Robin Johnson, Getty Information Institute, Discussion Leader
Lilah Mittestaedt, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Discussion Recorder
Anna Munvandi, Royal Ontario Museum of Art
Lynda Barnett, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
Leigh Gates, Art Institute of Chicago
Sherman Clarke, NYU
Andrew Gessner, Columbia University
Elizabeth Robinson, Huntington Library
Elizabeth O’Keefe, Pierpont Morgan Library
Judy Silverman, Canadian Center for Architecture
Pat Young, CHIN
Francis Luca, The Wolfsonian
Robin Johnson, Editor at the Getty Information Institute began the session
by introducing herself to the attendees and asking them to introduce themselves
and any questions or topics. Most of the questions centered on the future
of the Vocabulary Program in light of the Getty’s recent restructuring.
Robin confirmed the dissolution of the Getty Information Institute last
year and that the Vocabulary Program would continue at the Research Institute,
with the staff relocating there later this year. The primary topic in this
introductory update concerned the integration of the GII into the Getty
Research Institute (GRI), including issues pertaining to current staffing,
hierarchic responsibilities among the staff, and user benefits and suggestions
for improving the Vocabularies Program. When several of the attendees mentioned
that they would gladly lend support to ensure the future of the vocabularies,
she suggested all correspondence be addressed to Jim Bower, Interim Head
Robin then began an overview of the vocabulary program’s achievements
and changes over the past year. Staffing has been scaled down to
four full-time editors, an assistant, and two interns Nuria Rodriquez,
Spanish AAT, and Yelena Rakic, Ancient Site Names and Scope Notes for Styles
and Periods. Upon the move to the GRI, vocabularies staff will report
to the Head Librarian at GRI, a position yet to be filled at the date of
Reports of the three vocabulary groups, the Art and Architecture Thesaurus (AAT), the Union List of Artists Names (ULAN), and the Thesaurus for Geographic Names (TGN), were presented by Ms. Johnson and reflected the topics covered at several meetings that took place dating back to May 1998. Among those, were the Joint Editors meeting held with Vocabulary, BHA and Avery Staff, and an indexing class conducted by Bella Haas-Weinberg. Concerning the AAT, statistical data comprised of the 2456 additional terms to the thesaurus was brought forth and broken down into categorical contributors such as BHA (254 terms), AVERY (224 terms), and the Mystic Seaport Museum (66 terms). Ambiguous terms, terms that changed other terms in the hierarchy and new conceptual terms were mentioned as last years term challenges for the AAT. Additionally, problems significant to the Scope Notes for Styles and Periods section of the AAT pertained to the needs of the user community, combining terms, related terms, and ancient and present day usage of the terms. At the date of this meeting, there were about 500 styles periods completed.
Pat Young spoke of CHIN’s involvement of the French equivalent to the
AAT, Artifacts Canada, a combination of the Artists in Canada, Union List
in Canada, and other humanities records. These records consist of
33 hierarchies matching Chenhall’s classification system.
The ULAN demonstrated growth in contributions from 1998 to the
projections in 1999 (1986 and 4490 respectively). The contributors,
Ms. Johnson highlighted, were the Frick who primarily sent Spanish artists
names and NACO contributions, and, CCA whose names included photographers,
sculptors, printmakers, and draftsmen. Specific mention of the Getty’s
involvement in the ULAN regarded their new project of loading IRIS records
as well as both updating and creating new records for the Photo Study Collection
and Provenance Index. Participants in the Users Group commented on
the need for adding fashion designers to the ULAN. Robin encouraged
these submissions to ULAN.
Like the AAT and ULAN, the 6000 records added to or edited in
the TGN over the last year confirmed the Vocabularies Programs goal to
ever increase and make these terms available to the users. Ms. Johnson
reported the Getty’s inclusions of additional archeological site names
as well as ancient region names. Also, she mentioned that Finland
and England were countries that required changes for internal boundaries.
New subdivisions are also planned for addition, such as Nunavut, a newly
established territory in Canada. Improvements to the TGN resulted in REC
files becoming available on the Web and MARC formatting (although finished,
at the time of this meeting, MARC format was not yet available).
The GII has begun to update the AAT with monthly terms on the
web in conjunction with posting on VOCAB-L. In the near future ULAN
and TGN will be updated in the same manner. Even thought hard copies of
these materials are still available, there are current plans to put all
training materials on the web in addition to the existing one, Intro to
the Vocabularies http://www.gii.getty.edu/intro_vocabularies..
Future access to this website will be through the Getty Gateway.
Ms. Johnson made specific note of the discontinuation of the Bulletin
pointing out that all pertinent information will be posted on VOCAB-L.
The GII is, however, in the planning stages for what may replace the Bulletin
in the future.
Training sessions last year included several sessions given within the Getty, as well to the staff of companies such as Questor, and to MCN and VRA conference participants. The training responses from surveys taken at these sessions resulted in the addition of an Indexing module that is in the early planning stages at this time.
A future training seminar will take place in Los Angeles August
2-6, 1999 and will involve both the Getty and UCLA. The seminar,
entitled Museums, Libraries, and Archives – Summer Institute for Knowledge
Sharing, will extensively explore theoretical and practical issues involving
knowledge creation, preservation, and sharing.
Maryly Snow, UC Berkeley Architecture Slide Library, requested discussion
of certain topics prior to the conference and sent them to Ms. Johnson
via e-mail. The first concerned the continuation of Avery Online
via AKA (a preference of RLG Eureka users). This access to Avery
will continue but it was noted that the information is outdated.
Updates are available only through Eureka or on CD-ROM. Next arose
the question of a more timely approach to searching for three sources of
warrant for terms to be added to the AAT. It was pointed out that
posting terms on the VOCAB-L would allow for a more consortial working
arrangement, especially for the more problematic terms. Emphasis
was made concerning the need for three sources to warrant any term.
A third question regarded the future of the vocabularies, which was covered
in Ms. Johnson’s overview. Fourthly, a concern about the continuation
of the MARC tapes made available to institutions was resolved by the previously
mentioned statement that the files are mounted on the web. A license
will enable access to the files, a password assigned, and then the institution
will be able to download them.
AMICO – There was a brief mention of the vision posed at an RLG
meeting that took place prior to the meeting, the AMICO database would
utilize the vocabularies. Subject and keyword searching in the AMICO database
proposes the need for controlled vocabularies.
Submitted by Lilah J. Mittelstaedt, Philadelphia Museum of Art
May 27, 1999