Newsletter of the Section of Art Libraries (Web edition)
no. 43 (1998, no 2)
IFLA Section of Art Libraries Annual Report September 1997-August 1998
The Section endeavours to represent libraries and organizations concerned with all formats of textual and visual documentation for the visual arts, including fine arts, applied arts, design and architecture. The Section strives to improve access to information about these subjects for users of independent research libraries, museum libraries, art libraries attached to educational institutions, and art departments within national, college, university and public libraries, government departments and agencies and libraries in cultural centres.
Membership reached 93 during the year (August 1, 1998).
Chair - Jeannette Dixon, Librarian & Electronic Communications Director, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, PO Box 6826, Houston, Texas 77265, USA. Tel: +1 713 639-7326; Fax: +1 713 639 7399; Email: email@example.com
Secretary & Information Coordinator- Geert-Jan Koot, Head, Rijksmuseum Library, PO Box 74888, 1070 DN Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Tel: +31 20 673 2121; Fax: +31 20 679 8146; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Treasurer - Catherine Heesterbeek-Bert, Librarian, Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, 9, rue du Musee, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium. Tel: +32 2 508 3211; Fax: +32 2 508 3232; Email: email@example.com
The Standing Committee of the Section of Art Libraries met twice during the Amsterdam conference, on Saturday, 15 August, 1998 thirty people attended; on Monday 17 August, fifty-four people attended.
Financial Report - Catherine Heesterbeek-Bert, Treasurer gave a report of the committee's finances. Monies were spent primarily on the production and printing of the Newsletter. The financial report was accepted as circulated. It was noted that the Section still has funds available.
Newsletter report - The editor, Geert-Jan Koot, was congratulated on the best-yet issue of the Newsletter. The national reports were considered to be an excellent addition to the spring issue. The Newsletter Report was accepted as circulated. The editor highlighted the following points:
Geert-Jan Koot reported on the Newsletter content:
- new editor, Geert-Jan Koot
- new design by René Staelenberg incorporating a much-needed 25% additional space
- comparison of Section mailing list and the Art Libraries Journal mailing list resulting in the deletion of 80 duplications leaving a Section list of 315 addresses
- plan to transfer all printing to Titus Wilson [printers of the Art Libraries Journal]. Titus Wilson printing is of excellent quality and will decrease the printing bill
- 1100 copies of each issue were produced with all recent issues being now out-of-print
Discussion of Future IFLA Conferences
- no.43 to be published Fall 1998 will contain conference reports
- no.44 to be published in Spring 1999 will be a theme issue, including up-dates on country reports [closing date for copy 30 March, 1999]
Themes - the Chair, Jeannette Dixon, displayed the new Section of Art Libraries pamphlet which includes a loose sheet listing possible topics for future conferences. The topics were drawn up by the Art Documentation Advisory Committee in Lisbon. Congratulations were offered to its designer, Ana Paula Gordo, and appreciation extended to the Gulbenkian Foundation for underwriting the cost of its production.
Margaret Shaw reported on her recent visit to Bangkok to investigate venues and to meet with colleagues who could advise the Art Section on issues of transportation, available technology, artistic treasures, and tours. Her summary of recommendations follows:
- Workshop at Silpakorn University; lunch at SU or at National Museum, exhibition opening.
- Standing Committee 1 at BITAC or National Museum
- Standing Committee 2 at National Museum [for practical reasons this meeting will be held at the Conference Center]
- Tours: National Museum with Museum volunteers [Eng., Fr., Ger., Jap., Thai]
- Visits to Asia Books and Kuni.
Also in the vicinity: Grand Palace, National Art Gallery, lots of temples, SU galleries. Recommendation for hotels:
- Royal Orchid Sheraton $US100/108 incl.tax, service charge and breakfast
- Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza $US75/75 incl.tax, service charge and breakfast
Both are close to the ferry for quick access to the SU and the National Museum, an important consideration in the light of the prevalent severe street traffic congestion.
Call for Papers for Bangkok
The draft of the call for papers was distributed. The open session topics concern electronic art information, and the workshop session has to do with collaborating with archivists, curators, and educators. The call for papers will be translated for wider dissemination by the following:
Spanish: Angela Giral
Russian: Olga Sinitsyna
French: Marie-Claude Thompson
Japanese: Setsuko Nakamura
Margaret Shaw offered to enlist help in getting a Thai translation done.
It was reported that, regretfully, the dates for the JADS 10th meeting will not be convenient for it to be a post-conference event for IFLA delegates. Therefore, the previously considered Japanese Post-Conference Meeting will not take place.
Judy Gunning, Queensland Art Gallery, invited the IFLA delegates to Bangkok to consider attending the ARLIS/ANZ meeting on 6 September, 1999 as a post-conference event. This meeting will coincide with the Third Asia-Pacific Triennial in Brisbane, Queensland. Judy volunteered to write a notice for the Newsletter including details and travel logistics.
For the Jerusalem conference in 2000, the following points were made:
- Jerusalem would be an excellent place to see use of multiple scripts in action [Roman, Hebrew and Arabic]
- care should be taken to balance Jewish and Islamic content
- attention was drawn to the ALEPH database
For the Boston conference in 2001, it was reported that the ARLIS/NA Organizing Committee has offered to sponsor a 2-day workshop including sessions and art library tours.
Workshop Planning - Attention was drawn to the fact that the structure of workshops has become less inter-active and more an extension of formal meetings and papers. This was a concern that the Art Documentation Advisory Group discussed in Lisbon. Interestingly, it was also mentioned as a concern of the IFLA board at the Division Meeting in Amsterdam. It was proposed that greater interaction could be sought by having shorter presentations and more discussion.
The following points were raised:
- the sessions would need to be well structured to ensure the full participation of those for whom English is not their first language
- short presentations/abstracts should be available to be read beforehand
- division into smaller groups and physical layout could facilitate discussion
- each presentation should have a respondent for each topic
- shorter papers would encourage more participants
- workshop papers should be ‘idea papers’ not reports of experience
- call for papers should welcome to non-librarians from related professions, or librarians from other sectors
- avoid restricting the size of the workshops in order to include participation from other Sections.
Debate on the Future of the Section of Art Libraries
What kind of umbrella do we need? The IFLA Section of Art Libraries versus ARLIS/World.
At last year’s conference in Copenhagen the question arose whether the Section of Art Libraries should split away from IFLA. The Section is one of the strongest and most productive within IFLA, it makes a major contribution to INSPEL, the journal of the Special Libraries Division and the Section, is considered a model group, so does it need to stay with IFLA? Two colleagues looked at the advantages and disadvantages.
Beth Houghton, Tate Gallery, London, On the Advantages of Separating from IFLA:
Beth stated that now might be an appropriate time to examine why the Art Section would or would not stay under the umbrella of IFLA. The Section’s aims are to foster contact with other art libraries wherever they are and to undertake projects in order to further the professional work of art librarians, which it is appropriate to tackle at international level. We need to look at: how IFLA helps us to do these things; how IFLA does not help us; what alternatives there might be.
- Membership. How does IFLA help us to attract new members and encourage new groups to form? The Section membership is slowly increasing and where we meet often stimulates interest in joining and/or a new group may be formed. How much of this would have happened without IFLA? Would an active art librarian organization be equally or even more attractive? And might it not be more visible outside of IFLA? We have around 100 members but for example, the Association of Music Libraries, outside of IFLA, has 2,000 members. It has been in place since 1951, its offices are supported by a small honorarium, it holds an annual conference, has many projects ongoing and is very successful.
- Costs. The people who attend IFLA conferences are few compared to the number of art librarians in our countries. We need to make it easier for more people to join and attend our meetings. The name and reputation of IFLA may help to get funding in university libraries, but often makes no difference. The fee to attend the IFLA conference is quite high and accommodation can be expensive, especially to stay near others. It can be done cheaper. For example, when ARLIS/UK & Ireland holds a conference they organise cheap accommodation and subsistence. It is not high class accommodation or haute cuisine, but it is a less costly way of making contacts and reaching people.
- Support. Under the umbrella of IFLA we pay for the support structure for our Section, for copies of papers, etc. IFLA also provides access to publishing facilities but this can be difficult. For example, IFLA has concerns about publishing further editions of our Glossary because it might duplicate one of their general projects. At the moment we get extra support from various places - Vassar College, the Gulbenkian Foundation, the Getty Institute. What would happen if we didn’t get support from IFLA? What are the alternatives?
- Program. We have maximized the Section’s program to fit our business around IFLA but it often means that we coincide with other relevant sessions in the main conference and we attend less and less of them. Our business could be compressed into fewer days. A Pre-conference is one solution and it has attracted more people but it also means another fee with longer accommodation costs. So why not have our own conference? There is also a possibility that IFLA may limit numbers attending each Workshop, which is very worrying.
- Conferences. A major concern should be where conferences are held. IFLA is limited to cities which can accommodate its size. Maybe by choosing our own locations we could go to smaller venues, or target countries where want to set up groups.
Jan van der Wateren, National Art Library, London, On the Disadvantages of Separating from IFLA:
Jan stated that he believes as a librarian it is his duty to belong to IFLA. If there was no need to be within the international organization of IFLA, how is it that so many national art library associations across the world have not tried to collaborate with each other before?
- International relations. Although there is no international body for art librarians why do we want to separate? There has never been any outcry in the international ARLISes that anybody ever wanted to discuss an international body. Why is this? When Philip Pacey was asked what the Section could do to increase international relations he stated that IFLA provides a ready-made infrastructure, that it is thoroughly international, that it would not crystallize into a smaller group.
- Costs. Yes, the Music Librarians have been successful but they have many more members who pay the honorarium. To be part of their international organization as well they have to pay additional fees. Therefore to stand-alone you need additional funding to cover general running costs, publishing membership lists and membership of international groups. Where would this funding come from?
- Why not a stand-alone conference? I am here as a librarian. Most of us do not have collections of drawings, or the like. Art for us is the subject but it is not the whole thing. We acquire and catalog materials, we shelve, we retrieve, we serve users - no different from other librarians. The subject doesn’t matter, what we need are standards. We must play our role in developing these and learn from fellow librarians in all fields. IFLA gives us that chance to learn. We can interact with all the other Sections and look at issues that would not be addressed at an Art Libraries meeting.
- International voice. IFLA gives breadth and weight. ARLISes across the world do not get taken into account. ARLIS has no influence. IFLA does. It has a voice internationally.
- Support. During IFLA conferences the Section gets help with transportation to other venues, simultaneous translations, and other support for our sessions. IFLA has a publication programme. Where would we get this kind of support?
Response to the Debates
Various Committee members made statements of their feelings: Mary Ashe (USA), Maggy Wishaupt (the Netherlands), Anja Lollesgaard (Denmark), Margaret Shaw (Australia), Stephen Bloom (USA), and Kerstin Assarsson-Rizzi (Sweden). They all were in favour of remaining with IFLA. The Chair stated that it seemed to be the overwhelming consensus that the Section should keep within the umbrella of IFLA. The Chair thanked the two debaters for their contribution.
The Chairman thanked everyone who contributed national reports in the Spring Newsletter. Any further information or details of regional meetings should be passed to the Chair or Secretary in good time to be advertised in the Newsletter. There were some further reports and updates.
Nicole Picot, Bibliothèque et Archives des Musées Nationaux, Paris:
In France the general group of 3,800 librarians has a sub-section of art librarians with 130 members, which celebrated its 30th anniversary last year. The small sub-group has only 5 people on the organizing committee but has a very good reputation with professional members. International colleagues are very welcome to come and visit the French libraries.
- It has several working groups including one working with the French national library to enrich subject headings.
- Working study days are regularly organized and the next one will be held on 27-29 November in Tours looking at co-operation between different professional branches of contemporary art.
- In September librarians in Nice will be meeting and in June, Strasbourg librarians are gathering to study images.
- A co-operative project has recently been accepted with ARLIS/NA.
- The September issue of the Art Libraries Journal will focus on French art libraries.
Ada Kolganova, Russian State Art Library, Moscow:
- There are many libraries in Russia with difficulties in joining the library community. The Russian librarians try to keep in contact with IFLA and to cooperate in the main projects of the different sections.
- At the annual meeting of librarians it is traditional to have a new exhibition. This year the theme was The Librarian as an Artist, showing many different works prepared and created by librarians, which was a great success.
- The regular conference held in Crimea is very important and many people attend from across the world. The Arts Section holds its own session and this year’s theme was Information Support for Art and Sciences. International colleagues were invited to join the next Crimean conference where the main theme of the Arts Section is Libraries in Museums and Museums in Libraries.
Olga Sinitsyna, Rudomino Library of Foreign Literature, Moscow:
There were 2 further conferences in Russia.
- A joint meeting with German art librarians which looked at the needs of the users and the role of the librarian as intermediary.
- An international conference of eastern European art librarians held in September that looked at educational programmes.
- A special issue of the section’s journal was published dedicated to art libraries that included papers from the IFLA Beijing conference.
- A Website for the section is currently being developed.
Javier Docampo, Biblioteca Nacional Servicio de Dibujos y Grabados, Madrid:
- The Spanish art section work hard at keeping good relationships with each other. Most art libraries are based in universities and not much financial support is available for the section.
- The meeting of art librarians held in April at the Museo del Art in Barcelona was a great success with 60 participants. The main theme was Libraries and their Relationships with their Institutions. the papers will be published next year by the MNDA of Catalonia. Many working groups reported on their successful projects and the meeting focussed on:
- the fusion of activities through Spanish professional media
- access to data through the Internet
- the working groups and the introduction of Round tables
- A new working group was formed to look at the creation of a homepage on the World Wide Web for Spanish art librarians, which will be ready soon.
- The next meeting will take place in Madrid from 21-23 April 1999 on the theme of Access Systems to Our Information. All international colleagues were invited to attend.
Geert-Jan Koot, Rijksmuseum Library, Amsterdam:
- The Dutch art librarians are working on 8 significant projects Reports have been published in Art Libraries Journal, vol. 23 (1998) no. 2.
- A major project is the collaboration between the Rijksmuseum, the Stedelijk Museum, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen in Rotterdam and the Rijksbureau voor Kunsthistorische Documentatie in The Hague to release the catalogues of all 5 art libraries on CD-ROM. The CD is being developed by Bureau IMC and a prototype is currently available.
Anja Lollesgaard, Danish Museum of Decorative Art, Copenhagen:
ARLIS/Norden covers the 5 Scandinavian countries of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden which have a common cultural identity. The society, established in 1986, is still growing and currently there are 113 members, with a organising committee represented by a member from each country. There is a small budget that covers travel expenses.
- The annual meeting is a key event and common projects are discussed including
- an information sheet
- a home page on the World Wide Web
- projects in Copenhagen for IFLA last year
- a new artists’ books project
- survey of artists born after 1950 in conjunction with the main IFLA Arts Section project
- a Newsletter published 3 times a year, edited successively by the 5 different member countries
- first annual conference was attended by Philip Pacey and he was the first IFLA representative to visit. This year Jan van der Wateren addressed the conference and talked about artists’ books which stimulated the new artists’ books project.
Margaret Shaw, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra:
NZ has about 125 members covering about 4,500 km., but this wide distance is conquered by discussions on the ARLIS/ANZ-listserv. They have a successful Web page and a regularly produced journal.
- This year’s annual conference will be held in Adelaide
- After the Bangkok conference next year ARLIS/ANZ will meet in Brisbane, hosted by Judy Gunning of the Queensland Art Gallery, in conjunction with the IFLA conference and all colleagues are warmly invited to join the section.
Stephen Bloom, The University of Fine Arts, Philadelphia:
In the American Library Association meetings are held for librarians from all of the arts fields. There will be a meeting in June of 1999 in New Orleans and all were invited to attend.
Survey of sources of information
At the Copenhagen meeting, Ana Paula Gordo suggested a project to identify databases holding information on artists born in 1950 or later. A feasibility study was made via a questionnaire asking the Standing Committee members to identify relevant resources in their countries and to get an idea of how to focus the project. The conclusions were:
The Chair thanked Beth Houghton and Ana Paula Gordo for their work so far. It was agreed the project should go ahead and the Chair and Secretary would discuss funding with IFLA. A sub-committee was set up to look over the results so far and progress further.
- Most countries have a small number of key resources therefore the project could be manageable, phased into different sections
- The majority of resource types were libraries. Most respondents said the wide range of professional organisations in each country would hold information about living artists
- Need a methodology for updating
- Need to rewrite questionnaire; problems with interpreting the questions; good to produce it in more than one language
- Different questions may be needed for different types of resources
- Look at how and where the data will be held and the cost
- A check on quality of data should be built into the process
The Subcommittee members are: Ana Paula Gordo, Beth Houghton, Laurence Camous, Angela Giral, Chris Smeenk, Anja Lollesgaard, and Olga Sinitsyna.
Multilingual Glossary for Art Librarians
The Japanese, Portuguese and Russian translations of the Glossary were completed. The Chair and Secretary will find out if K.G. Saur, publisher of the first edition, is willing to publish a second edition of the Glossary with the new languages. There seems to be some reluctance due to the low sales. There was some question whether this reluctance was also due to the fact that a universal glossary of librarianship terms was being produced by IFLA. The Chairman and Secretary will discuss this with the Co-ordinating Board.
Discussions are taking place between the Secretary and the editor of the Website, Gary Cleveland, about including the Multilingual Glossary on the Webpage. Herloff Hatlebrekke reported on the success of including articles about the Glossary and the International Directory in local journals.
At the Copenhagen conference, Scandinavian librarians completed forms applying for reduced rate copies of the Glossary but unfortunately not enough were received to achieve the discounted rate. The Chair will pass the order forms on to K.G. Saur. If any other members wish to translate the Glossary into their languages please contact the Chair or Secretary.
International Directory of Art Libraries
Thomas Hill reported on the successful publishing in hardback of the Directory last year. The on-line version is also doing well and information is continuously requested. Amendments and additions are made on a monthly basis. More than 100 new institutions have been added since the printed version came out and there are now 2,885 libraries in the Directory. The Finnish branch of ARLIS/Norden has compiled a list of Latvian and Estonian art libraries. Information is still needed on Korea, Central Asia and South East Asia. Contact made at Bangkok next year should help in these areas. Anyone with any further ideas or contacts in Asia should notify Thomas Hill.
Committee members were charged with putting reminders in local journals for libraries to inform the Editor of the Directory of changes of address for those individuals and institutions in their countries.
During the year under review the Section published the following:
Conference Programmes, Amsterdam, 16 - 21 August 1998
The Open Session was held on Tuesday 18 August on the theme Bridging Cultures, attended by over 50 people. There was no simultaneous interpretation. The following papers were presented.
- The Dutch library in Paris
- Anneke Kerkhof, Institut Néerlandais / Fondation Custodia, Paris, France. Available electronically at
- Le collectionneur d'art Frits Lugt a créé en 1947 la Fondation Custodia et en 1957 (avec l'aide du gouvernement néerlandais) l'Institut Néerlandais. La Fondation Custodia gère la collection d'art tandisque l'Institut Néerlandais organise des concerts, des conférences, des expositions, des cours de langues, le tout centré sur la culture néerlandaise. Les deux institutions, bien que très distinctes, sont étroitement liées, surtout les bibliothèques qui ne diffèrent que par leur ex libris. En effet, Frits Lugt possédait en plus de sa collection de dessins, peintures et gravures une bibliothèque impressionnante d'histoire de l'art qui a été considérablement enrichie ces dernières années. L'objectif de la collection est d'offrir une image aussi complète que possible des beaux arts et arts décoratifs des Pays-Bas et des Flandres. La collection d'ouvrages anciens offre une vue d'ensemble des livres produits aux 16e, 17e & 18e siècles. Une comparaison avec un nombre d'autres bibliothèques de centres culturels parisiens nous montre le caractère unique de l'Institut Néerlandais. Ces instituts coordonnent l'octroi de bourses d'étudiants, offrent des cours de langues et de traduction, et organisent des expositions itinérantes sur le pays en question. De plus, ces instituts jouent souvent le rôle d'agents entre les galéries et les artistes. Les exceptions à ce schéma sont le centre culturel suédois fondé par le mécène Gunnar W. Lundberg et la société historique et littéraire de Pologne, intéressante par sa collection et par son histoire politique. Afin d'améliorer la gestion, la bibliothèque de l'Institut Néerlandais et de la Fondation Custodia est en cours d'informatisation. Enfin, une collaboration étroite avec la grande bibliothèque des arts (INHA) à Paris est prévue pour la fin de l'année, ce qui permettra une améliorisation sensible du service pour les utilisateurs.
- Dutch influence on the reception and development of western-style expression in early modern Japan
- Takeshi Mizutani, The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, Japan; and Setsuko Nakamura, Bridgestone Museum of Art, Ishibashi Foundation, Tokyo, Japan. Available electronically at
- Japan and the Netherlands have maintained a special relationship for about 300 years since the adoption of the National Seclusion policy by the Tokugawa shogunate (1603-1867). Under the terms of the policy, Japan closed the door to foreigners except the Netherlands, China, and Korea until the Meiji Restoration in 1868. In particular, Dutch people provided the only window from which Japanese could see outside and meet modern European culture, and such circumstances created a very interesting and important academic area of historical study of Dutch-Japanese relations. Through the medium of the Dutch language, Japanese people studied Western sciences including medical and natural sciences, and general academic studies. In art history, Dutch art and culture introduced Western styles, and helped to establish realistic expression in Japan. Recently in Japan, more and more art historians are studying the Dutch influence on Japanese paintings. The authors will present an overview on activities in this field by Japanese researchers, including bibliography compilation, collections of materials, and art exhibitions.
- Censorship in the Soviet Union and its cultural and professional results for arts and art libraries
- Olga Sinitsyna, Art s and Children's Literature Department, M.I. Rudomino All Russia State Library for Foreign Literature, Moscow, Russia. Available electronically at
- Although official censorship ceased 10 years ago, the effects of censorship in the Soviet Union in art and art libraries are still felt. The focus of this paper is on censored library materials, and on the censorship of art. The censored books were marked with a hexagon, and relegated to the "spets-hran" or special stacks which for many years were off limits to the public and library staff alike. The author takes a look at materials from the All Russia State Library for Foreign Literature that had been censored, and examines the rules of the censors to determine why certain items were censored. In art, only certain themes were sanctioned. Because art can be abstract and difficult to interpret figuratively, it was determined that the only allowable style of art was that of social realism.
The Workshop was held at the Rijksmuseum on Thursday 20 August addressing the theme Art libraries at crossroads. The Workshop was attended by over 150 people. There was no simultaneous interpretation but the papers in English were available in French translations, and the paper in Spanish was available in English. The following papers were presented:
- Opening and introduction
- Jan Piet Filedt Kok, Director of Collections, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
- Los bibliotecarios y las bibliotecas de arte frente al reto de Internet (The librarian and the libraries of art face the challenge of the Internet)
- Alicia García Medina, Biblioteca de Instituto del Patrimonio Histórico Español, Madrid, Spain. Available electronically at
- The success of the Internet in a short period of time has modified the way we access information, due to the diversity of information available and the number of users using the net which have continually increased. This situation puts libraries and librarians in a crossroad. Traditionally they have been in charge of making the information available for researchers and general public alike, but right now some librarians feel threatened by the ‘Net’. Therefore, some of them are faced with doubts about their own survival in the near future. Through this paper we are trying to sustain the theory that in our profession all fears about Internet have no basis, because we have a series of strategies that we can use to strengthen our role in society. On one hand we should go further in our tasks of indexing, dissemination and making available our bibliographic materials. On the other hand, we must open new ways to increase our resources, making use of all the information available through the ‘Net’ in order to merge into our library new working methods.
- Digital image libraries: technological advancement and social impact on the teaching of art and architectural history.
- Angela Giral, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York, USA.
- The paper will describe a series of recent projects in the United States dealing with digital image libraries and their impact on the teaching practices of art and architectural historians. Among the projects discussed will be the creation of an 'Image reserve collection' for a freshman course on Masterpieces of Western Art; the Digital Image Access Project, the Museum Educational Site Licensing Project, AMICO, the Museum Digital Licensing Collective, the SHA Image Bank, the Image Directory (a commercial enterprise). The discussion will includes: issues of licensing and intellectual property; metadata and evolving cataloging practices; image quality, costs of creation and delivery (human, financial, and institutional); the potential of digital imaging in the preservation of fragile 'illustrated texts', the dissemination of archival information; and document delivery (including WebDOC project, a collaboration between an American consortium - RLG - and a Dutch consortium - PICA).
- The role of the art librarian as curator and publicist.
- Deirdre Lawrence, Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York, USA. Available electronically at
- ABSTRACT: not available.
- Museum libraries in the Netherlands: from hidden treasures to treasured information centers.
- Michiel Nijhoff, Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Available electronically at
- In this paper the author describes the situation of the Dutch libraries specialized in the history of art. At various levels an enormous number of art-historical publications are present. Collective efforts to improve availability are mentioned: the PICA/NCC system linked with the universities and the Royal Library, and the production of a CD-ROM of the museum libraries and other libraries not taking part in PICA. The PICA-libraries own between 450,000 - 600,000 books on art, the non-PICA libraries 1,800,000. When these collections are opened up on Internet and through CD-ROM, an increase in the number of students at the museum libraries is expected. These will have to create facilities for the increasing number of clients, which will have consequences for their organization.
- Kaleidoscopic classifications: redefining information in a world cultural context.
- Barbara Mathé, American Museum of Natural History, New York, USA. Available electronically at
- The cultural confluence that humanity has been witnessing over the last century began with the technological leaps in travel and communication in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In Africa, Oceania and the Americas, stories and images of the colonialists and their homeland were sometimes as fanciful as the early western descriptions of exotic lands. The turn of the century populace in Europe and the United States, unsteadied by the overwhelming change in world society, sought a reassuring order in the organized array of the International Expositions. This order was manifest in the social evolutionist classification schemes devised to arrange the exhibits. One of these systems devised for the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exposition had a far reaching but unacknowledged effect on western epistemology. Apparently, Melvil Dewey used the scheme as the basis for his Decimal Classification System. A visual illustration of one of these classification schemes is apparent in a collection if photographs of indigenous people from Africa, Asia, North and South America who were exhibited at the 1904 St. Louis Exposition.
- Presentation of the DutchESS Guide to Quality Information.
- Maggy Wishaupt, Royal Library, The Hague, the Netherlands.
- DutchESS (Dutch Electronic Subject Service, formerly NBW) is an Internet guide for the academic community produced by the Koninklijke Bibliotheek (the national library of the Netherlands) in co-operation with a number of Dutch academic libraries. The resources are selected by subject specialists. They evaluate Internet information according to academic quality standards and make selections relevant to their own specific user groups. DutchESS has (as yet) no geographical restrictions, although it aims to cover Dutch resources as completely as possible. The service includes all disciplines, but the content depends on the contributions of individual subject specialists as well as on the bias of the participating libraries. A large number of art sites can now be found on the Internet, but many of them are superficial, lack substantial information content, and/or are not relevant for academic research. Only a relatively small number meet the quality criteria of DutchESS and have been added to the database so far. Future developments of DutchESS may include participation in a European network of subject-based Information Gateways.
- Presentation of Periodata (1477-1648)
- Gerrit Drost, Independent Researcher.
- Periodata is a relational database (CD-ROM/Access97) on history and art covering the period 1477-1648, developed by Dr. Gerrit Drost. It contains a timeline, a biographical index and biographical data. These data are collected primarily on the basis of scholarly works, supplemented by data of (electronic) catalogues. Using different linking possibilities, it is easy to consult, compare and combine the historical and bibliographical data in a creative and fruitful way.
- Presentation of the Amsterdam Rijksmuseum Interactive Multimedia System (ARIA).
- Pieter de Dreu, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
Relationships with Other Bodies
ICA/CLA International Guide to Literature and Art Archives in Museum Libraries and Archives
Jan van der Wateren reported on the current state of affairs. IFLA was asked, as part of achieving a convergence between archivists, librarians, etc., to coordinate with the International Council of Archives in producing a worldwide directory of archives for the Committee of Literature and Art Archives. Jan van der Wateren was asked to represent IFLA following the work done by the Art Section on the International Directory of Art Libraries. Several meetings have been held. In Prague last year ICA delegates reported on archival groupings of material in their countries and discussed producing the material in electronic and printed forms. Eastern Europe has been covered and most of western Europe. The USA is producing their own directory. The target date for completion is 2000. A letter was drafted in December 1997 to be sent to the president of the ICA, describing the project and what had been covered, but to date the letter had not been sent.
The Chairman of ICA wrote to Jan van der Wateren to tell him he was still serving as official representative for IFLA on the Committee and Jan was willing to continue to give guidance when asked. Anyone wishing to know more about the data for their country could contact the Chairman of the Committee or their local representative.
Art Documentation Advisory Group
The Art Documentation Advisory Group met 29 May - 3 June, 1998, in Lisbon at the Gulbenkian Foundation. This group was a mix of museum professionals of wide experience, such as Dame Elizabeth Esteve Coll, and members of the IFLA Section of Art Libraries from various countries. These meetings were designed as brainstorming sessions to give direction to the IFLA Art Section for the next two years. Future topics for upcoming conferences were discussed and debated. Some topics included: a debate on the future of the IFLA Section of Art Libraries vs. ARLIS/World; the changing role of art librarians in the electronic world; the demand for images on the Web; the cooperation between art librarians, archivists, visual resources specialists and curators; and Web problems with non-Roman scripts. Also, some more general issues within the Section were discussed including: communicating across cultures within the Art Libraries Section; a new format for workshops at the annual conference; titles of sessions; art historical topics vs. library topics; how to improve the newsletter; and the value of contributions from as many countries as possible.
Dra. Ana Paula of the Gulbenkian Library organized these meetings, as well as a conference that preceeded the meetings. The purpose of the conference was to bring together art librarians and art museum directors in Portugal to introduce IFLA to the art library sector, to highlight the importance of art museum libraries, and to promote the idea of international collaboration for both museums and libraries. Leo Voogt, Secretary General of IFLA, addressed the conference on the value of having an international umbrella organization to support the work of smaller groups. Four members of the Section of Art Libraries presented papers: Dra. Ana Paula Gordo spoke about the international cooperation among art libraries; Jeannette Dixon, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, spoke on the topic of art libraries, museums, and the Web; Jan van der Wateren, National Art Library, Victoria and Albert Museum, spoke about the importance of the libraries in art museums. Angela Giral, Avery Architecture Library, Columbia University, spoke on the topic of digital libraries.
Over the four days of meetings, the advisory group developed a rapport which has helped to build some bridges in communicating across cultures, and differences in technological levels between institutions. It was interesting to note that the spread of technology in libraries is not evenly distributed across the most developed countries. In fact, in some instances lesser developed countries have exceeded the norm in developing Internet access in order to compensate for their relative isolation.
Greek Art Librarian's Meeting
Jan van der Wateren reported on a meeting held at the School of Fine Arts in Athens in the spring. It was called to promote the establishment of an art libraries society in Greece. Jan was invited to present a paper. Attendance included around 100 Greeks, Jan van der Wateren, and delegates from Italy and France. There was strong backing from the academic community. The meeting received very good media coverage including Jan van der Wateren on television. Some form of collaboration is to be set up by the end of this year.
Jeannette Dixon and Geert-Jan Koot
Chair and Secretary, IFLA Section of Art Libraries
IFLA's 65th Council and General Conference will take place in Bangkok from 20 - 28 August 1999. The sessions for the Section of Art Libraries are planned under the general conference theme, Libraries as Gateways to an Enlightened World.
Announcement and Call for Papers!
The Art Libraries Section is pleased to announce that it will hold a Workshop and an Open Session during the conference. The Art Libraries will focus on topics dealing with the impact of technology on art libraries today. More specifically, the sessions will deal with the following:
Chair IFLA Section of Art Libraries
Open Session – formal papers
Electronic art information - creating it, disseminating it, archiving it - is it worth the cost?
- The demand for images on the Web - cost, quality, rights and access.
- Archiving exhibition Websites
- Librarians as Webmasters
- Cataloging the Web
- Computerised indexes in art - easy access vs. difficult technical support
Workshop – interactive, short presentation
Blurring the boundaries: Should art librarians work with archivists, curators, educators, or become more specialized?
- Changing role of art librarians in the electronic age
- Teamwork: creating Websites in art organizations
- The art bibliographer - a creature of the past?
- The art librarian as mediator
The format of the workshop will be interactive. The papers will not be read, but the main points will be presented by the speakers. A moderator will comment on the paper, asking provocative questions to stimulate group participation.
You are invited to take part in these meetings by delivering a paper or by recommending speakers to lecture on either of these themes. The Proposal for a paper at either of these Art Libraries Meetings in Bangkok should include the following information:
Telephone no., fax no.
Email address (professional)
Telephone no., fax no.
Brief biographical information
Title of the paper
Original language version:
English / French / German / Russian / Spanish
English / French / German / Russian / Spanish
Audiovisual or other equipment required
* As it is not possible to provide translations of lectures centrally, prospective contributors will be required to provide a translation into at least one other IFLA language if at all possible.
The proposals for papers are due on January 31, 1999. You must include the title plus a 100 - 200 word abstract, to give a brief description of the paper. You will be notified within one month regarding the acceptance of your paper. You will then have until April 1, 1999 to complete the paper and send it in to the Chair of the Section of Art Libraries. The paper for the Open Session should be no more than 8 pages on A4 paper, double spaced. The Workshop presentation papers should be no longer than 4 pages on A4, double spaced.
c/o Hirsch Library, Museum of Fine Arts Houston
P.O. Box 6826
Houston, TX 77265
Tel: +12 713 639-7326
Fax: +12 713 639-7399
The conference organisers recommend that if we wish to stay together we should register as soon as possible because rooms cannot held specially. We selected two hotels which are situated within ten minutes walking from each other.
- Royal Orchid Sheraton: single US$ 100, twin US$110
- Holiday Inn Crown Plaza: single US$75, twin US$80
Detailed information and registration forms for the conference can be obtained from
IFLA'99 Conference Secretariat
SEAMEO Regional Centre for Archaeology and Fine Arts (SPAFA)
SPAFA Headquarters Building
81/1 Si-Ayutthaya Road
Tel: 662 280-4022-9
Fax: 662 280-4030
IFLA Bangkok 1999
Preliminary Programme Summary
- Friday, August 20
- Professional Board
- Coordinating Boards, Divisions
- Saturday, August 21
- All day
- Standing Committees
- Caucuses (late)
- IFLA Officers Reception (invitation only)
- Sunday, August 22
- Introduction to IFLA for Newcomers
- Open Forums, Core Programmes
- UNESCO Open Forum
- Council I
- Exhibition Opening/Reception
- Monday, August 23
- Division Open Forum
- Section and Round Table Programme Sessions
- Opening Session followed by Plenary Session
- Gala Reception
- Dinner and Cultural Performance
- Tuesday, August 24
- All day
- Section and Round Table Programme Sessions
- Guest Lectures, Poster Sessions
- Library Receptions
- Wednesday, August 25
- All day
- Section and Round Table Programme Sessions
- Study Tours / Library Visits (1/2 day)
- Guest Lectures, Poster Sessions
- Professional Board
- Thursday, August 26
- All day
- Workshops / Seminars
- Study Tours / Library Visits (1/2 day)
- Standing Committees (late)
- Friday, August 27
- All day
- Section and Round Table Programme
- Sessions, Standing Committees
- Coordinating Boards, Divisions
- Professional Board
- Executive Board
- Council II followed by Closing Session
- Saturday, August 28
- All day
- Tour day
The final programme for the IFLA Section of Art Libraries will be announced in Newsletter no. 44 (Spring 1999)
Biographies of the Chair and the Secretary of the Art Section
Jeannette Dixon, Chair
Jeannette Dixon is the Librarian and Electronic Communications Director at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. She directs the activities of the Hirsch Library, the museum's archives, and the image library. She is the webmaster for the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, working in collaboration with the curatorial, publications and education departments. She represented the museum in the Museum Educational Site Licensing Project, organized by the Getty from 1995 to 1997, in which museums digitized images of and text records of their collections and distributed them via university local Websites.
Jeannette has been active in IFLA since 1991. She has also been active in the Art Libraries Society of North America (ARLIS/NA), and currently serves on its International Relations Committee.
On the local level, Jeannette has served as chair of ARLIS/Texas, and represented the chapter in the national conference in San Antonio in 1997 as the conference program chair. For four years, 1987 to 1991, Jeannette was the chair of the Art and Architecture Program Committee of the Research
Libraries Group. During this period, several workshops on using RLIN as a reference tool were developed.
Geert-Jan Koot, Secretary
Geert-Jan Koot is the Head of the Rijksmuseum Library in Amsterdam since 1988. After his masters degree in the history of art and archaeology and his masters in information science, he worked as documentalist in the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen in Rotterdam and as the librarian of the Art History Institute of the University of Amsterdam. For three years, 1989 to 1991 he acted as member of the steering committee for the Automation of Museumcollections, a project of the Dutch Ministry of Welfare, Public Health and Culture. He represents the museum in the Consortium Digitalized Heritage Institutions, a project organized by the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, in which the heritage institutions (museums, archives, libraries) digitize images for educational purposes.
Geert-Jan has been active in IFLA since 1995 as a member of the Section of Art Libraries Standing Committee. Currently, he is also the Information co-ordinator and the Editor of the sections’ Newsletter.
On a local level, Geert-Jan has served as a member of the board of the Section of Information Management in Museums of the Dutch Museum Association. For seven years, 1990 to 1996, Geert-Jan was the chair of the Art Libraries Society of the Netherlands. During this period, ARLIS/NL grew from an unofficial group to a fully fledged professional organisation. Currently he is acting as a member of the board of the society. In 1998 he became the conference programme chair for the art libraries during the 63th IFLA General Conference in Amsterdam.
IFLA Section of art Libraries Feasibility Study on Biographical Information on Artists born 1950 or later
Report to the 1998 Section of Art Libraries Standing Committee Meeting in Amsterdam
Aim and Methodology of the Study
The aim of the feasibility study was to assess the potential numbers and types of resource which might exist in order to provide a basis for a proposal to create a ‘locations index’ or guide to such resources worldwide. It was intended to be a two part, limited survey using the contacts provided by membership of the Section of Art Libraries Standing Committee. Part one comprised a questionnaire asking respondents to estimate the number of relevant resources in their countries and give some indication of the types of resource to be found. In addition they were asked to identify up to 10 of the most important resources. In Part two it was then intended to approach directly (with a questionnaire) the identified resources to obtain more detailed information about them. Part two has not yet been carried out.
17 questionnaires were sent out at the beginning of June for return by the end of June. Where there was more than one member from a country on the Standing Committee, an ad hoc decision was made to send the form to one individual, to avoid confusion and duplication. By the end of June only 5 responses had been received and a set of reminders was sent out in July. The original sample was extended to members of ARLIS/NORDEN since an offer was received to circulate the questionnaire at their annual meeting. The total number of countries approached therefore numbered 19. The final number of returns was 16 (including 2 non-Section ARLIS/NORDEN countries and excluding 3 Section non-respondents). (In addition, since word of the study had spread, some information was received from countries not included in the survey: Austria, New Zealand and Thailand).
Conclusions and Recommendations
- There are a relatively small number of ‘key’ resources in most countries. This should make a full survey relatively manageable. In those countries with more than 10 resources, it may be worth considering limiting numbers or providing tighter guidelines for selectivity. We should avoid replicating existing directories!
- The majority of resource types listed are libraries and/or archives (whether autonomous, or in museums, art schools or other cultural institutions. This may be an inevitable bias given the constituency surveyed. However, it is recommended that the full survey asks much more specifically about other types of resource.
- Relatively few electronic resources were cited. Again, this was not emphasised on the questionnaire, and a more direct question may elicit a higher response. Likewise, there may be such resources ‘hidden’ within institutions which will emerge through the follow-up questionnaire. We can expect this type of resource to increase, and this implies some type of follow-up mechanism for up-dating.
- A substantial number of resources were in organisations other than libraries (professional associations, etc.), and many countries reported a substantial array of such organisations, even when these did not feature amongst their ‘top 10’. As this is an important source of information on living artists and designers, it would not be appropriate to exclude these. Architecture is particularly well-served in this respect.
- There was some difficulty in following and understanding the questionnaire. It is recommended that much more explanation is given in the full survey and that the possibility of different-language questionnaires is considered.
Issues for discussion
- Subject scope: where do we wish to set the boundaries?
- Is the cut-off date appropriate? It did not seem to cause particular problems for respondents.
- How widely do we wish to cast the net in geographical terms? Having started with a base of those countries represented on the Standing Committee, what are the next stages? e.g. approaches to those countries with formal (or informal) art library organisations, and then to other countries where an appropriate point of contact can be identified from the International Directory of Art Libraries?
- Would questionnaires in different languages improve the quality and number of responses? How will we achieve this?
- For stage two (approaching the organisations identified in stage one directly to obtain more detailed information) do we need a series of different questionnaires to cover the different types of resource. (I believe we probably do, if we are to receive useful data).
- In what format would we like to see the results disseminated? And how will this dictate the form of the information we collect?
- Where and how will the data be held once the survey is completed?
- What level of resources are required to carry out a full survey? The main costs initially would be for printing/copying, postage and keying data. Beyond that other costs would depend on the chosen method of dissemination.
- Who should carry it out? Do we need a small working group, or might we ‘contract it out’ to one of the national organisations, or to an individual?
- Do we envisage this guide being up-dated and, if so, how will this be resourced?
The project will be continued by Ana Paula Gordo, Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon.
Tate Gallery, London, United Kingdom
Report on the Art Documentation Advisory Group Spring Meeting Lisbon, 1- 3 June, 1998
At the beginning of May 1998 the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation Library hosted a conference on the theme of Art Institutions and Information Resources: co-operation strategies in the Gulbenkian Museum in Lisbon. The main audience was art librarians, Directors of art museums in Portugal and other art professionals. The underlying aims of the Conference were to introduce IFLA to the art sector in Portugal, to establish a bond between art librarians in Portugal and to underscore to Museum Directors the high value of libraries in the health of museums.
To this end they also invited some international participants, including Leo Voogt, IFLA’s Secretary General, and Dame Elizabeth Esteve-Coll, previous Director of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Foreign art librarians all came from within the Section of Art Libraries, including our Chair and Secretary, Jeannette Dixon and Geert-Jan Koot. The other librarians were Angela Giral, Anja Lollesgaard, Olga Sinitsyna, Marie-Claude Thompson and Jan van der Wateren. Dr Ana Paula Gordo represented the Gulbenkian Foundation Library and acted as host.
The message which came across from the papers and discussion during the conference was one which stressed the importance of investing in museum library services and art documentation not only to support the internal activities of museums but also to enhance their public services and to improve the interaction between museums and research and academic communities. The papers given included an overview of IFLA activity by Leo Voogt who highlighted the importance of IFLA’s role in the context of international co-operation. He stressed the effectiveness of the collective - the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. This is especially important in view of the global challenges facing our profession since these are not easily addressed in a national context.
Dr Ana Paula Gordo presented an overview of international co-operation as it exists at present. She focussed on initiatives of IFLA and our Section, activities in the various art library societies worldwide and an overview of the wide range of activities with which the Research Libraries Group (RLG), fast becoming an international force what with many members from countries outside North America, is involved.
Jan van der Wateren presented a paper on The Importance of Museum Libraries, stressing (for the benefit of the large number of Museum Directors present) the importance of active interest by Museum Directors in the success of Museum libraries. Jeannette Dixon spoke on the topic, Art Libraries, Museums and the Web. She illustrated her talk with screen shots from the Internet to demonstrate the widespread use of the Web as an information source for the public, and to show how some museums were making use of the Web as a reference service. But when Angela Giral made a presentation on Digital Libraries the technology capitulated and she gave a delightful ad hoc summary of what she had intended to demonstrate.
A visit to the breathtaking Library as well as to the Museum concluded the formal work of the Conference.
Afterwards the members of the Section and Dame Elizabeth, who was in charge of Britain’s National Art Library earlier in her career, took the opportunity to brainstorm about how the Section could develop its work for the benefit of art librarianship. We constituted ourselves as an ad hoc Advisory Group on Art Documentation. The bullet-points which follow identify some of the issues which we discussed.
Making use of the IFLA Secretary-General’s presence, and knowing that a debate on the issue would take place during the IFLA conference in Amsterdam, Leo Voogt’s views were sought on the issue of the benefit of having an Art Libraries Section under the IFLA umbrella. He outlined the general trend worldwide for different groups to affiliate with each other so as to have a strong voice in international forums. The increasing co-operation between IFLA, ICA (International Council on Archives) and FID (International Federation on Documentation) was a case in point. As for the burden of travelling costs he pointed out that 3 out of 4 IFLA conferences are held in Europe or North America, but that this was not necessarily beneficial to the art library community outside the area. He also alluded to the difficulties law librarians (by definition not a poor sector) have had in maintaining their own international organisation.
The group felt that to be an autonomous body would necessitate the setting up of a dedicated Secretariat, and that even if this consisted of only one person and an office, exorbitant charges for membership to such a body would be required.
Issues relating to digital imaging were felt to be very high on the agenda of art librarianship. Cost, quality, rights. What with some 11 million titles on brittle paper mass digitisation projects were essential and this excluded bibliographic support for individual images, however much that was desirable. In any case digital resources were unlike paper resources and a change in mindset was needed so as not to catalogue digital resources as if they were paper based.
Web-related issues were seen to centre on the archiving and preservation of web-sites. For example, it is becoming a common phenomenon for a web-based catalogue to replace traditional exhibition catalogues, but these were not necessarily preserved on-line, with concomitant problems for future research. A further issue was the potential ‘disappearance’ of librarians in a high technology environment. Although the high value of a real interface between librarian and patron was underscored it was felt that systems will need to be developed to service larger and larger numbers of users.
An important concern for the group was the problems associated with non-Arabic scripts and less generally known languages. For example the Cyrillic script is not read widely by computer systems, and although the Russians would happily contribute to, for example, RLG projects, texts would need to be translated into English first. The problem is that not many Russian users or librarians were able to deal with languages other than their own.
Closer to home the group also addressed the nature and context of the Section’s IFLA-based meetings. It was strongly felt that Workshops need to be developed as places of debate and not only as a vehicle for the presentation of papers. It was proposed to appoint ‘Respondents’ for Workshop sessions, as is the method of the American Historical Association, and to provide session-papers in advance to the Respondent who would then be in a position to lead a debate.
As for the Newsletter, the value of national reports and conference reports was debated and contrasted with raising current awareness concerning future events. This will require much more input from SC members, to notify the Secretary of upcoming events in their respective countries. One proposal was to require national reports to focus on one issue only. It was agreed that the Newsletter was central to the dissemination of information about the Section’s activities. For example, it was felt that a full list of members should be published every second year so as to coincide with Standing Committee elections. It was further proposed to publish ‘chunks’ of news rather than long reports. In addition to the Newsletter it was agreed to look further into the possibility of making use of the Internet to sustain ongoing discussions via a discussion group or a list-serve. It was also agreed to revamp the publicity brochure and to issue it again in all 5 IFLA languages.
Possible topics for future conferences were discussed and the subject of the 1999 Bangkok conference is revealed elsewhere in this issue of the Newsletter.
All in all it was a very successful meeting made possible by the generosity of the Gulbenkian Foundation. Visits to historic sites, some museums - especially the stunning Tile Museum, and a quick peek at Expo ’98 in driving rain concluded the event.
Jan van der Wateren
National Art Library
Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Report of the ARLIS/Norden Annual Meeting and Conference Iceland Book Art (Bogkunst) Reykjavik, 11 - 13 June 1998
The annual meeting of ARLIS/Norden is arranged on a rotating basis in the five Nordic (Scandinavian) countries, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. The program is organized on a topic of common concern. As Iceland was hosting the conference this year, Book Art was chosen the topic. Iceland is a remote vulcano island in the Atlantic Ocean, still the true keeper of the Scandinavian common cultural heritage, being the country of the sagas and the founder of parlamentarism in the year 930 A.C. For more than 400 years (1100-1500) Iceland was the artful producer of hand written books for the countries of Scandinavia. The passion for literature in Iceland is accompanied by an affection for the book as an object. Since the nineteen sixties, the artists' book has been appreciated as an art and a book form, and it is very much alive today in Iceland.
The program on book art consisted of three parts:
- Book art, in general, on photography, and on artists' books - lectures given by art and photo historians from ARLIS/Norden and external institutions.
- Artists’ books: national reports from the five members of ARLIS/Norden's working group ‘Artists' Books’.
- Artists' books: experiences from the National Art Library, UK. Conference dinner speaker Jan van der Wateren.
The following papers have been summarized in English and published in ARLIS/Norden Info 1998:2/3 and 1998:4:
- The magic of the book: the history of books as aesthetic objects / Magdalena Gram, Royal Library, Sweden.
- Photography in the book, as art, as illustration, as genre / Tove Thage, Danish National Portrait Gallery at Frederiksborg, Denmark.
- Artists' books in four Icelandic collections / Arndis Arnadottir, School of Art and Design, Iceland
- Artists' books in Denmark / Kaarina Liljanto, Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Denmark
- Artists' books in Sweden, a ‘pre-view’ / Eva Sundberg, House of Graphic Arts, Sweden.
- Artists' books in Finland / Emmi Martin, Richardsgatan Library of Helsinki, Finland
The annual meeting decided on the following three main goals for 1998-99:
- Artists' books
- ARLIS/Norden homepage update
- Information on artists born 1950 and after - according to IFLA Section of Art Libraries' 98-99 program.
The international perspective of ARLIS/Norden's work was manifested by the presence of Jan van der Wateren, the conference dinner speaker, former chair of IFLA Section of Art Libraries, and chief librarian at the National Art Library. Jan van der Wateren delivered a vivid and personal speech on his experience of collecting artists' books to the Victoria and Albert Museum - with encouraging inspiration and valuable information for the artists' books project of ARLIS/Norden.
The full conference program included annual meeting, seminar, national reports, library and museum visits, opening of two exhibitions on artists' books on the occasion of the conference, an adventurous excursion by jeep and snowscooter to the glacier of Myrdalsjökull, and to the open-air folk museum and waterfalls of Skogar.
The conference was attended by 60 persons, 20 from Iceland, and 40 from the four other Scandinavian countries. To a Scandinavian measure, 60 delegates is a big number, given that the conference venue is so far away from the rest of us, and our total membership is only 113. But we were so fortunate to have a surplus from the sponsoring of last year's conference in Copenhagen, that we could for the first time offer a travel grant of 10.000 Icelandic crowns (100 £) to each of the delegates.
The seminar had a high professional standard, and the lectures were coloured by the enthusiasm of the speakers, all personally involved, either as pioneers in the collecting and cataloguing of artists' books, or as researchers of photo and art history. Seeing Iceland was fascinating. The impact of nature on the culture, on the human mind, and on the artistic spirit is tremendous. It is a distinct and proud literary culture. Only in this century the art and design have developed a specific Icelandic character. Today Iceland is an internationally orientated country and advanced in all areas, from art and design to computer technology. Still today, as a visitor, you will recognize the human types from the old sagas, characters of strength, prudence, pride, temper, strong will, generousity and humour - with an unspoken, yet firm belief, that there is more between heaven and earth...
ARLIS/Norden has two main aims. One is cooperation of art librarians, the other is Nordic (Scandinavian) cooperation. This year's annual meeting in Iceland truly fulfilled both of these aims.
Danish Museum of Decorative Arts, Copenhagen, Denmark
Nominations for Standing Committee Members 1999-2003
At the end of the Bangkok conference eight members of the Section of Art Libraries Standing Committee will retire. The first four-year membership period for four further Committee members also comes to a close. There are therefore twelve vacancies, some of which we hope may be filled through nominations. In the fall of 1998, nominations are sought for members of the Standing Committee. Committee members serve a four-year term and are eligible to serve for a second continuous four-year term on the same Standing Committee. Once elected, these Standing Committee members play an important role in shaping IFLA's professional agenda and activities. Only institutions that are members of specific IFLA Sections may submit names for those Sections. The list of members of the Section of Art Libraries was published in Newsletter 42. IFLA Headquarters initiates this process by sending the nomination forms to IFLA Association and Institutional Members. The deadline of 1 March for submitting names of nominations will be applied strictly.
A nominee does not have to be an IFLA Member, nor does s/he have to work for an institution with an IFLA membership to be nominated for a position on a Standing Committee. A nominee must receive the support of one IFLA Association or two IFLA Institutions in order for the nomination to be valid. IFLA encourages the widest possible participation in these nominations, both to open up its professional groups to the world's leading experts, but also to strengthen links to non-IFLA institutions as part of a membership development effort. Once elected, a Standing Committee member's term begins with the IFLA conference immediately following the appointment. New IFLA appointees are strongly encouraged to attend this conference. IFLA Standing Committees have a limit of 20 members. Please consult the A Directory 1998/99ge 46), or sletter 41 for the list of Standing Committee members of the Art Libraries Section.
Standing Committee Members' responsibilities
Standing Committee members are expected:
- to be fluent in at least one of the official IFLA languages (Enlish, French, German, Russian, Spanish);
- to attend, at no expense to IFLA, at least three of the four annual conferences during their four year term if at all possible;
- to contribute actively to ideas for projects and programme meetings;
- to be prepared to join fully in the work of the Section (e.g., undertaking projects, organising workshops, preparing translations, etc.);
- to be available to respond to requests from IFLA Headquarters for advice, representation at non-IFLA meetings, etc.;
- to assist in the publication of the Newsletter, a publicity leaflet, or disseminating information about Section activities;
- to arrange for the translation of the Newsletter, publicity lleaflet, or papers for Conference programmes into as many IFLA languages as possible;
- to help to broaden regional participation in the Section by encouraging new Standing Committee or corresponding members;
- to assist in the allocation of responsabilities to each individual member (e.g., editing the Newsletter, broadening Section membership, organizing translations.)
List of Standing Committe members who will retire after the Bangkok conference
Ms Jean Adelman, USA
Ms. Mary Ashe, USA
Stephen C. Bloom, USA
Ms Marie-Françoise Guillermin, Switzerland
Hiroyuki Hatano, Japan
Ms Catherine Heesterbeek-Bert, Belgium
Ms Beth Houghton, United Kingdom
Jan van der Wateren, United Kingdom
The Image TEchnology in Museums and art galleries knowledge base (ITEM)
ITEM is an international searchable text and image information knowledge base on WWW detailing hypermedia publications and resources, primarily about the visual arts. ITEM includes multimedia publications, art gallery and museum image databases, art auctions, photo libraries and art theft. ITEM has been published since 1990 and the considerably expanded records now include screenshots to aid evaluation and comparison of titles, ITEM is updated on a two-weekly basis. Detailed text and technical information about each title often includes a hypertext link to a related Web site and there are extensive search facilities.
IVAIN are inviting IFLA members, who are not already subscribers, to explore the entire ITEM Web site for three weeks for free (access to the whole knowledgebase and full range of search facilities is usually by subscription only) and take advantage of a special subscription offer available until 20 December 1998.
To gain your three week free access please complete the on-line feedback form on the ITEM site and use the 'Your Final Comments' box to request your special temporary visitor Username and Password.
IFLA members special offer annual subscription rates:
- Single user £ 50 (normally £65) meaning access from one computer but not restricted
to a named user.
- Library Site Licence £ 150 (normally £180) meaning access within the library from
more than one computer, but not restricted to named users.
- Campus licence £ 250 (normally £300) meaning access for multiple users from any location within the organisation, without UK geographical restriction.
All prices include VAT/TVA.
Jeremy Rees, Director;
International Visual Arts Information Network at University College Suffolk,
Sue Hagley, Administrator,
Rope Walk, Ipswich, Suffolk IP4 1LT, Great Britain
Tel: +44 1473 296672
Fax: +441473 23005
Annual Bibliography of Art Librarianship
The 'Professional Literature Update' column, which for several years appeared regularly in the IFLA Section of Art Libraries Newsletter, has since vol.16 (1991) no.4 been continued as the Annual Bibliography of Art Librarianship in the international quarterly, Art Libraries Journal.
The Annual Bibliography aims to provide as comprehensive as possible a survey of significant writings on art librarianship wherever and in whatever language they appear.It also attempts to record developments of relevance to the profession, whether these involve art libraries themselves or the activities carried on within them.
The compiler of the Annual Bibliography depends on the willingness of individuals and of professional associations around the world to supply information and copies of publications. Please send these to the Editor of the Art Libraries Journal:
Middlesex TW1 4TF
Fax: +44 181 892 5318
ARLIS/UK and Ireland Annual Conference, Warwick 22-25th July 1999
Taking stock: collection development into the 21st century
The 1999 Annual Conference of the Art Libraries Society of the United Kingdom and Ireland will be held at theUniversity of Warwick, which is adjacent to Coventry on the border with Warwickshire, on a green, landscaped campus.The conference will address the main issues involved in collection/resource management and development. Both printed and digital media will be covered, with particular reference to obsolescence and depreciation of electronic sources. Topics will include collection assessment and evaluation methods, co-operative collection development, and the issues surrounding stock disposal.
Set in the heart of Shakespeare country, local attractions in the area include the great medieval castles of Warwick and Kenilworth, the historic manor houses of Baddesley Clinton and Compton Wynyates, the picturesque villages of the Cotswolds, Shakespeare’s birthplace of Stratford-upon-Avon, and the elegant town of Royal Leamington Spa with its wealth of Georgian, Regency and early Victorian architecture.
For more details about the conference, please contact one of the following:
Librarian, Fine Art Department
Edinburgh Central Library
George IV Bridge
Edinburgh EH1 1EG
Tel: +44 131 225 5584 ext. 225
Fax: +44 131 225 225 8783
Administrator ARLIS/UK & Ireland
18 College Road
Worcs. B60 2NE
Tel. & fax: +44 1527 579298
ARLIS/NA Annual Conference, Vancouver, British Columbia 25 - 31 March, 1999
Connect and Collaborate: Art Libraries Around the World
ARLIS/NA and its members continue to develop strong ties with art library organizations and librarians from around the world. The International Relations Committee is planning a moderated discussion session whereby the ARLIS/NA membership would have an opportunity to ‘connect’ with international attendees to hear about their concerns as well as developments in art libraries around the world. The following questions will serve as a starting point for the panel:
- What are the greatest challenges currently facing art libraries in your country?
- Can you describe any specific projects or resources that would be of interest to the ARLIS/NA membership?
Following the moderated session, a social hour will enable attendees to personally meet one another.
We would like to invite any international attendees who will be coming to Vancouver in 1999 and who may wish to participate as a speaker in this Session to contact Leslie Abrams, Chair - International Relations Committee, by October 31, 1998.
Art & Architecture Library, 0175F
University of California, San Diego
9100 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, CA 92093-0175
Fax: +12 619 534-0189
General topics of the Vancouver conference as listed in the call for papers:
Visit the ARLIS/NA webpage for further details at:
- The Arts and Architecture of Asia/Pacific Rim/Pacific Northwest
- Staffing the Art/Architecture Library
- Electronic Art/Architecture Librarianship
- Art Book/Exhibition Catalogue Publishing in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan and the United States
- Exhibition Catalogues
- Copyright Issues and Digitized Images in Academic and Commercial Environments
- Censorship Issues
- Past/Present/Future of Art/Architecture Libraries and Librarians
The Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Texas
New ARLIS Web Site
The Art Libraries Society of Spain and Portugal, BAEP (Grupo de bibliotecas de Arte de España y Portugal), recently established a beautiful designed web site to disseminate information not only about their society and its activities, the art libraries in Spain and Portugal but also about the activities of the IFLA Section of Art Libraries. Althought still under construction, the BAEP site looks very promising and contains most usefull information. The address is:
Objectivos de las páginas de arte de la BAEP
El grupo de Bibliotecas de Arte de España y Portugal (BAEP), en su última reunión en Barcelona, decidió la creación de un Grupo de Trabajo que estudiase la posibilidad de hacer realidad la presencia de las BAEP en Internet, tratando de responder al enunciado del tercero de los objetivos de la Sección de Bibliotecas de Arte de IFLA.
Siguiendo el análisis de la situación que presentó Mª Rosario López de Prado, Directora de la Biblioteca del Museo Arqueológico Nacional, nacen estas páginas. Con ellas se busca crear un vínculo de comunicación entre los profesionales de las bibliotecas que tienen necesidades de información relacionadas con el arte.
En un futuro no muy lejano esperamos contar con versiones de estas páginas en catalán, euskera, portugués e inglés. Para ello necesitamos la colaboración continua de profesionales que se interesen en difundir sus conocimientos a través de este medio.
Estas páginas no se dirigen sólo a aquellos que componen ya este Grupo de Bibliotecas sino a todos aquellos que deseen colaborar en ellas. Forman parte de un esfuerzo de las bibliotecas que componen el grupo para utilizar todos los recursos a su alcance que permitan dar un mejor servicio a sus usuarios.
Biblioteca Nacional, Madrid, Spain
It is with great sadness that I report the death of Jacqueline Viaux at the age of 85 on Saturday October 10. Mme Viaux was an enthusiastic and tireless advocate of the growth and professionalization of art librarianship throughout her career. She directed the Bibliothèque Forney in Paris from 1948 to 1980. As a professor at Paris’s École de Bibliothécaire-documentaliste from 1958 to 1985, Mme Viaux offered courses on the history of the book. From 1973 to 1980 she chaired the ABF section of art libraries.
In 1973 Mme Viaux first began organizing an art libraries subsection within IFLA. Her efforts bore fruit and by the 1977 IFLA meeting in Brussels a round table of art librarians within IFLA was formed. By the 1981 IFLA conference in Leipzig, this had become the official Section of Art Libraries, chaired, appropriately, by Mme Viaux. As Trevor Fawcett stated so well, "Jacqueline Viaux has to be regarded as one of the key figures in European art librarianship of the 1970s and early 1980s. Her catalytic role in promoting international cooperation can be amply demonstrated." As though holding a full-time job as art librarian, teaching art librarianship, and organizing library associations were not enough to absorb all of her energy, Mme Viaux was also a much-published author of articles and books on the French decorative arts, art librarianship, and art libraries. She was the author of the International Directory of Art Libraries, published in 1985.
Mme Viaux received several French awards, and was recipient of the ARLIS/NA Distinguished Service Award for 1991.
The Standing Committee will remember her many accomplishments in widely varying areas of art librarianship. Her typical vigour and clearsightedness will be an example for all of us. Our thoughts are with her family and friends.
A tribute to Jacqueline Viaux by Eileen Markson in Art Documentation, Summer 1991, p. 68-69.
Call for topics for National Reports on Art Librarianship
The next issue of this Newsletter will be devoted to National Reports. You are invited to write a report on regional developments in art librarianship or related activities you would like to share with art librarians all over the world.
The reports must be sent at latest by 30 March 1999 to the editor:
Library of the Rijksmuseum
P.O. Box 74888
1070 DN Amsterdam
1999 Copy Deadlines IFLA Section of Art Libraries Newsletter
Number 44: March 30
Number 45: October 30