ARLIS/NA Mid-Atlantic

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

Category: Member Posts (page 2 of 4)

New Search Tool for Archival Collections at Dumbarton Oaks

Dumbarton Oaks’ Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives (ICFA) announces the public launch of its online inventory, AtoM@DO ( A searchable database of Dumbarton Oaks’ archival collections, AtoM@DO brings together the holdings of ICFA and a selection of the Dumbarton Oaks Archives (DOA) into a single virtual space, enabling discovery of related materials across the institution.


Instead of searching collections one-by-one by means of individual PDF finding aids or collection guides, AtoM@DO enables users to search across all holdings — either by keyword or through browsing the various menu options: Names, Places, Subjects. Search results are presented within the context of their collection, making it easier for users to learn more about the materials they have found and discover other relevant resources.


AtoM@DO is a local implementation of the open-source archival collection management system, ICA-AtoM, which is based on standards developed and promulgated by the International Council on Archives (ICA) with initial funding from UNESCO. You can find more information about the system and the standards ICFA employed, under the Quick links menu in the upper right-hand corner of AtoM@DO.


Find a link to the system along with a list of common FAQs on the AtoM@DO Help page on the ICFA website. This same page is accessible from anywhere within the system by clicking the Help link under the Quick links menu in the upper right-hand corner of AtoM@DO. Users can also contact the system administrator directly, ICFA Metadata and Cataloging Specialist , Anne-Marie Viola (


Over the course of the year, ICFA plans to enhance description of its collections within AtoM@DO, including expanding on collection-level records and adding digital objects for portions of ICFA’s photograph collections, which comprise more than half a million images. In doing so, ICFA will virtually reunite the fieldwork photography used to seed the reference collection with the archival collections from which they originated. The database is a work-in-progress and new functionality and content will be added based on a prioritized list developed by the department.

Note: Traditional  long-form finding aids for archival collections continue to be maintained on their respective pages: ICFA’s Byzantine Archival Collections and DOA’s Historical Papers.

Many thanks,

New Online Exhibit from Dumbarton Oaks ICFA: “A Truthful Record: The Byzantine Institute Films”

DO-ICFA_filmstill_iskender The Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives (ICFA) at Dumbarton Oaks presents a new online exhibit entitled A Truthful Record: The Byzantine Institute Films: This exhibit aims to reveal the context of the films created by the Byzantine Institute between the 1930s and 1940s by combining them with archival records from the collection The Byzantine Institute and Dumbarton Oaks Fieldwork Records and Papers.

A Truthful Record features thirteen motion picture films from the Byzantine Institute, which are stored and preserved at ICFA: one of the Red Sea Monasteries in Egypt, eleven of the Hagia Sophia, and one of the Kariye Camii, both in Istanbul, Turkey. The color films created by the Byzantine Institute’s photographer Pierre Iskender provide significant testimony of the mosaics at Hagia Sophia and Kariye Camii and the techniques employed to uncover and conserve them. When combined with notebook entries written by Byzantine Institute fieldworkers such as Ernest Hawkins and the brothers Richard and William Gregory, the history of the films’ creation truly comes alive. Thomas Whittemore, who founded the Byzantine Institute in 1930, made wide use of the moving images, screening them for donors and patrons (such as Robert Woods and Mildred Bliss), the Byzantine scholarly community, and an interested general audience in the United States and Europe. The exhibit is divided into three sections that investigate how the films were made and how they were received by contemporary audiences: Style and Content, Technique, and Purpose and Reception. You can also explore the archival materials chronologically using a detailed Timeline.DO-ICFA_filmstill_whittemore

This online exhibit was created by Fani Gargova, ICFA Byzantine Research Associate. The ICFA team would like to give special thanks to the Dumbarton Oaks Publications Department for their generous assistance and support throughout this project. For more information about ICFA’s Moving Image Collection, please see our website or Vimeo album.

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

October 25, 2013: Wikipedia Loves Libraries at the Smithsonian!


A Wikipedia Loves Libraries Editathon at the Smithsonian AA/PG Library, focusing on American Artists at the World’s Columbian Exposition.

This event will include new editor training, an afternoon Editathon, and an evening happy hour. No experience necessary–technical or subject!


1:00pm-5:00pm on Friday, October 25, 2013, with a group happy hour at Capital City Brewery after.


AA/PG Library

The Victor Building
750 9th Street NW, Suite 2100
Washington, D.C. 20560

The American Art/Portrait Gallery branch of the Smithsonian Libraries is on the 2nd floor. Photo ID and pre-registration for the event are required.


Wikimedia DC & the Smithsonian Institution. Contact me or Diane Shaw at with questions.


The Editathon will focus on the American artists of the World’s Columbian Exposition.

With approximately 1200 American artists participating in the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago, it was the largest exhibition of American art ever assembled at the time. Many artists are well-known today—Thomas Eakins, Winslow Homer, Mary Cassatt, John Singer Sargent—but many do not have such recognizable names, much less quality Wikipedia articles. Please join us to mine library books, journals, curatorial files, Art & Artist Files, and all the online resources the Smithsonian Libraries can provide, to expand and improve information on great American artists at the Fair!

Smithsonian Libraries Meetup & Editathon 2013 is part of Wikipedia Loves Libraries (WLL) 2013, the third annual continent-wide campaign to bring Wikipedians, librarians, and archivists together with on-site events. Running this fall throughout October and November, WLL coincides with the celebration of Open Access Week (THIS WEEK!) and American Archives Month.

Hope to see you Friday,

~Anne Evenhaugen, Reference Librarian, Smithsonian American Art Museum/National Portrait Gallery Library

Chapter Mentoring Program Update

The first year of the ARLIS/NA DC-MD-VA chapter mentoring program has gotten off to a great start! The inaugural participants include the following nine mentor/mentee pairings (mentors are listed first):

John Hagood and Julia Murphy

Molli Kuenstner and Kerry Huller

Shalimar White and Dan Moore

Sarah Osborne Bender and Oksana Prokhvacheva

Kim Lesley and Lisa Bonaparte

Jacqueline Protka and Angela Forest

Julia Wisniewski and Tamara Pilko

Leila Prasertwaitaya and Michelle Strizever

Doug Litts and Adam Robinson

Thanks to all the participants for making this first year of the mentoring program a success! Participants are welcome to write about their experiences on the chapter blog (email submissions to Tessa Brawley-Barker) and are invited to the upcoming chapter meeting on Friday, October 11, at the National Museum of Women in the Arts (see for the schedule).

Field of Vision: Landscape in the Artist’s Book

Please join us for Field of Vision: Landscape in the Artist’s Book on Thursday, August 8, 2013, 4:00 to 6:00 pm at the American Art & Portrait Gallery Library, Suite 2100, Victor Building 750 Ninth Street, NW Washington, D.C.

See the link for more information: Field of Vision: Landscape in the Artist’s Book

We promise a little wine, some munchies, and some lovely works of art in book form.

-Anne Evenhaugen, Reference Librarian, Smithsonian American Art Museum/National Portrait Gallery Library

Report from the 2013 Caroline Backlund Travel Award Winner

Dear DC/MD/VA ARLIS members,

I’d like to start off by thanking the Caroline Backlund Travel Award committee for selecting me for this scholarship.  I would not have been able to attend the annual ARLIS conference in Pasadena without this monetary help.

I thoroughly enjoyed my first ARLIS conference.  I signed up to have a mentor walk me through the conference, and under the guidance of Suz Massen, Head of Reference at the Frick Library, I met many new colleagues, became familiar with the layout of the conference, and received a warm reception into the broader ARLIS community.  I found the activities geared towards new professionals and members particularly fun and helpful.  From the new member orientation to the mentoring program to the ARLISnap activities, I discovered an exceptional level of support and encouragement.

Besides the networking opportunities that ARLIS afforded, I found many of the sessions informative.  I was able to attend a wide variety of sessions that were relevant to my interests and work.  In particular, I enjoyed the session entitled “The Visual Language of Data: Reshaping Humanities Research” about using technology to analyze data and make new comparative conclusions, “Forward Into the Past: Crafting a Digital Future, Curating Our Analog Past” and “The New Archivist,” which gave new archival professionals an opportunity to speak about their work.

As a new professional, I look forward to many more years of active involvement with the ARLIS community, including continuing to work on the program committee for the upcoming conference and implementing a local chapter mentoring program in Fall 2013.  Thank you again for the scholarship, and best of luck to everyone with planning the 2014 ARLIS conference in D.C.!

Eden Orelove, Student Library Technician, National Gallery of Art, and 2013 Caroline Backlund Travel Award Winner

Call for Mentors: ARLIS DC-MD-VA Chapter Mentoring Program

This is a call for volunteers to be mentors in the newly established local chapter mentoring program.  Mentors are not limited to professionals with many years of experience, but rather to anyone who wants to contribute to the education and guidance of library students and budding professionals.  I urge you, when considering whether to participate in this program, to think of all of the mentors you have had during your lifetime, and how these relationships increased your skill set, capabilities, and confidence.  It takes a surprisingly small amount of time to make a large impact in a person’s life.  You and your mentee will design the program, including the amount of time and effort that you both want to commit to the relationship and how to best communicate.  The point is to match mentors and mentees with similar interests and let you learn from each other.  Remember that mentors often get just as much out of a mentoring relationship as their mentees!

If you are interested in being a mentor, please send the following information to Eden Orelove at

  1. Your title and agency where you work (if applicable)
  2. Contact information
  3. Major settings/areas/tasks of the art information profession you are interested in/knowledgeable about (i.e. museums, academic, reference, collection development, archives, etc.)
  4. Any other information you deem important (i.e. if there are specific qualities you are looking for in a mentee, if you can only meet via Skype, etc.)

I thank you in advance for your involvement.  I would prefer it if willing mentors would respond by August 15, 2013.  I will send out a call for mentees in the fall, around the beginning of the school year.  The success of this program is really up to the mentors.  Please don’t put off your involvement until next year…the time to act is now!

-Eden Orelove, ARLIS DC-MD-VA Chapter Mentoring Program Coordinator

Mary D. Doering to lecture and show Women’s Clothing from the Civil War Era at the Library of Congress

1855 ikat dressWomen’s Clothing during the Civil War Era:  Dresses, Foundations, and Accessories from the Collection of Mary D. Doering will showcase original clothing from the nineteenth century. Planned to compliment “The Civil War in America” exhibit currently on display at the Library of Congress, this lecture and presentation will take place on Thursday, April 18, 2013 in Dining Room A, sixth floor of the James Madison Building, at noon.

The April 18 presentation “Women’s Clothing of the Civil War Era” will combine a traditional lecture and a discussion of original garments from the period 1855 to 1870 with an emphasis on the Northern States. The evolution of the garments’ styles, the accompanying foundations, as well as the related technology and marketing media will be discussed. Despite the trauma imposed by the Civil War, the mid 19th century witnessed the development of ready-to-wear garments and the growth of urban department stores, both of which were essential contributions to the modern American fashion industry.

Mary D. Doering has specialized in costume history for forty years as a collector, lecturer and guest curator.  Since 2001 she has taught costume and textile history at the Smithsonian Masters Program in the History of the Decorative Arts (an academic partnership with George Mason University).  In addition, she has lectured at numerous professional conferences and museums.  She earned her M.A. in Art History/Museum Studies at George Washington University in 1980.  She pursued additional study in the History of Dress at the Courtauld Institute (University of London) in 1982. Selections from the collection have been loaned to the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, the D.A.R. Museum, the Fashion Institute of Technology and the Smithsonian Institution, to name a few. Exhibitions at historic sites and regional museums have been a particular specialty, and Ms. Doering has worked as guest curator and lender for a variety of locations including Dumbarton House, James Madison’s Montpelier, the John Marshall House, and the Maryland Historical Society.

While still in High School Ms. Doering was given a small collection of family heirloom clothing dating from the 19th century. In the intervening years her collection has grown to comprise over a thousand items, which span the period from 1600 to 1975.  In March 2008, Arts and Antiques Magazine included the collection among its “Top 250 Collectors”.

Kathy Woodrell, Reference Specialist, Fine & Decorative Arts, Library of Congress

In the Library: Announcements from the Vertical Files









Greetings ARLIS DMVers! The show I organized in the Library here at NGA will be closing at the end of next week, Friday, April 26. Please come and take a look–and maybe we can grab coffee or lunch, as well?

Please note that the exhibition is open only during regular business hours, Monday to Friday, 10:00 am- 4:30 pm.

In the Library: Announcements from the Vertical Files

Often printed on simple postcards, museum and gallery announcements advertise upcoming exhibitions—conveying the who, what, when, and where. The objects in this show, however, do more than merely inform; they reflect the materiality of the art they promote. Through imaginative use of layout, color, form, and material they distill the spirit of the works of art into a handheld package. Crafted of paper, vinyl, plastic, and sand, they expand, light up, reflect, and decode.

This exhibition is culled from the vertical files of the National Gallery of Art Library, which houses an extensive collection of announcements, pamphlets and small exhibition catalogues.  Also on display here are installation views borrowed from the Library’s department of image collections. Together, this group of objects provides insight into the overall experience of  gallery-going and the material culture of the art world.

— Anne Simmons, Reference Librarian for Vertical Files and Microforms, National Gallery of Art Library

New Finding Aids from the ICFA at Dumbarton Oaks

ICFA at Dumbarton Oaks

The Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives (ICFA) at the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection is pleased to announce the publication of four new finding aids on the department’s archival collections webpage.

ICFA staff completed the archival processing and finding aids for the following collections:

Additionally, ICFA has revised existing finding aids for collections produced by Byzantine scholars and/or Dumbarton Oaks staff, including:

In future months, ICFA plans to complete the processing of the Robert Van Nice Fieldwork Records and Papers and the Margaret Alexander Fieldwork Papers. While these projects are still in progress, ICFA staff and interns have created online resources to document these collections, including:

More importantly, ICFA is currently moving its long-form finding aids to an open-source web-based collection management system (International Council on Archives Access to Memory or ICA-AtoM) for increased accessibility.  While the change has opened the door for lively debates about archival description and “More Product, Less Process,” this challenge has definitely been an educational and exciting journey for the staff in ICFA.

For more information about ICFA’s ongoing activities and projects, please visit the departmental blog and “friend us” on the Dumbarton Oaks Library and Archives Facebook page.

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