ARLIS/NA Mid-Atlantic

The Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the Art Libraries Society of North America

Category: Member Posts (page 1 of 4)

Can you help Gregory?

GreggThis is Gregory. He is an Art Librarian at a prominent museum. But he has a secret that he tries to hide from his colleagues. He is addicted to purchasing ARLIS/NA merchandise from the CafePress store. He says he can stop at any time and that the profits go to a good cause*, but he is kidding himself. He fantasizes about even more objects with an ARLIS/NA logo. Please help Gregory and others like him by purchasing ARLIS/NA merch so that he can stop.

*Proceeds from the sale of ARLIS/NA merchandise sold through the ARLIS/NA Mid-Atlantic Chapter’s CafePress store will be used to support the third joint ARLIS/NA+VRA conference in Seattle and the Chapter’s Caroline Backlund Travel Award.

Book Arts Lecture, National Museum of Women in the Arts, November 9, 2015

Where Books & Sculpture Meet: Carol June Barton’s Artist’s Books

Book artist Carol June Barton will talk about creating sculptural books, her research on historic movable books, and her background as a painter. See the Book Arts Lecture flyer for more details.

When: Monday, November 9, 2015, 7:00-8:30pm
Where: Performance Hall, National Museum of Women in the Arts
Admission: Free, reservations not required

Symposium at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, October 16-17

Register now for Shifting Terrain: Mapping a Transnational American Art History at the Smithsonian American Art Museum on October 16–17, 2015!

The increasing internationalization of the study of American art has altered the topography of the discipline in ways that are widely acknowledged but not yet clearly defined. This two-day event will map out the changes that are occurring in the field of American art as it becomes enmeshed in a global art history. Sessions will examine current trends of inquiry and suggest new directions for scholarship. Shifting Terrain is the capstone event in the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s five-part series The Terra Symposia on American Art in a Global Context, initiated in 2006 with support from the Terra Foundation for American Art. More information along with speakers’ bios can be found online at

Fall Meeting Preview: The University of the Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The ARLIS/NA Mid-Atlantic Chapter will hold its fall meeting in Philadelphia on October 16, 2015. Several Philadelphia-area members will be posting profiles about their libraries and collections — watch this space and mark your calendars.

Established in 1876, the University of the Arts is one of the nation’s only universities dedicated solely to educating students in the visual, design, and performing arts. Nearly 1,900 students are enrolled in more than 40 undergraduate and graduate programs, and are taught by almost 500 full- and part-time faculty members on the University’s campus on Broad Street, Philadelphia’s Avenue of the Arts.

The University of the Arts evolved from two century-old institutions: the Philadelphia College of Art (PCA) and Philadelphia College of the Performing Arts (PCPA).

PMSIA purchased 320 South Broad Street in 1893 and has occupied this historic building ever since.

PMSIA purchased 320 South Broad Street in 1893.

PCA was established in 1876 as part of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Together, they were originally known as the Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Art (PMSIA), created in response to the growing interest in art and design education stirred by the country’s Centennial Exposition. In 1949, PCA changed its name to the Philadelphia Museum School of Art, reflecting expanded programs that trained artists in a variety of areas. The school received accreditation 1959, and in 1964 it separated from the Museum to become the Philadelphia College of Art.

The University today.

The University today.

The performing arts programs of the University of the Arts date back to 1870, when three graduates of Germany’s Leipzig Conservatory opened the Philadelphia Musical Academy, one of the first European-style conservatories of music in America. The Academy became an independent college of music in 1950, one of only eight institutions in the nation to offer four-year Bachelor of Music degrees. The school changed its name to the Philadelphia College of the Performing Arts (PCPA) in 1976. One year later, the Philadelphia Dance Academy (founded 1944) became part of PCPA and in 1983 the School of Theater was created, achieving the college’s ideal combination of dance, music and theater arts.

The Philadelphia Musical Academy, 1890 catalog cover.

The Philadelphia Musical Academy, 1890 catalog cover.

In 1985, PCA and PCPA merged to become the Philadelphia Colleges of the Arts. The granting of university status in 1987 brought about one more change, and the University of the Arts became the largest institution of its kind in the nation, offering programs in design, fine arts, media arts, crafts, music, dance and theater.

University Libraries

Supporting the mission of The University of the Arts, the University Libraries educates and inspires students to be effective researchers and critical users of information, and to apply those skills to their artistic, creative, and lifelong endeavors.

The Albert M. Greenfield Library, Music Library, and Visual Resources Collection comprise the University Libraries. The Albert M. Greenfield Library serves as the main library for the campus and contains materials in many formats on art and design, communication, dance, theater, film and television, multimedia, liberal arts, and other general subjects. The Greenfield Library houses the Libraries’ administrative offices, as well as the University Archives. The Archives contains materials documenting the University’s activities and history.

Albert M. Greenfield Library interior.

Albert M. Greenfield Library interior.

Left: UArts Greenfield Library entrance. Right: A student in the UArts Music Library.

Visual Resources and Special Collections (VRSC) provides image resources for teaching and study, and houses the Libraries’ Special Collections, with particular strengths in book arts and textiles, and also contains select collections of alumni work. The visual resources collections are made up of digital images and pictures of a variety of subjects with a focus on reproductions of artwork.

The Music Library, located in the Merriam Theater Building, is a specialized library serving academic programs and interests in music and musical theater. The Music Library contains listening facilities for recorded sound in addition to general reading areas and a music education resource area.

UArts Music Library social media photo.

UArts Music Library social media photo.

An institutional repository, UArts Digital Collections, is being developed to provide digital access to the University’s creative and scholarly output, and archival documents. The growing collections represent the history of the University of the Arts as well as the artistic and creative output of its students, faculty, and alumni.

The Libraries’ instructional program is supported by five librarians who also serve as liaisons to academic programs. The librarians provide in-class instruction as well as one-on-one and group sessions in the libraries. An online chat service accessible on the Libraries homepage is available for reference and other general questions.

Professor Harris Fogel's photography students with library books they selected.

Professor Harris Fogel’s photography students with library books they selected.

The University Libraries holdings include more than 129,000 books and bound periodicals, 19,000 music scores, 114,000 mounted and encapsulated pictures, 20,000 digital images, 21,000 items of recorded music in LP and CD formats, and 4,000 video materials in videocassette and DVD formats. Listening and viewing facilities, Internet and campus wireless access, and networked photocopiers for copying and scanning are available in addition to general reading facilities. The Libraries subscribe to more than 50 electronic reference tools both general and specific to the arts, including an ebook collection holding more than 120,000 multidisciplinary titles, as well as online periodical databases, encyclopedias, and streaming audio and video databases. The library maintains reciprocal use agreements with other nearby academic libraries.


News about services and collections can be found on the Libraries homepage and on the UArts Libraries Facebook page.

New Finding Aids from ICFA, Dumbarton Oaks

The Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives (ICFA) of Dumbarton Oaks is pleased to announce the publication of four (4) new finding aids. These collections document various fieldwork and research projects, relating to Roman and Late Antique pavement mosaics, Byzantine sites in Greece and Turkey, and Coptic architectural sculpture from Oxyrhynchos.

New Finding Aids at ICFA, Dumbarton Oaks

To view the complete PDF finding aids, click on the thumbnail at the top of the following collection-level records in our online inventory, AtoM@DO. You can also check under the “Finding Aids” field for the direct links.

Since our last announcement of published finding aids in August 2014, ICFA staff have continued to work on processing our collections and improving the descriptive metadata in our finding aids in order to make our holdings more discoverable, usable, and accessible to our users. Currently, we are finalizing the processing of two other collections that were created by recognized Byzantine scholars: Corpus for Wall Mosaics in the North Adriatic Area, ca. 1974-1990s (MS.BZ.009) and the Ernst Kitzinger Research Papers and Photographs, 1940s-1980s (MS.BZ.016). We have also completed the digitization for William Earl Betsch Photographs of Architectural Capitals in Istanbul, 1970 (PH.BZ.002). The digital surrogates for Betsch’s negatives will also be added in AtoM@DO, and they will surely complement a related collection in ICFA, Nicholas V. Artamonoff Photographs of Istanbul and Turkey, 1935-1945 (PH.BZ.010). Thus, you can expect to see more and more content in AtoM@DO in the coming months – so stay tuned!

To learn more about these collections and ICFA’s current projects, please see:

Digital Humanities for Art Historians Mini-Workshop Resources

The following resources were compiled by Sarah Osborne Bender to support the Digital Humanities for Art Historians Mini-Workshop held at the ARLIS/NA Mid-Atlantic Summer Meeting, July 24, 2015, in Norfolk, Virginia.

How to keep up with developments in DH:

How to engage with DH initiatives local to our chapter:

Tools for teaching:

Tools for research:


Two accessible data tools:

A few words about cleaning or “tidying” your data:
When working with structured data, having clean or “tidy” data can make a big difference. Hadley Wickham’s article Tidy Data is an excellent introduction if you’re working with data in spreadsheets, especially surveys or values. You can also drop your spreadsheet into Open Refine. This extremely powerful tool is good for resolving erroneous variations in data, and many other things. Thomas Padilla, Digital Scholarship Librarian at Michigan State created an excellent guide to getting started in Open Refine.

Where can you get data to experiment with?
You can get unstructured data, full text of articles or correspondence for example, from sites like Project Guttenberg, Hathi Trust, even JSTOR, or places like the Archives of American Art that have full texts of things like oral histories.

More institutions are opening up their collection data all the time. Just last week, MOMA released its collection data on Github, joining the Tate and the Cooper Hewitt.

Corcoran Artists’ Books Collection at GW Libraries Special Collections Research Center

Horse hair, glass, metal screws, handmade paper, a cotton t-shirt—these are just some of the materials that compose the nearly three hundred artists’ books housed in the Corcoran Artists’ Books Collection at GW Libraries. Conceived by renowned artists such as Ed Ruscha or by up-and-coming artists from the Corcoran’s MA Art and the Book program, these art objects stretch the boundaries of what ‘book’ can mean: Alice Austin’s Milk, Butter, Eggs (2004) resembles a codex, but when opened reveals its accordion folds with illustrations of domestic scenes; Beth Thielen’s The Tower (2007) appears largely sculptural until small booklets unfold from its architectural, watch-tower-like form.   Thielen’s work, made in collaboration with women prisoners from San Quentin State Prison and the California Rehabilitation Centers, embodies the collection’s thematic focus of social justice and consciousness.

Beth Thielen, The Tower (2007); Photo by William Atkins / The George Washington University

Along with this focus on social issues, the collection’s primary purpose is as a teaching collection for book arts students. Each year the Artists’ Books Committee (made up of Art and the Book professors and students, and a librarian) identifies particular social justice issues, like LGBTQ rights or xenophobia, on which to concentrate for new purchases. The committee also selects formal aspects (e.g. flag books or box housings) which will support student work. In addition, the collection contains collaborative works by Art and the Book graduate students such as +/- One Percent (2010), and most recently, An Exquisite Future (2014); these works are published by Corcoran’s in-house publisher, Marginalia Press.

The Corcoran Artists’ Books Collection was slowly amassed over the past several decades by the Corcoran Library at the former Corcoran College of Art + Design—now the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design within The George Washington University. With the acquisition of the Corcoran Library by GW Libraries in 2014, this unique collection was transferred to its new home in GW’s Special Collections Research Center where individual students and class groups can view selected books upon request.

Alice Austin, Milk, Butter, Eggs (2004); Photo by William Atkins / The George Washington University

Alice Austin, Milk, Butter, Eggs (2004); Photo by William Atkins / The George Washington University

Right now through March 20th, you can view a selection of nineteen artists’ books from the Corcoran collection at GW’s Luther W. Brady Gallery. The exhibit entitled “Paper Window” presents a wide range of artist book categories, including photobooks, pop-ups, mixed media books, and altered books. The exhibit also features customized book housings and book-making tools on loan from the Art and the Book graduate program. Visit often as paged books will periodically have new spreads on display. Located on the second floor of GW’s Media and Public Affairs Building (805 21st Street, NW), the Brady Gallery is free and open to the public.

Shira Loev Eller
Art and Design Librarian
Gelman Library
The George Washington University

Upgrade for AtoM@DO, Dumbarton Oaks ICFA’s online database

One year ago today, the Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives (ICFA) of Dumbarton Oaks launched our online database, AtoM@DO ( We are pleased to announce that we have upgraded to a new version (2.1) of the AtoM (Access to Memory) software, which features a redesigned interface and many enhancements for searching and browsing.

In response to feedback from our users, we sponsored development of new functionality within the Places taxonomy through AtoM lead developer Artefactual Systems. You can now browse a hierarchical list of geographic terms with a tree-view that allows you to navigate from broader terms to narrower terms. You can also browse an alphabetical list of places, or search within the taxonomy with a dedicated search box. A persistent Browse menu in the header gives you instant access to all of AtoM@DO’s taxonomies, whether Names, Places, or Subjects. These same access points are now prominently displayed at the top of all archival records, thereby facilitating discovery of related items.

AtoM@DO’s search engine has been enhanced with the implementation of Elasticsearch. Now, when you start a keyword search in the Search box located in the header, suggested matches will appear in real time, faceted by archival description, Names, Places, or Subjects. The search engine is responsive, so the more characters you type, more relevant results will appear dynamically. Additionally, Place terms assigned to archival descriptions will inherit their parent terms, so that searches for “Turkey” will automatically return results for “Istanbul.” AtoM@DO now includes more robust faceting of search results, so that you can narrow large sets quickly to target the most relevant results. Use the facet filters on the left-hand side of the search results page to limit your results by level of description, department, or creator, or by access points (Names, Places, and Subjects).

We hope that you will explore the new AtoM@DO, which contains many more enhancements that we hope will improve our users’ ability to locate archival materials at Dumbarton Oaks. We will continue to add content to AtoM@DO as we process and describe our collections. In the meantime, you can also discover our collections (processed and unprocessed) through a variety of channels, whether HOLLIS, WorldCat, or ArchiveGrid.

For more information on how to use the new features, please see the AtoM@DO FAQ page prepared by ICFA staff. Feel free contact us with any questions or feedback at We would especially like to thank our colleague, Prathmesh Mengane, Database and CMS Developer, whose dogged assistance made this upgrade possible.

~Shalimar Abigail Fojas White, Manager, Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives, Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection

Scholar-In-Residence Program at Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens

Application Deadline Extended: March 2, 2015

Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens announces a new scholar-in-residence program. PhD candidates or higher and any qualified applicants are encouraged to apply. There is no application form. Applicants should submit a curriculum vitae and a proposal, not to exceed 500 words, stating the necessary length of residence, materials to be used and/or studied, and the project’s relevance to Hillwood’s collections and/or exhibition programincluding, but not limited to: art and architecture, landscape design, conservation and restoration, archives, library and/or special collections, as well as broader study areas such as the history of collecting or material culture. The project description should be accompanied by two letters of recommendation and will be reviewedby the selection committee.

There are three potential types of awards:

Type #1: 1- 2 weeks
Hillwood will arrange and pay for travel costs to and from the museum; housing near campus; shop and café discounts; free access to all public programs.

Type #2: 1-3 months
Hillwood will arrange and pay for travel costs to and from the museum; shop and café discounts; free access to all public programs; a stipend of up to $1,500 per month depending on length of stay.

Type #2: 3-12 months
Hillwood will arrange and pay for travel costs to and from the museum; shop and café discounts; free access to all public programs; visa support (if necessary); a stipend of up to $1,500 per month depending on length of stay.

Hillwood is in a special class of cultural heritage institution as a historic site, a testament to the life of an important 20th century figure, an estate campus, magnificent garden, and a museum with world renowned special collections. Founded by Marjorie Merriweather Post (1887-1973), heir to the Post Cereal Companies that later became General Foods, the Museum houses over 17,000 works of art. It includes one of the largest and most important collections of Russian art outside of Russia, comprising pieces from the pre-Petrine to early Soviet periods, an outstanding collection of French and European art, and jewelry, textile, fashion and accessories collections. As part of the visitor experience, and in conjunction with a robust offering of public and educational programs, the Museum presents two changing special exhibitions annually that bring together objects and thematic content that highlight the acknowledged strengths of its permanent collection.

Scholars will have full access to Hillwood’s art and research collections. The Art Research Library has over 38,000 volumes including monographs, serials, annotated and early auction catalogs, and electronic resources; the Archives contain the papers of Marjorie Merriweather Post, her staff, and family members.

For inquiries or to submit an application please contact one of the following:

Wilfried Zeisler
Associate Curator of 19th Century Art

Kristen Regina
Head of Archives & Special Collections

New Finding Aids and Inventories from Dumbarton Oaks ICFA

The Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives (ICFA)  at Dumbarton Oaks is pleased to announce the publication of several new finding aids. Check under the “Finding Aids” field in the following collection-level records in our online inventory, AtoM@DO:

Additionally, ICFA has created preliminary inventories for:

These collections document various fieldwork and research projects, primarily relating to Byzantine and Pre-Columbian art and architecture, but also related to prehistoric sites in eastern Turkey and gardens in the United Kingdom. They range from the detailed architectural survey of Hagia Sophia conducted by Robert Van Nice and his fieldwork assistants between 1937 and 1980s; the documentation of architectural capitals in the city of Istanbul by William Betsch for his dissertation; the photographic and fineline drawing documentation of Moche art created and assembled by Christopher Donnan and Donna McClelland; and correspondence detailing the financial support provided by Mildred and Robert Bliss to scholarly publications and archaeological expeditions undertaken by Kirsopp and Silva Lake. Additionally, other collections illustrate Dumbarton Oaks’ early fellowship and institutional projects starting in the early 1940s, including systematic efforts to document Early Christian and Byzantine monuments, manuscripts, and silver objects. There are also photo albums detailing Donald Egbert and Andrew Keck’s 1937 travels in Europe and the Middle East, as well as Franklin Biebel’s efforts to document mosaic pavements in Byzantium and the West.

The Moche Sacrifice Ceremony depicted on a bottle in the Museo Larco, Lima. Photography by Christopher B. Donnan. Rollout drawing by Donna McClelland (448)

The Moche Sacrifice Ceremony depicted on a bottle in the Museo Larco, Lima. Photography by Christopher B. Donnan. Rollout drawing by Donna McClelland (448).

Since our last announcement of published finding aids in April 2013, ICFA staff has continued to work on processing our collections and providing detailed information in our finding aids, in order to make our holdings more accessible to our users. As collections are processed, we develop finding aids to describe them more thoroughly and at more granular levels in the archival hierarchy. In the interim, collection-level descriptions in AtoM@DO and preliminary inventories serve to provide researchers with summary information about unprocessed collections.

ICFA’s finding aids and inventories are available as PDFs linked from the collection-level records in AtoM@DO. To learn more about the collections they describe as well as the wonderful work of ICFA’s dedicated interns and part-time staff, please check out our blog: In the coming months, ICFA will move forward with converting our long-form finding aids to hierarchical multi-level descriptive records in AtoM@DO. We will also continue to finalize other processing projects and finding aids for additional collections… So, stay tuned!

~Shalimar Abigail Fojas White, Manager, Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives, Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection

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