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
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. 36, no. 2 (Fall 2017)

Break the Stereotype! Critical Visual Literacy in Art and Design Librarianship
Stephanie Grimm and Amanda Meeks 

Abstract—The authors consider an approach to visual literacy instruction that is rooted in the philosophies and practices of critical librarianship and feminist pedagogy. They explore the extent and limitations of existing standards, frameworks, and pedagogical models to support an idea of critical visual literacy, particularly in the context of art and design schools and creative career- focused institutions. By examining practices and examples from other disciplines, the authors identify strategies for teaching critical visual literacy in context. These pedagogical models inform the design and revision of two workshops for art and design students.

Understanding Art-Making as Documentation
Tim Gorichanaz 

Abstract—Typically, arts information professionals are concerned with the documentation of artwork. As a provocation, this conceptual article explores how art-making itself can be considered a form of documentation and finished artworks as documents in their own right. In this view, art works as evidence in referencing something else, within a broader system, and under scrutiny it exposes how it references. Some implications of this perspective are discussed, springing from a historical discussion of document epistemology, research on the information behavior of artists, and the philosophy of Nelson Goodman. This discussion provides a framework for conceptualizing artistic information behavior along the entire information chain. Framing art-making in terms of information science in this way may help arts information professionals assist artists, as well as provide grounds for deeper co-understandings between artists and information scientists. Once information scientists consider art as a kind of document, one can begin to see that even non-artistic documents perhaps never were as “objective” or “factual” as they may have seemed.

Exploring Community Memory and Multiple Understandings of Landscape: Activating the Collections of the UCLA Department of Geography Air Photo Archives
Jade Finlinson 

Abstract—Applying archival theories and advocating for interdisciplinary approaches to public outreach and historical resource access, this article explores the multiple contexts embodied in the oblique aerial photographs at the UCLA Department of Geography Air Photo Archives. The author proposes a series of illustrated presentations that would expose these photographs to a wider audience, emphasizing the photographs’ research value as historical artifacts and as sites of communal memory sharing. The goal of the project is to engage the cultural context of the photographs’ creation as well as “activate” their content to inspire dialogue about how we build, perceive, and conduct our lives in the physical landscape.

Understanding Copyfraud: Public Domain Images and False Claims of Copyright
Chris Needham

Abstract—Copyright fraud or copyfraud—when museums misrepresent or restrict rights in ways that go against public domain copyright law—continues to be a widespread practice even in the years following the 1999 Bridgeman Art Library, LTD. v. Corel Corp. court case. To help clarify this situation, the author first reviews the relevant copyright issues, then considers some of the problems that copyfraud creates in universities, publishing houses, and museums. In conclusion, he explores the ways museums, supported by their librarians and visual resources managers, have recently changed their approach to copyright and copyfraud, and the ways in which this is transforming scholarship and allowing scholars and librarians to better serve the public.

Print Objects and Fashion Subjects: Independent Publishing in the Contemporary Fashion Milieu since the l980s
Susan E. Thomas 

Abstract—The author documents and discusses the independent books, magazines, and print projects produced by fashion designers since the 1980s when fashion and art aligned and fashion publishing transformed. Significant collaboration among fashion designers, graphic designers, photographers, and artists developed in the 1980s and continues in the twenty-first century. Self-published zines and lookbooks, small-press photobooks, and independent magazines point away from the fashion industry and towards the febrile and conceptual world of artists’ books and magazines. Fashion designers’ practices have expanded, and book making and publishing, rooted in art and graphic design, have become significant and symbolic multidisciplinary activities within specific networks of distribution. 

When Research Does Not Start with a Question: Teaching with the Framework and Visual Literacy Standards within Art and Architecture Librarianship
Stephanie Beene and Shannon Marie Robinson 

Abstract—While much has been written about implementing the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education in various classroom settings, this article addresses mapping the ACRL Visual Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education to the Framework in designing instruction for art and architecture students. Disciplinary lenses, allowing for an integrative, pragmatic heuristic, are coupled with an integration of approaches found in the library instruction literature, including faculty and librarian teaching partnerships and assessment. The versatility of mapping these professional documents is demonstrated through implementation in both one-shot and embedded instruction. 

Visual Thinking Strategies from the Museum to the Library: Using VTS and Art in Information Literacy Instruction
Amelia Nelson 

Abstract—Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) offers teaching librarians a unique opportunity to integrate a work of art directly into their instruction. VTS is a technique developed by Abigail Housen and Philip Yenawine that uses art in facilitated discussions to encourage participation, critical thinking, and close looking as well as synthesis of different points of views and complex thinking. In this article the author examines how VTS can be used in instruction to further the outcomes of information and visual literacy. Observations and questions that are generated as part of a VTS session can be employed to model a successful research strategy and to scaffold to the art historical concepts of formal analysis and critical analysis. The author starts with an introduction to the theory behind VTS and follows with examples of how VTS is being used as part of an information literacy instruction program offered by The Spencer Art Reference Library at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.

Managing Contemporary Art Documentation in Museums and Special Collections
Deena Engel and Glenn Wharton 

Abstract—The authors present their research on wiki software to supplement standard collections management databases for art documentation in museums and special collections. Many new forms of documentation, particularly for installations, media, and performance art, are not well accommodated by standard relational database applications. The Artist Archives Initiative, a research project at New York University, was developed in part to address this concern. The first undertaking of the initiative is the development of an information resource for the artist David Wojnarowicz. An interdisciplinary team of archivists, art historians, computer scientists, and conservators spent two years developing the David Wojnarowicz Knowledge Base. This article reports the research undertaken that led to the selection of open-source software for the resource and the project website, the technical details of implementing the project, and its theoretical and contextual basis in scholarly research on contemporary art.

From the Ground Up: Building, Digitizing, and Describing a Local Art Collection
Bryan Ricupero and Amanda Lehman 

Abstract—Art in public spaces has a long, rich history. The Art in the Library collection at the University of Wyoming Libraries is a manifestation of the desire to enhance communal space and engage with the active local arts community. Since 2003, this collection has grown through changing spaces, digitization, and metadata enrichment to become a gem in the physical and digital landscapes of the libraries. This article shares the process of the Art in the Library project including its inception and history, stages of development, continued maintenance, and some lessons learned. Developing the collection created an opportunity for interdepartmental enrichment of the library and university communities, and its continuing support of relationships across campus more than justifies the time and work invested in it. 

Making a Collaborative Mobile Architectural Guidebook Application
Martin Aurand

Abstract—Architectural guidebooks are among the most common and accessible instruments of architectural documentation. Cyrca Pittsburgh is a mobile architectural guidebook application that offers a new modality of architectural documentation to the city of Pittsburgh. The application is the illustrative product of a collaborative association of architects and designers with an architectural library and archives. In this article, a short survey of architectural guidebooks positions Cyrca Pittsburgh within the genre. The author discusses the making of Cyrca Pittsburgh in terms of its development and key components: its concept and project team, its origins in related projects, the collection of buildings and sites at its core, its content development, its technology and design, and its rollout and release.

The Small Easy: Budget-Neutral Digital Projects at Small Libraries
Eric Michael Wolf and Lauren Gottlieb-Miller

Abstract—Small museum libraries with one or two staff members are inspired by the large-scale digital projects of bigger flagship institutions. How can one translate this inspiration to action with small means and few staff? Over the past year the Menil Collection Library has embarked on small-scale digitization projects that are budget-neutral but provide access to information and resources generated by the museum that were previously found only in the archives. From repackaging born-digital gallery guides and ephemera to capturing and cataloging finding aids and foundation documents, library staff are beginning to make the entire exhibition history available globally for the first time. Full surrogates of some Special Collections materials are now part of the scholarly record as well. This has not only made valuable information more accessible but also helped raise the library’s profile within the broader digital initiatives of the museum.

Low-Cost High-Impact Makerspaces at the Rutgers University Art Library
Megan Lotts 

Abstract—There has been a resurgence of the do-it-yourself movement in the twenty-first century. As a result, libraries are becoming laboratories in which students learn to think, explore, and meet other like-minded individuals outside the classroom. Although makerspaces in public libraries have received much attention, many academic, museum, and special libraries are seeing the benefits as well. Makerspaces provide opportunities for self-driven hands-on learning that encourages creative thinking and builds problem-solving skills. This article describes the benefits of makerspaces for art libraries, highlights art libraries where “making” is happening, and provides practical examples of ways libraries can create high-impact low-cost makerspaces that engage and educate their communities.