Thank you very much, Liz, for putting together those comments. I don't really know how to respond. Well, there are lots of ways I could respond. I threatened Liz with a dada poem of mismatched meter and no rhyme, composed mostly of MARC field and AACR rule numbers. You're lucky because I'm not a poet. I would much rather sit in a circle talking about cataloging issues than stand in front of you all. But you all are what has made this so enjoyable and relatively easy. I'm really glad that librarianship is a collective activity.
I have been incredibly lucky to find a profession that used my native abilities to stick things in pigeon holes and to describe how things are alike and different. It seems to me that is what cataloging is about. My office neighbor says that the scholars are spending their efforts breaking the boundaries and it is our duty to apply some organization.
You have probably heard it argued that original cataloging is difficult. My colleagues in the visual resources arena say they do only original cataloging. But you don't want to be too original because you would be doing a disservice to the user of your cataloging record. You want to find the similarities to other items you've cataloged. It goes back to Cutter's principles of finding something when you know the author or title, or finding what a collection has on a particular topic. You want to say that author's name the same way each time. You want to express a subject in the complementary way and provide references between related subjects.
Cataloging is always evolving and the past couple weeks have been particularly exciting, as well as frustrating and just confounding. We were greeted this past week with a news release describing a conflation of OCLC and RLG. It is my sincere desire that the wealth of RLG's special programs doesn't get lost among the incredible resources of OCLC. The conflation news followed by only a few days the shocking news that LC would no longer try to control series titles. They're responding in part to a lot of early retirements a few months ago. Many series titles will be just fine, at least in LC's system, the way they plan to do series access in the future. But it's still a shock to the system -- personally and the cooperative cataloging world -- to think of letting series titles just go meander into keyword territory.
We're still trying to figure out how our library catalogs can effectively interact with other means of access like web browsers. That's not new, of course, since you always had to combine the catalog search with a visit to the indexing table or the archives. The seeming ease of electronic access makes us want to have one-stop shopping for researchers at the same time we know that it can't be easy, the synthesis of information is not something that can yet be automated.
My first library job was in the mid-1960s at the Ceramics College Library in Alfred where our work was guided by Lois Smith, a wonderful librarian and Quaker. Her approach to life and work has been an inspiration throughout my career. That was my summer and vacation job; during the year, I was the student worker in the slide room at SUNY New Paltz. The ability to combine love of art with work was too splendid. It was wonderful to be getting out of grad school and library school, and entering the library profession, just as ARLIS/NA was getting off the ground. If I have been able to help new ARLISers into the fold as I was helped, it will have all been worthwhile.
I do value beyond words the people I've met, the things I've learned, the wonderful places we've been, and I thank you from the depths of my heart and soul for this high honor. By the way, I don't plan on retiring right away though I do share my birth year with Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Cher, Bette Midler, Goldie Hawn, and a whole bunch of other boomers.
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
I am deeply honored to have been nominated for, and to have received, the Distinguished Service Award, and I am truly overwhelmed by this recognition that comes from my peers in the art library profession. Thank you.
I hope that I can always be a mentor to others. Sharing information energizes me, and, like so much else, information accumulates with time and experience. I believe that people work best when they understand the context they work in, and understand how what they do, whatever they are responsible for, affects the whole. A library is very much an organic whole, and works best, when all the parts and persons work together with respect and understanding.
I was fortunate to be mentored and encouraged by a talented community of library and project directors like Toni Petersen, Deirdre Stam, and Angela Giral. It was the pre-Internet era. The work of this period established the basis for many collaborations, programs, and life-long friendships among ARLIS/NA members.
My leadership role at the Frick Art Reference Library was an opportunity of a lifetime. I am indebted to a talented staff for what I was able to accomplish from the development of the online catalog FRESCO to the timely Center for the History of Collecting in America.
With the formation of NYARC, the New York Art Resources Consortium, and with my colleagues Deirdre Lawrence, Milan Hughston, and Ken Soehner. I felt like we were picking up from an earlier, unfinished era of collaboration, but this time, with exciting new opportunities and possibilities. Here was the wave of the future--not a trend, but the very soul and survival of libraries. Focusing on the strengths and uniqueness of each of our libraries, we faced the hard questions like the spiraling costs of duplication, whether items or efforts, and the eventual sharing of processes, storage, and technologies.
This is where we need to go, and ARLIS/NA will play an important role as facilitator. The goal of art librarianship has not changed--to support and sustain research. How we bring our experience and expertise together has. I intend to participate in this new era, as advisor, consultant, mentor or friend.
2016, presented 2017: Elizabeth O'Keefe
Washington. January 1975. My first ARLIS conference. I was pretty miserable at the conference, knowing no one and believing I had absolutely nothing to contribute to any professional conversation at a conference where everyone else seemed to know one another. I did not even work in an art library. Sitting alone in a long row of chairs waiting for a session to begin, someone actually sat next to me and turned with a broad smile to say, "hello". That moment I met Caroline Backlund; it marks what I consider the beginning of my career as an art librarian. Who was I? Where had I studied? What did I think of the last speaker? Anyone who knows Caroline can imagine that she engaged me in dialog about what I was learning and made me imagine, almost believe, I had something to contribute. Our world is changing dramatically, but perhaps the singular most important aspect of this organization has remained timeless: the tradition of learning, sharing, questioning, compromising and adapting to change. In 2003 one area of change, and one of our greatest challenges, is accessing information about art objects. Many museums have collections information management systems and provide web access to a portion of their collection. Fewer have rich or deep information about the collections on their internal systems, let alone on the web. And what of standards, the mainstay of shared information in the library world? Much work has been done on developing standards leaving museums staff with bewildering choices about which ones to chose. Bad enough that, most staff has precious little time to move theory to practice anyway.
Now, lets imagine where we will be in 2025. Will data standards exist in museums? Will there be a way to share museum information across institutions? Some colleague have little optimism in this regard. Why would museums go to the extraordinary effort to standardize information when the internal use of the information has never necessitated such measures? Libraries did not create formats and controlled vocabularies to be altruistic; they did so to better manage operations. Might there be economic incentive for museums? It COULD be similar to libraries, improved efficiency of information management. Three areas of labor-intensive activity in museums occur to me as possibilities: Rights and licensing, museum loans, scholarly publications.
First, rights and licensing: A great deal of time is spent handling forms, paper and/or electronic, for licensing works of art. Educational licensing yields little revenue for considerable the effort. If museums actually created a "union catalog" with low resolution images on the web, potential licensees could "shop" for images across museums, use shopping cart type technology, to select images, and self-identify their commercial or non commercial intentions. Museums might actually agree on a standard fee for educational use allowing the virtual licensee to compute the cost of their order, pay, and receive the high resolution files electronically. The public website would obviously become a destination for those doing picture research for publications, postcard, or pillowcases. Those users would "click through" to the rights and licensing staff at individual museums to negotiate the terms of those commercial, and more lucrative, contracts. It is quite possible to imagine that museums could save money on staff, more widely distribute images of their works for educational use, and focus on commercial licensing to better financial advantage.
What would it take? Well first, some agreement on the standards for describing works of art on the aggregated public web site and a commitment to collaboration. If there were a union catalog of art information museum staff could use it for early "discovery" of works of art for research and exhibition planning. A set of standardized forms for requesting and approving the loan of objects from other institutions, for defining the terms of the loan, and obtaining permissions for the use of images of objects during the planning and life of the exhibition could be developed. Granted, objects are not as uniform as books. Their size, materials, fragility, weight, and value are factored into decisions about their loan. Still, the enormous benefit of standardizing any part of this activity, so central in museums, could greatly facilitate exhibition planning.
Think IML---intermuseum loan. What would it take? Once again some standardization and a good deal of collaboration. Finally, might there be a new paradigm for museums to disseminate scholarly information? While it seldom seems possible for museum curators to upgrade information in collections management systems, merely for the sake of improving the records, every day, every week and month of the years curators and educations are writing new wall labels, creating catalog entries for print publications, creating "views" of the objects targeted to particular audiences. Today the result of that intellectual effort has one time use. Workflow in museums does not generally include getting that current scholarship and updated information into the collections management systems for re-use. Meanwhile the cost of publishing collection catalogs in print becomes more and more prohibitive. Why not develop tool kits to help museums harness the ongoing interpretive and scholarly work produced by staff, pour it back into collection management systems, and export it to a global union catalog?
Working together, might criteria for electronic publications, collection catalogs, symposia proceedings, museum bulletins or jornals, be created, and standardized, to reduce the nearly prohibitive cost of scholarly publishing today, let alone in the future? Yes, but it will take standards and collaboration. These ideas may seem implausible but then, who among us could have imagined the world wide web in 1975? How might we in our careers be agents of such change? That brings me back to Caroline Backlund. She stayed with me during several dog days of heat and humidity in New York last August. Although now retired, she was so eager to learn about what we were doing at ARTstor. In retrospect, I realize that she was not learning something from me, she was asking the penetrating questions that I needed to consider and learn to answer as Director of Museum Relations for ARTstor, as always my mentor. This is what must endure between us in ARLIS: the trust to learn from one another and the commitment to share our expertise with those older and younger so that collectively we own the solutions. How fortunate we are tonight to be able to continue the dialog, inspired by artist Joyce Scott, the of the Baltimore Museum of Art and just perhaps a little wine.
Adam completed a fall internship at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, IL. His primary project was to review, describe, and create a cataloging scheme for a collection of recorded artist interviews and exhibition documentation in preparation for the museum's upcoming 50th anniversary. Adam also engaged in a variety of other ongoing projects, including managing the transfer of catalog records to a new ILS and assisting with several daily library functions such as fulfilling reference requests and collection development.
Margit interned at two institutions: the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C. and the American Craft Council in Minneapolis, MN. At the National Museum of Women in the Arts, she worked with the rare book collection. She created an inventory of uncatalogued rare books and identified opportunities for improving catalog records. At the American Craft Council, Margit processed exhibition files from the Museum of Contemporary Craft Archive, created digital finding aids and wrote a blog entry about some of her findings.
Margit is currently Assistant Librarian at the Walker Art Center.
Kai interned at the National Gallery of Art (NGA) in Washington, D.C. She completed an internal digitization plan for the vertical files. She met and communicated with leaders in the field to benchmark her work and understand best practices. She proposed several options that NGA can take in implementing a digitization plan along with a digitization management plan with a prioritization schema. Through this experience, Kai was exposed to government and museum librarianship and had the opportunity to speak with leaders in the field and visit many museum libraries aside from NGA.
Kai is currently the Librarian-in-Residence at the University of Notre Dame.
Lindsey completed her internship with the New York Art Resources Consortium (NYARC) Libraries: the Brooklyn Museum, the Frick Art Reference Library, and the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). By working at each of the three libraries Lindsey was able to learn about museum librarianship and the unique ways that these libraries serve their institutions. At the Brooklyn Museum Lindsey worked on digitization projects for NYARC as well as doing research for a timeline of the museum for a new overview gallery. At the Frick she worked mainly on a blog post for NYARC; and at the MoMA Lindsey worked cataloging some of their artist book backlog.
Lindsey is currently a Library Assistant at the Whitney Museum of American Art.
Bailey completed her internship at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Thomas J. Watson Library. Her primary focus was a digitization project, which included selecting, scanning, editing, and uploading a collection of rare books to the Library's digital collections. In addition, she collaborated in the development, implementation, and analysis of two user surveys that were conducted in order to improve research assistance and instructional programs for docents and museum staff. Bailey also held weekly reference shifts at the Nolen Library, assisting educators, docents, and students with art history research.
Bailey is currently Special Collections Librarian at the Hennepin County Library James K. Hosmer Special Collections.
Allison received her MLIS in 2010 from San Jose State University, specializing in archives and special collections. She holds a BA in Studio Art from California State University, Northridge, and an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts). In ARLIS/NA, Ms. Schulte revived the ARLIS LGBTQ SIG and co-coordinated the group, She was also appointed ARLIS/NA-SAA Liaison.
As of 2011, Allison (Wickman) was living in Helsinki and working as the International Liaison for the Tom of Finland Foundation.
Adrienne spent her internship in three different departments at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD: the Visual Resources Collection, Research Services at Sheridan Libraries, and the Center for Educational Resources. Among the projects she completed were image collection development in the subject area of digital photography and additional subject cataloguing for a group of images of Asian American artworks and Modern Indian posters for the Visual Resources Collection; collection development projects for Research Services developing the monograph collections in the areas of photography, contemporary Asian and Asian American art; and the creation of a multi-disciplinary research guide to finding and using images which resulted in a multi-tabbed LibGuide with information on: finding images in databases, on the web, and in books, recommended web resources grouped by subject across six broad disciplinary categories, citing and copyright information, technical information about digital image formats and sizes, and finding images for publication.
Adrienne is currently the Emerging Technology Services Librarian at North Carolina State University Libraries.
Shilpa completed her internship with the Steve.museum project, a collaborative research effort of museums in the United States that explores the usefulness of social tagging for providing access to online collections. At her host institution, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, she worked with the Art and Education Systems Manager and her UCLA faculty advisor who is a research participant in the project, familiarizing herself with the project's research methodology and assigning tags to objects. The bulk of her time was spent organizing and analyzing the tag data collected over the life of the LACMA project. Her contribution will assist project researchers as they continue to study the patterns and possibilities of social tagging for online museum collections.
Shilpa is currently Digital Program Librarian at Loyola Marymount University.
Martha carried out her internship at the Frances Loeb Library at Harvard University's Graduate School of Design. Working with the head librarian, conservator and others she undertook a survey of their folio collection, consisting primarily of late 19th and 20th century architecture and landscape architecture book and plate sets. She evaluated six hundred titles and nearly one thousand items, assessing and recording their condition and reviewing and updating existing cataloging records.
Martha is currently Art and Architecture Librarian at the University of Oregon’s Architecture and Allied Arts Library
Greta conducted her internship at the New York Public Library's Miriam & Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs. The bulk of her time was devoted to web development as she reorganized and created new content for the Division's website, including a research guide to the collection. In addition she developed a curatorial talk on the history of photography and produced accompanying education materials.
Greta is currently Metadata Coordinator at the Minnesota Digital Library, University of Minnesota.
Lauren completed her internship at the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York under the direction of the Head of Cataloging and Database Maintenance. She cataloged drawings and prints for the Library's catalog, correcting existing MARC records and creating new MARC records for items acquired by the Drawings and Prints Department in 2004. She also updated and created new Library of Congress Name Authority Files for artists whose works are in the Morgan collection.
Cathy conducted her internship at the National Gallery of Art Image Collections in Washington, D.C., under the direction of the Chief of Library Image Collections. She researched architectural images and performed bibliographic and descriptive cataloging of slides for the collection.
Cathy is currently Senior Library, Arts & Culture Supervisor, Brand Library & Art Center.
Laura interned at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York under the tutelage of the Collections Management Librarian. She also worked with the Collection Development and Preservation librarians.
Laura is currently Reference Librarian in the Cadet Library, United States Military Academy in West Point, New York.
John interned at the Architecture Library of Roger Williams University, Bristol, Rhode Island. He trained with the University's Information Literacy Librarian on effective teaching techniques and exercises and helped with bibliographic instruction classes for students in architecture and architectural history.
John is currently Architecture/Art Librarian at Roger Williams University in Bristol, Rhode Island.
Heather conducted her internship at the University of Texas at Austin Architecture and Planning Library and Fine Arts Library. She was given the responsibility of designing instructional handouts and websites for students in architecture, and she assisted with bibliographic instruction sessions.
Heather is currently Head of the Sloane Art Library and Library Assessment Coordinator at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.