A Challenging Treasure: The D. James Dee Archive of Contemporary Art

Lightning Talk
Ian McDermott, Artstor, USA

This lightning talk will present Artstor’s acquisition of the D. James Dee Archive, and our plans to digitize and collaboratively catalog the collection with museums, galleries, and artists using Shared Shelf (Artstor’s media management software) and crowdsourcing technology. Acquired in 2013, the D. James Dee Archive comprises over 200,000 slides, transparencies, and digital photographs of contemporary art exhibited in New York City galleries from the late 1970s until 2013. Adding the Dee Archive to the Artstor Digital Library’s growing aggregation of nearly 2 million images from museums like MoMA, SFMOMA, Museum of Fine Arts Houston, and Cleveland Museum of Art will greatly benefit museums professionals and scholars working on contemporary art. Artstor is working with the Dutch company Picturae to digitize the archive–one critical step towards providing access. But to catalog the hundreds of thousands of images is too much work for even the most prolific catalogers. Rather, it will “take a village” to catalog and make the Dee Archive searchable. The knowledge of curators, art historians, artists, librarians, and students is essential to the success of this project. Part case study in progress, part exploration, this presentation is an opportunity to begin a dialogue about this incredible collection and its potential to introduce new collaborative methods of art historical research.

Julia Noordegraaf , Angela Bartholomew, Alexandra Eveleigh, Modeling “Crowdsourcing for Cultural Heritage,” Museums and the Web 2014, Baltimore, MD, http://mw2014.museumsandtheweb.com/paper/modeling-crowdsourcing-for-cultural-heritage/.

British Broadcasting Corporation, Public Catalogue Foundation, Your Paintings Tagger, http://tagger.thepcf.org.uk/.

Gonzague Gauthier, Jennifer Poleon, “Crowdsourcing, Participation, and Museums,” Museum Computer Network 2014 Annual Conference, Dallas, TX.

Laura Carletti, Derek McAuley, Dominic Price, Gabriella Giannachi, Steve Benford, “Digital Humanities and Crowdsourcing: An Exploration,” Museums and the Web 2013, Portland, OR, http://mw2013.museumsandtheweb.com/paper/digital-humanities-and-crowdsourcing-an-exploration-4/