30th / VRA 20th
Visual Resources Software Users Discussion Group
1. Software and databases used in various institutions for cataloging and/or displaying information about visual resources:
Access; Iris; Redescovery; Filemaker; Insight (for public display); Fourth Dimension; Microsoft; Content DBS (allows for video streaming and clips); Image Access; Embark; Casper, Laserbase; Librarysoft, Inmagic.
Selecting a database - choose the right thing for the right task. Worry less about getting everything you ever need in one bundle. All tools require support. The "everything in one bundle" tools require a lot of local support.
2. Rule of thumb - develop a separate database for descriptive (textual) information and a separate one for scanned images.
3. The group discussed XML, its flexibility, and whether it obviates the need for a fielded database at the back end. The Open Archive Initiative, which uses the Dublin Core schema, was also briefly discussed.
4. Issues of public service:
a. How important is it to bring all faculty who use visual resources on board for the "digital revolution"? Demand for digital images often comes from non-art faculty. Pick and chose faculty for showcasing. While younger faculty may be more technologically adept, it is the tenured faculty who might be willing to put in time to develop digital visual resources.
b. Faculty who create their own digital image collections are a drain on shared resources (such as IT support). In addition, faculty rarely worry about archiving digital images. How do we coopt them into helping us develop digital visual resources collections?
c. The group discussed the digital divide, bringing specific examples from various institutions, and wondering about the long term effects of the divide on institutional visual resources collections.
d. Should the visual resources community continue managing content, or should it move into managing access to content? Suggestion - put more resources into licensing of content, since vendors provide better digital images. The visual resources profession will be dealing with a hybrid environment (i.e., one that includes analog and digital content, as well as traditional and digital access to content) for the foreseeable future.
Some of the attendees included:
Laura Ponikvar, Cleveland Institute of Art Sarah Horton, Columbus College of Art and Design Terry Freeman, Colorado College
Samantha Pawley, University of Toronto
Lai Ning Lee, American University of Sharjah (United Arab Emirates) Debby Aframe, Worcester Art Museum
Noriko Ebersole, Nelson Atkins Museum of Art Kristin Solias, University of Massachusetts Trudy Jacoby, Trinity College
Susan Miller, Syracuse University
Meg Klinkow, Kenamore & Klinkow
Louise Barak, University of Saskatchewan Elizabeth O'Donnel, Dartmouth College
Julia Deal, Southwest Texas State University William Ruzicka, University of Texas at Arlington Jacqui Allen, Dallas Museum of Art
Sheri Rosenzweig, Boston Architectural Center Libby Johnson, colorado State University Ayesha Abdur-Rahman, Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts
Ruth Wallach, University of Southern California