Fine(ly catalogued) Art

Fair warning: I’m about to get a little geeky on you guys. But I had a really good day at work, and I learned a bunch of tangential (but useful) stuff…

First, part of my job is to catalog images that we add to our repository for teaching purposes. We have sort of “skeleton” fields that are required on all records — artist, date, medium, repository, etc. — and then there are those that would be very, very useful, but that we just don’t consistently find on all of the images we process — subject, style, technique, dimensions, collection name, repository number, etc. I would love to be more thorough about this, but it comes down to the fact that there is a huge amount of work to be done, and not enough time to spend so much on each image. We get the basics in — supplementary material when it’s not too hard to find — and we move on. But, oh, how I would love to have subject terms like the Tate’s! check this out:

Tate Subjects



I love the hierarchy! I wish we could do it, but I understand that such hierarchical vocabularies (like the Getty’s ULAN and TGN) are big, and bog our system down considerably, while we only use a tiny percentage of the information they provide. We still use the terms in their vocabularies, but not in a hierarchical way, so searching for Paris will get you Paris, but not France or Europe. Anyway, I want to learn more about the Tate’s subject hierarchy…

And (I said I learned a bunch of stuff), I discovered this website that I’m really curious about: The Wikimedia Commons, which seems to be a repository of images that anyone can use (not just under Fair Use). I think this is fantastic, because it seems most people want you to pay for images, regardless of what they’re of. Here, they use two-dimensional works that are in the public domain (case law reference: Bridgeman Art Library vs. Corel Corp.), or works that the contributors give permission to use. I think we need more of this, frankly. And I’m happy that I can add a seesaw picture to yesterday’s post without worrying about eventually getting a $200 bill from a stock photo company.

Final interesting thing I learned today: I’ll just let Kylie – The Exhibition speak for itself. Okay, I can’t resist speaking for her just a little… I was in England when her Fever album was big, and those songs will always take me back. I love that she’s “icon” enough to headline at the V&A, and it’s pretty cool in general the way they attend to historical and contemporary subjects alike… Here’s some Kylie for your enjoyment (note that this only works if you have iTunes, and even if you do have iTunes, you might have to remind the computer… or something like that… let me know if this works or if it’s more trouble than it’s worth) (and thanks again to c.go for keeping me updated on all the latest tools):

Kylie Minogue - Fever - Can't Get You out of My Head




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Filed under art, Information Science, work

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