger Williams University
Ask ARLIS 8: Cataloging
Issues and Problems
April 30, 1996
This open discussion of cataloging issues started with reports on activities within the American Library Association and other agencies concerning cataloging rules and the MARC format. The session was moderated by Sherman Clarke of New York University. Daniel Starr of the Museum of Modern Art reported on the ALA Committee on Cataloging: Description and Access. Patricia Siska of the Frick Art Reference Library reported on the USMARC Advisory Group. There were also reports on the Works of Art Group of the ARLIS/NA Cataloging Advisory Committee which is working on a draft rule intrepretation for establishing uniform titles for works of visual art, on the draft report of the Inaccessible Domain Materials group of RLG, and on the report of the order of LCSH subdivisions by a subcommittee of the ALA Subject Analysis Committee.
Following the reports, there was open discussion of such issues as base-level records, New York City in geographic subdivisions, training copy catalogers, form headings and subdivisions, and the relationship of book and non-book cataloging. Details on the discussion of these topics will appear in future Update Cataloging Section columns, edited by Kay Teel of New York University. The notebook prepared in conjunction with the session is available on interlibrary loan from Sherman Clarke.
Sherman Clarke, New York University