I recently read the MAY 2012 Kress report about digital art history, and it really made me THINK about the future of the field.
- What new digital tools are needed for art historians?
- Has the value of digital scholarship been communicated to the discipline at large?
- Is there a place for digital art history in the graduate curricula?
- Can digital teaching, research, and scholarship help expand the job market for art historians?
To start a dialogue here at Emory, I have created a digital art history research guide and would welcome feedback to make the guide more useful. It highlights some current Emory projects and lists some tools available to our community, as well as listing issues addressed in the Kress Report.
Word and Image (Digitization of Resources)
Not surprisingly, what art historians really want is access to more digitized collections, both art historical texts and image sets.
Zorich list some challenges for art history in the digital realm, including behavioral barriers. My favorite observation is that the work ethos of Digital Humanities Centers (DHC), with teams developing projects “in perpetual beta,” is not the “art history way.” However, she also highlights good work occurring in libraries, museums, university presses, foundations, and specialized professional organizations (like SAH).
Future of Digital Art History
What about the future? Zorich proposes what one might expect….more directed funding, targeted events, fellowships, and training. But, she also mentions two specific tools that should be developed, ..”a creation of ontologies for art history that will enable semantic searching in digital resources” and “the creation of robust, virtual work environments tailored to the research needs of art historians.” Work is happening on both fronts at DHCs, the Getty, etc., but the whole community could benefit from participation.
Hope this report will spark the kind of conversations the art history fields needs to proactively shape our future.
Submitted by Kim Collins on July 17, 2012
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