Art Documentation

The official bulletin of the Art Libraries Society of North America, 1982-present.

Art Documentation is the official bulletin of the Art Libraries Society of North America, 1982-present. It includes articles and information relevant to art librarianship and visual resources curatorship. Since 1996, it has been published twice yearly (spring and fall). Art Documentation is published for ARLIS/NA by University of Chicago Press, which supports green open access for all of its journals. The subscription to Art Documentation is included as part of membership in ARLIS/NA.

Members-only Access

ARLIS/NA members may access Art Documentation electronically via a controlled access site:

Members-only Access to Art Documentation

Authors

Authors who wish to publish their work in Art Documentation should consult the Contributor Guidelines.

Authors may self-archive their own articles and make them freely available through institutional repositories after a one-year embargo. Authors may also post their articles in their published form on their personal or departmental web pages or personal social media pages, use the article in teaching or research presentations, provide single copies in print or electronic form to their colleagues, or republish the article in a subsequent work, subject to giving proper credit to the original publication of the article in Art Documentation, including reproducing the exact copyright notice as it appears in the journal.

Non-member Access to Journal

To purchase individual issues please contact University of Chicago Press customer service online; by email at subscriptions@press.uchicago.edu; or via the phone at +1 877-705-1878 (toll-free, U.S. & Canada), or +1 773-753-3347 (International).

Tables of Contents

To search Art Documentation contents 1982-present, visit the journal home page with the University of Chicago Press.

2022: Volume 41

Issue 1 / Spring

2021: Volume 40

Issue 1 / Spring
Issue 2 / Fall

2020: Volume 39

Issue 1 / Spring
Issue 2 / Fall

2019: Volume 38

Issue 1 / Spring
Issue 2 / Fall

2018: Volume 37

Issue 1 / Spring
Issue 2 / Fall

2017: Volume 36

Issue 1 / Spring
Issue 2 / Fall

2016: Volume 35

Issue 1 / Spring
Issue 2 / Fall

2015: Volume 34

Issue 1 / Spring
Issue 2 / Fall

2014: Volume 33

Issue 1 / Spring
Issue 2 / Fall

2013: Volume 32

Issue 1 / Spring
Issue 2 / Fall

2012: Volume 31

Issue 1 / Spring
Issue 2 / Fall

2011: Volume 30

Issue 1 / Spring
Issue 2 / Fall

2010: Volume 29

Issue 1 / Spring
Issue 2 / Fall

2009: Volume 28

Issue 1 / Spring
Issue 2 / Fall

2008: Volume 27

Issue 1 / Spring
Issue 2 / Fall

Current Issue Abstracts

Art Documentation vol. 41, no. 1 (Spring 2022)

Focusing on Slow Looking: An Exploration of Techniques to Develop Critical Observation Habits
Stephanie Beene and Dana Statton Thompson

Abstract- Since the late twentieth century, the speed of technological innovation has led to renewed interest in cultivating mindfulness and attention, including a multitude of “slow” movements. This article examines the practice of slow looking, a means of gathering information through sustained observation and deeper inquiry. Slow-looking activities span institutional settings, including K-12 and higher education, libraries and archives, and museums and galleries. In this article, the authors connect several slow-looking exercises developed over eighteen years, examining how they empower learners to become critically discerning and reflective across contexts.


Clowns in the Visual Artists: Topic Modeling Wikipedia and Wikidata
Michael Mandiberg and Danara Sarıog ̆lu

Abstract- This case study explores the challenges of defining a data set to analyze changes in Wikipedia’s gender gap for articles about visual art. Wikipedia and Wikidata each group content in data structures that produce overlapping and incomplete visual art datasets and include non-visual art data. To circumvent potentially biased editorial decisions about what to include or exclude, this case study describes the process of using a topic model algorithm that identifies a dataset by analyzing the words in each article and grouping the articles into topics.


A New Craft History Paradigm
Joan M. Benedetti

Abstract- This article is presented in two parts. Part I is an overview of the sea change in craft studies among scholars, curators, and artists. It also documents the shift of craft history studies into an emerging post-disciplinary field, still at home academically in art schools and university art history departments, but now greatly influenced by anthropology, ethnography, sociology, material culture, critical theory, women’s studies, and other disciplines. In illustrating this shift, the author compares her experience when employed (1976–1997) as museum librarian at the former Craft and Folk Art Museum in Los Angeles with the current program of the renamed (Craft Contemporary) museum. She also compares three craft history textbooks. Part II describes the author’s search for teachers of craft history and records the results of a survey conducted in May 2021 of twenty-eight craft history teachers in US and Canadian colleges. The comments are so diverse the author could not summarize them, and she includes excerpts from all who answered the narrative questions. Though gender and race bias in craft studies must still be confronted, as in art history studies as a whole, the teaching of craft history is moving toward a global perspective. However, the practical need to break down the global into more manageable parts is a pedagogical and bibliographic challenge.


Making Connoisseurship “Something Like an Exact Science”: Berenson and Photography
Spyros Koulouris

Abstract- Since its invention, photography has revolutionized the documentation of art. The author investigates how technological advancements of photography between 1880 and 1930 transformed Bernard Berenson’s methodology in connoisseurship and art historical research in general. The paper analyzes Berenson’s writings and examines the origin and development of different sections of the photograph archive that the American art historian created. Key findings include the organization of photography campaigns, the partnership with other art historians and photographers, and the acquisition of black-and-white photographic prints made with newly developed techniques before the advent of color photography.

[This article expands on a paper presented at the Technological Revolutions and Art History Symposium held online in November 2020.]


Video Not Available: The Complexities of Accessing Video Art Online
Michelle Johnson

Abstract- This article examines the barriers that limit access to video art online and offers practical solutions and suggestions to aid librarians in the search for digital video art resources. Videotape is essentially an obsolete technology, a fact that dramatically slows down digitization efforts. Furthermore, in support of the protection of artist’s rights, access to video art is often controlled by third party distributors. While distributors are crucial champions of the medium, issues of copyright complicate discussions of online access. Opportunistic art lovers have taken matters into their own hands, uploading work to online platforms and creating new liminal spaces of access. This article offers an understanding of video recording technology, the historical development and dissemination of video art, and the problematic nature of many online resources that provide access to these culturally valuable works.

[This article is a revision of a paper presented during the 49th annual ARLIS/NA conference held virtually May 11–13, 2021.]


A Content Analysis of Collection Development Policies in American Art Museum Libraries
Erin M. Rutherford

Abstract- This study examines the structure and content of collection development policies from twenty-five American art museum libraries. The compilation of the data set, iterative development of principal components, and systematic comparison across policies, generates salient statistical information without being evaluative. Results suggest that the specialized nature of art museum libraries guides their collection development policies and that increasing access to policies can benefit both direct stakeholders and the professional community at large. Acknowledging that the data collection and assessment took place prior to the coronavirus pandemic and the United States’ most recent reckoning with racial justice, professionals at the selected institutions were invited to share policy adjustments, new initiatives, and updated practices. The article concludes with a summary of these responses, considering if and how the collecting practices and/or policies of art museum libraries changed as a result of the events of 2020.


A History of Library Exhibitions and Their Development
Carol Ng-He and Elizabeth Meinke

Abstract- Exhibitions have been an important aspect of librarianship throughout history. Without an understanding of their past, the current efforts and impacts of exhibitions are undervalued. Through a literature review that focuses on the history of exhibitions with roots in Europe and related contemporary issues in the United States, the authors argue that exhibitions are part of a library’s identity. They also make recommendations for how to document library exhibitions for the future, including following library exhibition best practices, forging institutional collaborations, and expanding librarian professional development opportunities.


Embedded Librarianship in the Library: A Case Study in Interior Design
Leah Reilly Sherman

Abstract- The author describes three consecutive years of embedded librarianship with an interior design course in which students were asked to reimagine a selected space within Florida State University’s main university library as their final project. The narrative traces the evolution of this embedded partnership from its last in-person, pre-pandemic semester in 2019, through the fully remote 2020–2021 academic year, and back to in-person instruction in fall 2021. Besides discussing the agility and resiliency of this partnership, takeaways are offered for readers interested in strengthening similar embedded collaborations.

Art Documentation Editors

Judy Dyki

Dir of Acad Programs & Library

Art Documentation Editor