Data Management for Artists!

datat_art_036-mrkPanopticon is putting together it’s final/crowning event for the semester: a hands-on, DATA MANAGEMENT FOR ARTISTS workshop. We’ll be doing an overview presentation, but the bulk of the workshop will be breakout groups focused on providing arts-oriented data management counseling.

Do you know any artists who could use some help coming up with strategies for handling their digital assets? We’re talking systems of organization, tools and plans for incorporating metadata into their lives (including using controlled vocabularies), best practices in file naming conventions, approaches to preservation for different kinds of media, search engine optimization, the works.

Are you someone who’s interested in participating in the event on the LIS side? Let us know!

Saturday, May 7th from 1-5 PM.

Workshop it Out

Panopticon, ALA, and PLG Present:


Wednesday, April 6th, from 6:30-10 PM <– Note the slight change in times

Featuring speakers:

Dawn Stahura (Beatley Library), Sarah Ruggeiro (Papercut Zine Library), Linnea Vegh (North Bennet Street School), and Mckenzie Mullen (SLIS)

6:30-7:30ish – Student/Faculty Lunch Room in the Main College Bldg
(Talk shop)
~Transitional peek at the makerspace in Beatley Library~
7:30ish – onward – The Collaboratory (Workshop)

BYOScissors, but we’ll provide photocopiers, glue sticks, typewriters, tons of magazines to cut up, ideas, staplers, pencils, pens, etc.

$$ raffle to benefit Papercut Zine Library + win some cool prizes…




Artist Books Online

So we made a worthwhile discovery tonight. It’s not cutting edge, but it’s new to us, so it’s likely new to you, too, and if you have any interest in text encoding, this is a resource that you can really take a plunge into.

Johanna Drucker heads up the Digital Humanities over at UCLA (though this project is under the auspices of the University of Virginia), and one of her many cool projects is the Artist Books Online. From the website,

“ABsOnline consists of files that display artists’ books, exhibits, essays, and links to other collections or resource materials for this field. There is an index of agents (authors, publishers, binders, printers etc. of books and works represented), titles (of works, books, and sometimes objects), contributors (authors of essays, exhibits, commentary), and of collections and other resources.”

Artist Books Online



Meet & Greet & Eat Pizza (Again)

Come and interface/stuff your face with your friendly campus arts librarianship organization! We want to know what you want to see from us, and we can’t wait to tell you about what we have in the works for this semester. panopticon_meet_02022016_flat

Remember: Big plans require big pizzas.

End of Semester Movie: Desk Set

With a name like Bunny Watson, Katharine Hepburn might make one of our favorite fictional depictions of a reference librarian of all time. Come and watch the age old battle between librarians and computers take place in a single room in 1957–all set against a Christmas backdrop! Perfect.

Sunday, December 13 — Lecture Hall 183, Science Building 


Writing Papers on Art Librarianship?

Call for papers on art librarianship for Art Librarians of North America Society Award

The Gerd Muehsam Award is given annually to recognize excellence in a graduate student paper or project on a topic relevant to art librarianship. It was established to honor the memory of Gerd Muehsam (1913-1979), a distinguished scholar, teacher, and art bibliographer, whose support of and dedication to the Art Librarians Society of North America was an inspiration to her colleagues and students.

Any student in any accredited graduate library program is encouraged to submit a paper written for a course in the previous eighteen months (since June 2014).

The award includes:

  • A $500.00 prize
  • Up to $300 travel reimbursement to attend the ARLIS/NA+VRA 3rd Joint Conference in Seattle, March 2016. The money may be used to reimburse travel expenses (though not meals, tours, or some other incidental costs).
  • Paid registration to the Seattle Joint Conference with the Visual Resources Association, March 8-12, 2016.
  • The chance to present the winning paper at the conference as part of the New Voices Panel.
  • A one-year membership to ARLIS/NA.


  • The paper or project must have been created or written during the preceding eighteen months by a student enrolled in an accredited graduate library program or in a post-graduate library school program in art history or a related discipline.
  • The paper or project must be in conjunction with a course assignment.
  • One submission is allowed per person.


All applicants must include their mailing addresses, email addresses, and telephone numbers with their applications.

Paper submissions must include:

  • 10-25 pages, as typed, double-spaced on single sides of 8.5 x 11 inch paper.
  • An abstract of 250 words.
  • The title page must include a paper title, the name of the entrant and the institution attended, the name of the faculty member for whom it was written, and the course title.
  • Bibliography and footnotes should follow an accepted format, such as the Chicago Manual of Style or The Elements of Style by Strunk and White.
  • Authors should inform the committee chair if their contribution has been published previously or is being considered for publication.

Internet project submissions must include:

  • A 250-word summary of the project.
  • A stable URL.
  • The name of the institution and course for which it was created.
  • The name of the faculty member assigning the project.
  • The project must be accessible to all of the committee members for review.

Judging Criteria

Papers and projects will be judged on their relevance to art librarianship or visual curatorship, depth of research and scholarship, quality of organization, appropriate use of terminology, style and readability, and originality of thought or observation.

Application & Deadline

Entries must be postmarked by the end of the day, December 5, 2015. They will not be returned. All applicants should receive notification of the results by February 10, 2016.

Mail or transmit entries to:

John Hagood
Chair, Gerd Muehsam Award Committee
National Gallery of Art
2000B South Club Drive

Landover MD 20785-3068

(202) 842-6688

Burning Questions

A few more to prepare you for tomorrow’s conversation in the Park Science Center, in which a group of unparalleled professionals will take apart art, archives, and digital stewardship apart and put them back together again.

  • When did artists realize that they wanted to document their art? Is this a new phenomenon?
  • Documentation gives non-artists contact with artist process. Is this challenging if the artist wants their process to remain opaque?
  • How does the ability to preserve art that was intended to be ephemeral affect the way the art is interacted with? Or the art itself?
  • Making art more accessible, conserving it for the long term. The primary considerations The Song Exploder podcast recently interviewed  Phil Evrum of the Microphones, who told a story about baking some of his decade-old tape in order to preserve it just long enough to digitize it. Any cool stories along those lines you can share?
  • Understanding of documentation in both the art and archives context. Is there a difference between art documentation and archiving priorities? How do we navigate between the two?
  • Can sensitivity and the affective nature of some art come through the digital wall?
  • Who gets to decide what is documented and what is not? Where does this documentation live? What issues have you had with access?
  • How do we create relationships between artists and archivists so that there is an open dialogue?
  • Let’s take some time to actually flesh out practical concerns vs. theoretical concerns
  • Cool idea: dynamic citations and attributions. Artists often pay homage to their influences when they’re describing a body of work. Link artists, works, and create relationships that weren’t as visible before? This has been done with text-based work, but technology that can capture visual attributes could be used to create new, unexpected parallels between works.How do you think a digital media approach could animate this concept? Link artists, works, and create relationships that weren’t as visible before?
  • Transmedia presentations of information: How can artists take advantage of these expanding, iterative, mutable ways of displaying and sharing their work (/enhancing it?)? Art education: Engaging different kinds of understanding (and types of intelligences) through a wider range of pedagogical approaches, styles of classroom engagement, in-class exercises, assignments, grading rubrics, etc.
  • Respond to: “Digital, polyvocal expression can support a genuine multiverse in which so single point of view can claim center.”
  • Rebecca Schneider “to what degree can performance interrogate archival thinking?”

Food For Thought

Fodder for brainstorming. Weigh in and let us know if you have any suggestions for more. This is only installment 1, so check back for more in the days leading up to the panel…

  • Let’s start with the question of digital stewardship. What are the major concerns for:
    • visual art
    • music
    • performance art
    • film
    • textile art
    • jewelry making

The divergence is fairly clear, but worth enumerating for a general audience. Where is the intersection?

  • How do digital humanities projects that combine transmedia approaches to presenting information factor into this discussion?
  • How does the artist see their art, how do they want it seen, and how does technology affect how that is negotiated?
  • One of things we discuss a great deal in the world of LIS is the digital life cycle, which is what format works live in and what methods of preservation should be employed to ensure their preservation. How does technology affect the negotiation of the ephemerality of works? What sort of plan do you have, if any, for the digital lifecycle of your works, or how you manage others works? How many iterations (tech wise) do you think about works going through / do you care and if so what sort of education does or should support that?
  • Where exactly do art and archives/art and librarianship converge?
  • Peggy Phelan says that the “…attempt to write about the undocumentable event of performance, is to invoke the rules of the written document and thereby alter the event itself.  Just as quantum physics discovered that macro-instruments cannot measure microscopic particles without transforming those particles, so too must performance critics realize that the labor to write about performance (and thus to “preserve” it) is also a labor that fundamentally alters the event.”
  • That said: Do you feel like artists are exploring aspects of archival/ preservation theory? What sort of crossovers are there? Do you feel it is extended from exploring narratives / histories in different mediums and disciplines?