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). The subscription to Art Documentation is included as part of membership in ARLIS/NA. Authors who wish to publish their work in Art Documentation should consult the Contributor Guidelines.

Art Documentation is published for ARLIS/NA by University of Chicago Press, which supports green open access for all of its journals. 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.

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Tables of Contents

To search Art Documentation contents 1982-present, go to the journal home page.


2017: Volume 36

Issue 1 / Spring

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. 36, no. 1 (Spring 2017)

The Aura of Materiality: Digital Surrogacy and the Preservation of Photographic Archives
Jasmine E. Burns

Abstract—Through a discussion of the materiality of photographic documents and the inherent qualities of digital objects, this article examines the viability of digitization as a method of archival photographic preservation. By exploring notions of surrogacy, originality, and aura, the author presents and deconstructs the popular argument that digital versions of material photographs preserve a representation of the object’s content rather than a reproduction of its material form. The process of digitization therefore brings forth a wholly new object into existence. The author’s argument against this common perception is that, rather than eliminating the material evidence of the object’s existence, the digitization of these materials and the subsequent dissemination of photographic surrogates enhances those material qualities that are not inherently represented in the digital object.

The World Is as It Appears: Memory, Film, City and Perception: General Considerations for Architectural Education by an Architect and Librarian
Mayra Jiménez-Montano, José E. Flores-Ramos, and Anna L. Georas

Abstract—For this article, an architect and librarian teamed up to systemize the means of theoretical development in architectural design students through the use of visual culture (film). To achieve their goal, they used pedagogical criteria to measure and assess the accrual of visual skills. Architectural design education is inextricable from city-based exploration and research. Traces of how architecture is taught and evaluated are embedded in the built environment. Teaching strategies that guide the development of visual literacy skills are essential in order to optimize the learning experience. To effectively apply these strategies, professors and academic librarians need to work in close collaboration to strengthen their students’ visual skills.

Conversations with the Avant-Garde: The Books of Mikhail Karasik
Melanie E. Emerson

Abstract—Mikhail Karasik is one of Russia’s leading contemporary figures in the field of artists’ books. Karasik relies heavily on stylistic elements and tropes that are deeply embedded in Russian art history as the foundation for his books, in which he juxtaposes new images and contexts. Coupled with the processes of collage and litho-graphy, Karasik reinforces the intertwining nature of personal narrative and collective memory. By overlapping and layering, the artist uses his distinctive voice to retell histories. This article examines the ways in which Karasik’s books act in dialogue with earlier avant-garde practices and create a new narrative.

Library as a Space of Education
Magdalena Mazik and Elżbieta Sala-Hołubowicz

Abstract—The authors show how inspiration by the creative process of contemporary artists can enrich one’s understanding of cultural institutions such as libraries. In their analysis of the library at MOCAK the Museum of Contemporary Art in Kraków, Poland—the only art museum library in the country open to the public—and the educational activities conducted there, they describe an open form of institutional projects and the challenges they bring to art education.

Documenting the History of the White House Library Fireplace Tiles, 1944-1962
Sally Sims Stokes

Abstract—The author offers a history of the commemorative decorative ceramic tiles produced for the White House library fireplace in the 1940s and removed in the 1960s. She describes the process of and challenges inherent in documenting the design and manufacture of the tiles and interpreting their meaning. In addition, she explores questions having to do with the tiles’ significance as elements of the historical fabric of the White House and as products of the Mosaic Tile Company of Zanesville, Ohio. Issues having to do with provenance, ownership, and the value of the tiles as museum objects are also covered.

Ensuring the Legacy of Self-Taught and Local Artists: A Collaborative Framework for Preserving Artists' Archives
Colin Post

Abstract—Many institutions collect the papers of prominent artists, but similar efforts have rarely extended to the archives of self-taught artists and artists of local renown. The author recommends that institutions establish collaborative relationships with local artists, supporting these artists’ personal archiving efforts with guidance and resources, and providing an archival repository for long-term community access to these materials. This article presents a case study of such a relationship between Durham-based painter Cornelio Campos and the Durham County Library. The author analyzes this effort to articulate a general framework for establishing strong relationships between local artists and cultural heritage institutions.

Avoiding Controversy: Academic Freedom and the Library Exhibit
Mary Kandiuk

Abstract—University libraries have a range of exhibit spaces used to promote their own collections that they also make available to different communities. The American Library Association Library Bill of Rights provides guidelines regarding exhibits and exhibit spaces to assist libraries in upholding free speech and rights. The author provides a review of library exhibit policies in the context of the Library Bill of Rights and examines whether these policies support the principles of intellectual freedom and freedom of expression. The policies reveal limits on academic freedom that question the concept of library neutrality.

Drifting through Research: How the Bibliodérive Inspired New Approaches to Information Literacy at Flaxman Library
Mackenzie Salisbury and Nick Ferreira

Abstract—A bibliodérive is the application of the Situationist International practice of the dérive or “drift” to the realm of research, libraries, and archives. The Flaxman Library (School of the Art Institute of Chicago) bibliodérive event in February 2015 was a collection of open-ended actions, or situations, designed to challenge students to think non-linearly about research. Using approaches similar to the bibliodérive event, Flaxman librarians have experimented with new methods of library instruction that advance these generative and serendipitous modes of research. This article describes how librarians incorporated these practices along with the ACRL Framework into instruction.

Librarians as Co-Teachers and Curators: Integrating Information Literacy in a Studio Art Course at a Liberal Arts College
Lijuan Xu and Nestor Gil

Abstract—The authors describe a faculty-librarian team-teaching approach to building information literacy in a studio class. Information literacy was written into the course goals and integrated throughout the semester. Through a series of assignments, students explored the connection between research and art-making, and they developed a clear sense of the various backgrounds against which their artwork might be understood as a contribution or response. Through exhibiting their work in library spaces, they confronted curatorial challenges faced by practicing artists. The close and ongoing collaboration resulted in better creative work from students and led to further pedagogical and curricular innovations.

A New Chapter for the Corcoran Library: Transforming an Art School Library into a University Art and Design Collection
Shira Loev Eller

Abstract—In February 2014, Washington, DC’s financially ailing Corcoran Gallery of Art and its College of Art + Design were absorbed by the National Gallery of Art and The George Washington University, respectively. This article describes the Corcoran Library’s transformation into an art and design collection within a larger university library system. It also addresses the process’s benefits and challenges, lessons learned, and ongoing questions. While the Corcoran Library’s situation is unique, this case study speaks to the larger trend of library consolidations and closures in North America and aims to impart valuable takeaways to librarians faced with these changes. The author is a former employee of the Corcoran Library and now serves as GW Libraries’ liaison to the Corcoran School.

Better Together: A Holistic Approach to Creating a Digital Preservation Policy in an Art Museum
Emily Rafferty and Becca Pad

Abstract—Dire warnings about the fate of the world’s digital heritage are becoming commonplace—and with good reason. Unless action is taken, much of the digitized and born-digital material held by libraries, archives, and museums is in danger of loss. Despite momentum for change within institutions and associated professional organizations, a major implementation gap remains, particularly for art museums. This case study explores the current landscape of digital preservation in art museums through the context of the creation of a holistic digital preservation policy for museum, library, and archive assets within The Baltimore Museum of Art.

Rebranding the Hamon Arts Library Blog: Seeking Connections within the Arts Community
Beverly Mitchell

Abstract—Blogs are now a common form of social media used as a communication and outreach tool for libraries. With applications such as WordPress, Blogger, or Tumblr, they are easy to initiate without much financial investment or technology skills. Yet the success of a blog depends on additional factors, including the planning, time, and effort by library staff. In this article, the author discusses how she retired the old Hamon Arts Library Blog for a newly conceived blog that is more dynamic and responsive. Her plan resulted in assembling a team to rebrand the library’s old practice of intermittent blogging into a new one that actively engaged the library staff and encouraged postings from guest bloggers.