Hi all and happy holidays! The Artist Files SIG welcomes 37 new members to the SIG since my last update on August 17, 2018. We currently have 342 members
Artist Files SIG at the ARLIS/NA 2019 Conference, Salt Lake City
The Artist Files SIG meets on Friday, March 29, 2019, 4:10 pm – 5:00 pm. I realize this is late in the conference. Will this time be a problem for anyone? FYI, we had 33 members at our 2018 meeting in NYC.
On Thursday, March 28, 11:00 am – 12:00 pm, Artist Files SIG member Anne Evenhaugen moderates the session, “Better to Receive?: Approaches to Building, Managing, and Promoting Artist Files Collections.” Thank you to Artist Files SIG co-coordinator Alexandra Reigle for helping to organize this session as well as presenting, and to the other SIG members who are speaking:
- “Archive in the Artist Files: The Evans-Tibbs Collection” – Anna Cohen Tomlinson, Assistant Special Collections Librarian, National Gallery of Art Library
- “The Changing Shape of an Art Museum Library Pamphlet File” – Karen Stafford, Head of Technical Services, Ryerson & Burnham Libraries, Art Institute of Chicago
- “A League of Their Own: The Art Students League Artist Files Collection” – Alexandra Reigle, Reference Librarian, Smithsonian American Art and Portrait Gallery Library
- “Looking Forward, Looking Back: Constituent Files and Archival Practice” – Keli Rylance, Head Librarian, Saint Louis Art Museum
The ARLIS/NA Cataloging Advisory Committee and the Artist Files SIG are co-organizing the workshop, Data In Sight: Leveraging MarcEdit To Bring (Better) Data To Light on Tuesday, March 26, 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm. MarcEdit’s creator, Terry Reese, will present the workshop. Thanks to Bronwen Bitetti, ARLIS/NA Cataloging Advisory Committee Chair, for proposing and moderating the workshop. I recommend you register early if you want a seat.
Artist Files Cataloging Update
Our SIG published Best Practices For Cataloging Artist Files Using MARC on August 15, 2018. Per Jay Weitz, Senior Consulting Database Specialist, WorldCat Metadata Quality, code 040 $e dcarlisnaaf now validates in WorldCat as of December 10, 2018. The Amon Carter research library shares the following example record using the new guidelines and 040 $e code.
Nathan Putnam, Director, Metadata Quality, OCLC, rounded up 174,739 MARC records in WorldCat representing artist files. I shared with him a sampling of the variety of cataloging approaches in the database, so this figure can only be a best estimate. Nathan is now working on a report that sorts out these records by OCLC symbol and also shows which records have more than one holding attached. A handful of us have attached holdings to existing records. That said, our SIG decided that the best approach is to keep each institution’s records independent and not aggregate holdings.
To my question about the limits of what OCLC can do to these records using batch processing, Nathan said, “We can edit most anything. The only problematic things may be if you want to make a change to 1 field based on data in another field. It may still be doable, but it will depend on how complicated the query is.” The trick now is to decide what level of change institutions would like to see made to these records within the limitations of OCLC batch processing with the overall goal of normalizing them to comply with the new guidelines. I urge your feedback on next steps for the OCLC side. I would also be willing to work directly with any of our members to take a close look their records and help work out whether editing is best done with OCLC or locally—or some combination. We have a nice spreadsheet which surveys many of our institutions and reports on the current status of their artist files. The Amon Carter will use MarcEdit to transform about 9,000 names into MARC recording following the new best practices guideline.
Artist Files Directory
Marc Gratch, the WordPress developer whom we are working with to develop the new artist files directory, has been busy with other obligations for the last few months. However, I am meeting with him very soon to get the directory ready for some test entries. Our chief challenge has been changing the database structure to accommodate institutions with multiple artist files collections. In those cases, each collection warrants a separate entry due to subject focus, a named collection, or for some other reason. I am making a call to hear from any institution that will need multiple entries in the directory. I would like to do some testing with you. My goal is to have the new directory complete by the 2019 conference in Salt Lake City.
Along with a number of minor improvements, our site now offers a content browsing structure and search! I hope these new features improve access to content. Load artistfiles.arlisna.org and take a look.
If you want to have your artist files collection featured in a blog, please let me know. I would be thrilled to learn more about a new collection and to promote it on the SIG’s website.
As always, thanks for your interest and participation in the AFSIG. I’m always eager to hear your ideas about advancing our mission.
Sam Duncan, Co-Coordinator, Artist Files SIG