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.
ARLIS/NA members may access Art Documentation electronically via a controlled access site:
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
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Tables of Contents
To search Art Documentation contents 1982-present, visit the journal home page with the University of Chicago Press.
2022: Volume 41
2021: Volume 40
2020: Volume 39
2019: Volume 38
2018: Volume 37
2017: Volume 36
2016: Volume 35
2015: Volume 34
2014: Volume 33
2013: Volume 32
2012: Volume 31
2011: Volume 30
2010: Volume 29
2009: Volume 28
2008: Volume 27
Current Issue Abstracts
Art Documentation vol. 41, no. 1 (Spring 2022)
“And That Is the Basis of ARLIS/NA”: Enduring Values across the Fifty-Year History of the Art Libraries Society of North America
Emilee Mathews, Lori Salmon, Cathryn Copper, and Karina Wratschko
Abstract— Since its founding in 1972, the Art Libraries Society of North America (ARLIS/NA) has helped art information professionals develop, promote, and improve library and information resources and services. For the society’s fiftieth anniversary, a group of members who previously served on the Strategic Directions Committee reflect on the society’s initiatives—past and present—that highlight the values of collectivity, inclusion, and transparency. The authors make recommendations as possible ways for ARLIS/NA to continue building on its history over the next fifty years, particularly that of documentation, so that members can better draw on the society’s history.
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.
Who Were We? Where Did We Go? Voices from the Early Years of the Art Libraries Society of North America
Carol Terry, Betty Jo (BJ) Irvine, Janis Ekdahl, Sherman Clarke, and Milan R. Hughston
Abstract— The first Art Libraries Society of North America conference was held in New York City in 1973. The final session of the conference posed the questions, “Who are we? Where are we going?” Now in 2022, five long-time members of the society reflect on those questions, providing some perspective on the origins, early years, and accomplishments of ARLIS/NA. What was the impetus for a stand-alone organization, given the many other library associations with art librarian members? Who were the leaders who made it happen? How did regional chapters develop? Who were the exhibitors and sponsors? How did the publications advance the profession? What were some of the highlights along the way?
Preserving [Spectral] Knowledge: Indigeneity, Haunting, and Performing the Embodied Archive
Abstract— GLAM professionals face practical and ethical challenges when tasked with the preservation and maintenance of intangible Indigenous artworks. Indigenous knowledge is often communicated in the form of embodied performance: it is transmitted through ceremonies, rituals, oral tradition, and lived experience. In approaching such material through a postcustodial lens, and invoking the Records Continuum Model (RCM), practitioners must appreciate the human body as a form of archive. By examining contemporary North American Indigenous artists’ interventions on the colonial archive, GLAM professionals may be better positioned to understand the embodied archive, complex spectral indigeneity, and the challenges of institutionalizing these dense conceptual materials. This article examines the work of Jordan Abel and Rebecca Belmore, two contemporary Indigenous artists, and considers how their performance practices serve as instructive, revisionist, and revolutionary articulations of archival bodies.
Beyond the Fountain: Mapping a New Entry Point to the Society of Independent Artists
Abstract— “Beyond the Fountain” is a digital humanities project that creates a new entry point into the history of the Society of Independent Artists by utilizing data from its first exhibition catalog. The project seeks to align with the original democratic spirit of the show, giving each artist an equal opportunity to be discovered through an interactive map. Overall, the goal of “Beyond the Fountain” is to explore the Society of Independent Artists in a new way, with an emphasis on bringing lesserknown artists to light. This article highlights the tools and methods used for creating this map in order to encourage similar digital art history projects.
The Prejudices and Antipathies of Art: Teaching Students about Bias in the Library of Congress Fine Arts Classification during One-Shot Instruction
Abstract— While neutrality was one of the original tenants of the Library of Congress Classification System (LCC) and its subject headings (LCSH), both are centered in white, male, Eurocentric power structures. How can art librarians with instruction responsibilities intervene so their patrons know they are working with a biased system? After investigating how the LCC Fine Arts range privileges white, male, European art over art made by women and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) artists by favoring fine art over craft, this article discusses a thirty-minute lesson plan that introduces students to these inherent biases within LCC.
Acquiring Artists’ Books at Art Book Fairs: Dynamic Collection Development Practices
Abstract— Strategies for acquisitions in art and special collections libraries require multiple modes and methods. Over the past decade, art book fairs have emerged as an exciting and worthwhile venue for collecting artists’ books and other special collections materials such as zines, posters, and ephemera. Art book fairs occur internationally, and the attendance of librarians at these events continues to rise with the overall popularity of the fairs. Despite this growth, there is a lack of professional literature in the field that documents and examines how and why art librarians utilize art book fairs for collection development, especially for acquiring artists’ books. In response, the author distributed an online survey in the fall of 2020 and conducted a literature review to further this research. This article considers the inception of art book fairs and presents the findings of the online survey and literature review. To conclude, the author reflects on the useful qualities of art book fairs for collection development and community building.
A Case Study in Artful Collaboration: Finding Synergies between a College Campus Museum and Library
Gisela Carbonell, Jonathan H. Harwell, and Rachel Walton
Abstract— This case study offers a small liberal arts college perspective in its discussion of a series of successful collaborations between an academic art museum and library. The decade of art-driven collaborations described here reveal important synergies between museum and library professionals’ work and goals, with implications for best practices in more intentional and effective approaches to art education on college campuses. The authors chose to focus on the breadth, depth, and impact of these collaborations at the local level, specifically as they relate to the discovery and access of book collections, creation and curation of digital projects and online collections, curriculum integration and faculty engagement, and exhibitions with public programming. The authors’ intent in sharing these experiences is two-fold: first, to offer a possible model for other institutions and practitioners, and second, to broaden the literature for and about collaborations among galleries, libraries, archives, and museums (GLAM).