The Visual Resources Division (VRD) business meeting was called to order
by moderator Leigh Gates (Art Institute of Chicago). She introduced incoming
moderator Marty Stein (The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston) and incoming vice-moderator
Gregory Most (National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC). The minutes
of the 1998 VRD meeting were posted on the division’s web site (http://relish.concordia.ca/vrd/minutes.html)
and were approved.
The joint ARLIS/VRA professional status survey is still being tabulated. Lynda White (University of Virginia) who graciously undertook the task reported that, at the time of the conference, statistics had been compiled for 65% of the surveys returned. Of the 727 surveys distributed, 243 (or 34%) were returned. Data entry has proved more time-consuming than originally thought do to some misunderstanding of some of the question. This now requires some interpretation of the answers which has slowed the tabulation process. Lynda has noted some interesting trends in the profession although these statistics may change as the process continues. Results of the survey might be published in Art Documentation. Some data from the survey will be published in Guidelines for the Visual Resources Profession.
Linda McRae reported that the ARLIS/VRA publication of Guidelines for the Visual Resources Profession, edited by Kim Kopatz (University of Rochester) is close to completion. One final chapter, dependant on data gleaned from the completion of the survey mentioned above, has yet to be submitted. It is hoped that it will be published by August.
Leigh Gates thanked Margaret Webster (Cornell University) outgoing Northeast Regional Representative to the ARLIS/NA Executive Board for her stellar service during the past two years. Margaret encouraged visual resources professionals to become more active in the Society by serving as moderators, committee members, and officers.
Karen McKenzie (Art Gallery of Ontario), Vice President/President Elect, introduced herself as the new VRD board liaison. She encouraged VRD members to complete evaluations for both the conference and the strategic plan. She announced that the deadline for both conference proposals and funding is May 31st.
Gates also thanked Christine Bunting (University of California, Santa Cruz) for serving as chair of the Visual Resources Advisory Committee (VRAC). Christine reported that the principal activity of the VRAC during the past year was the ARLIS/VRA survey. She noted that it appears that ARLIS/NA and VRA are discussing the possibility of a truly joint conference in 2002 in St. Louis.
Outgoing chair of the Public Policy Committee, Katy Poole (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) summarized the many issues her committee faced regarding legislation in Washington. Katy provided handouts of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act. She noted that the most recent activity was a call for action on the issue of distance learning and that the Database Protection Act was shot down. Another key issue affecting the Society was that of censorship and filtering of web sites by schools and libraries that receive Federal funding.
Maryly Snow (University of California, Berkeley) said that progress is being made on protecting historically significant slide sets. The most important set, Arts of the United States, which was originally funded by the Carnegie Foundation, administered by the University of Georgia, and issued by Sandak, appears to be safe. The images are back at the University of Georgia, who it was determined is the rights holder. They intend to preserve and digitally distribute the images online. Max Marmor (Yale University) noted that Yale is assisting Georgia by providing access to the images utilizing both the MARC format and the FileMaker Pro. He noted that Georgia has no intention at present to distribute the sets in a slide format. Marmor suggested that a letter from the Society might have some value in influencing their decision. Several options for the distribution of the sets were discussed. Margaret Webster suggested that the Society might wish to distribute the sets as one of their publications. Maryly Snow thought that the University of Michigan, who maintains a non-profit program of slide distribution, might be a good choice. Gregg Most said that a commercial dealer who had mechanisms in place for selling and distributing slides would be a better solution. This topic was discussed at considerable length. Snow noted that two other endangered sets, Environmental Communication and Brickwork in Italy needed protection and she suggested that letters be written in support of these sets.
Joan Benedetti (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) interrupted the meeting to discuss the possibility of VRD organization or sponsorship of a conference session following the thread of an ARLIS-L discussion of beauty and web design. The moderator will take her suggestion under consideration.
Katy Poole has examined several models for an image conservancy and identified important criteria for that organization. An image conservancy would need to be instrumental in identifying sets or images in danger of being lost and would need to serve as a referring agency to either looking for images or seeking to preserve them. It would also need to take on the roles of advocate and educator in the preservation of our international heritage of images. It was suggested that VRA might be interested as a collaborator and that Maryly and Katy might serve as an ad-hoc committee to explore the formation of an image conservancy. According to Max Marmor, the Digital Library Federation is seeking partnerships for a collaborative collection of images and text that would utilize the VRA Core Categories and would maintain a web-based repository. It was suggested that a joint ARLIS/NA, VRA, and College Art Association partnership might be useful in this area.
Topics of new business were entertained and Gates turned over the meeting to incoming moderator Marty Stein. As noted above, the possibility of a joint ARLIS/NA and VRA meeting in the year 2002 in St. Louis was mentioned. Program sessions for the 2000 Pittsburgh conference were discussed. Possible session topics included: licensing of digital products; the ARLIS/VRA survey and the future of the profession; and a “How to” session on subject indexing (perhaps co-sponsored by the Cataloging Advisory Committee). The Executive Board for Pittsburgh guaranteed a session on the history of subject indexing of images, organized by Eileen Fry (Indiana University). Session proposals will be placed on the VRD web site.
A Statistics Task Force is being formed to maintain and keep current statistics gathered by the division. It will meet annually at the conference.
Margaret Webster reported on changes to the now defunct Getty Information Institute. The vocabulary groups have been merged into the Getty Research Institute for the present. The importance of the vocabulary groups to our profession was stressed and it was suggested that it would be more effective for the Society, rather than individuals, to send a letter stating this fact and encouraging the continued work of the vocabulary groups.
Marty Stein thanked Leigh Gates for her stewardship of the Division,
which was heartily endorsed by those assembled. With no further business
to discuss, the meeting was adjourned.
Gregory P. J. Most
Chief Slide Librarian
National Gallery of Art