Moderator: Leslie Abrams, University of California-San Diego
Jeanette Dixon, Chair, IFLA Art Section, Librarian and Electronic Communications Director, Hirsch Library, Houston Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas
Ana Paula Gordo, Directora, Adjunta da Biblioteca de Arte da Fundacao Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon, Portugal
Anja Lollesgaard, Chair, ARLIS/Norden, Librarian, Danish Museum of Decorative Arts, Copenhagen, Denmark
Margaret Shaw, Chief Librarian, National Gallery of Australia
Research Library, Canberra, Australia
Olga Sinitsina, Head of the Arts and Children's Literature Department, N.I. Rudomino All-Russia State Library for Foreign Literature, Moscow, Russia
Nicole Picot, Conservateur General, Biblioth'eque Centrale des Mus'ees Nationaux, Paris, France
Deborah Shorley, Pro-Librarian at the University of Ulster at Jordanstown, Chair of ARLIS/UK and Ireland, Newtownabbey, Northern Ireland
Leslie Abrams introduced the session stressing the importance of developing strong international ties with art library organizations and librarians as we approach the millennium. She welcomed the international participants and the current Chair of the IFLA Art Section to the session which was planned to highlight developments, current challenges and special projects in art libraries in their respective countries or regions.
Ana Paula Gordo introduced her paper on art libraries in Portugal with a description of the country, the evolution of art institutions, and facts and figures on Portuguese libraries. The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation\'92s art library was established in 1968 and is the largest art library in size and service in the country. The library has undergone important technological changes with the implementation of an integrated library management system, plans to make the library catalog available on the Internet and a digitization program launched in 1999. In addition, Portuguese art libraries are organizing a Working Group within the Portuguese Library Association to work together on a national scale and facilitate participation in international library organizations such as IFLA. Handouts were provided on the Gulbenkian.
Anja Lollesgaard described the state of art librarianship and information
technology in Denmark including Denmark-Information Society by the Year
2000; Culture Net Denmark, sponsored by the Ministry of Culture, to provide
information about the Ministry and public collections; Denmark's Electronic
Research Library (DEF), launched in 1998 to create one common user interface
for research library systems; A Virtual Art Library, a project to be initiated
in the year 2000 which will combine the expertise of
many Danish art libraries. Culture Net supports about 25 pilot projects and is an inspirational force. However, the projects lack a common user interface, are all stand-alone projects and many do not have an English version. In contrast to Culture Net, the DEF project is standardized and is devised by librarians.
Arlis/Norden, established in 1986, has 39 members and is an example of co-operation among the Scandinavian countries.
Margaret Shaw represented a view from "Down Under", the impact of
technology on ARLIS/ANZ, art libraries in Australia and New Zealand. The
distances and small population create both a positive and negative
impact. The impact of technology has
improved communication and changed how they work. Australia is the country of the DNC (Distributed National Collection), a principle underlying much of Australian librarianship, a key component of which is Kinetica, the national bibliographic
database. ARLIS/ANZ recently created a fund to provide travel and research grants for members. The first grant was given to create a web-based tool called ARIADNE, a survey of in-house indexing of the arts in Australia. AVAD CDRom contains 19 separate files on the Australian Visual Arts. The great challenge is in the location, selection, capture and archiving of information in electronic form. There is a proposal to expand ARLIS/ANZ to include the part of the Pacific region where interest in the arts is growing. Margaret provided a handout with useful related Internet addresses.
Deborah Shorley reminded us that Arlis/UK and Ireland is 30 years old, has 250 members in the UK and Ireland and another 100 overseas and is the force behind most initiatives in art librarianship in the UK. It has an excellent reputation and is consulted by many organizations and Government Departments. There is a disproportionate concentration of members in the London area, and a large role is played by the National Art Library (NAL). The Visual Arts Library and Information Plan (VALIP) recommended a National Collection Policy for Visual Arts Exhibition Catalogs, an updated union list of visual arts serials, and other worthy aims and was published by Arlis as a British Library Research and Development Report, but the programs were not funded by the government. Arlis adopted some of the proposals as part of its own Action Plan, but financial and human resources are limited and she is concerned that the in the future people will have less time for their professional associations.
She invited us to attend the Conference in Warwick, England at the end of July.
Nicole Picot's paper (read by Judith Herschman) described the ABF, the oldest national library association in France (3800 members in two sections, 75% are public libraries and 25% are academic and research libraries), founded in 1906, and the art libraries sub-section (130 members), founded in 1967 by Jacqueline Viaux. The sub-section includes public librarians, museum and university libraries, libraries of art and architecture schools, and the art departments of large establishments such as the BPI and the BnF. The Board has four volunteer members which is enlarged when working groups are organized or conferences planned. The activities include three working groups, the RAMEAU authority file, cataloging artists files, and production of a CDRom for fragile material. They have organized five conferences, one-day study sessions on new technologies and serve as consultants for three new projects. They would like to increase membership, especially among university librarians, and continue with national and international level cooperation.
Olga Sinitsina reported on the types of libraries in Russia identifying themselves as art libraries which were pioneers in setting up professional associations such as ARLIS/Moscow, the Art Libraries Division in the Libraries Society of St. Petersburg, and the Art Libraries section within the Russian Library Association. The problems which Russian art libraries face are common elsewhere, including for example, high prices of art publications, and preservation and conservation, requiring librarians to be inventive. Olga mentioned that despite the economic circumstances, ARLIS/Moscow has several working initiatives, including a system of exchange and a forthcoming international conference May 17-22 in Moscow and St. Petersburg sponsored by the Open Society Institute of the Soros Foundation.
Jeanette Dixon provided a history of the activities of the IFLA (International Federation of Library Associations) Art Section, described recent activities and encouraged Arlis/NA members to join IFLA and participate in IFLA conferences. Handouts on IFLA were provided