Apologies for cross posting.

Dear List,

My colleague, Sarah Gillis (Assistant Registrar, Image Management

Worcester Art Museum) and myself, are excited to announce, that we have
been approved to contribute to a book chapter, for a publication called,
"Digital Humanities and Libraries: Altered Domains of Partnerships,
Questions, and Tools," published through Elsevier. Our research will
compare how digital humanists access, retrieve and manage their digital
assets for various projects in comparison to the role of cultural heritage
institutions in providing those various digital assets.

We have developed a survey that will help us contextualize our empirical
knowledge of image access and use in cultural heritage institutions. The
survey consists of ten questions, and should not take more than 20 minutes
to complete. We would very much appreciate your input and opinion on issues
relating to image access and use in your discipline and work.

Link to survey:

For more context on our book chapter, we welcome you to read our proposal,
provided below.

Thank you in advance,

Sarah Gillis
Assistant Registrar, Image Management
Worcester Art Museum


Kristen Schuster

Lecturer in Digital Curation at King’s College, London


Digital humanities (DH) scholarship has increased the demand for access to
digital surrogates (referred to as digital objects going forward) produced
by galleries, libraries, archives and museums (GLAMs). Online access
portals play an essential role in providing DH scholars with access to the
digital objects produced by GLAMs. The growing importance of online access
to institutional holdings requires the development of strategies for the
better understanding of end-user needs. This research will describe the
role information professionals working in museum collections can play in
maximizing the discovery and use of digital objects for DH scholarship.
Particular focus will be given to the types of tools, practices and
frameworks that  provide access and permission to use digital objects.
These assessments are not aimed at characterizing humanities scholars as
unaware or uninterested in the functional elements (i.e. metadata) which
underpin information access portals. Instead, we argue that it is more
likely they are not familiar with the systems and frameworks that produce
and provide access to digital objects. Disciplinary interests and knowledge
require researchers to describe their use of digital objects in ways their
peers will understand. In particular, art historians have niche research
areas that allow them to explore and describe art and architecture in
critical and interpretive ways. Expertise based in research can influence
methods and strategies for searching and using digital objects. These
methods and strategies may not overtly appear in curatorial statements or
scholarly essays; however, they do influence what might be included in a
digitally curated exhibition or project.
There is a body of literature that addresses tensions and challenges in
providing metadata for art library and visual resource collections. Studies
done by Fear (2010) and Roth-Katz (2005) show that information
professionals (such as librarians) need to balance general search terms
with discipline specific knowledge. Striking such a balance, researchers
argue, increases the likelihood of users finding the items they need. What
is missing from this body of literature, however, are assessments of museum
collections that use digital objects for various purposes. There is a need,
therefore, to examine digitization policies and procedures in museums in
order to better understand how a broader range of information professionals
(such as collection registrars) use metadata to facilitate access and use
of collections. Reviewing levels of metadata creation offers an opportunity
to examine how metadata supports the curation of digital objects. For
instance, considering the needs influencing the creation of technical,
administrative, descriptive and preservation metadata for digital objects,
makes room for assessing metadata needs from multiple vantage points (
art historian and collection professionals).

The expertise gained through scholarship is vital; however, the
disciplinary requirements expected of scholars limit how they describe the
digital objects incorporated into their DH projects. These limitations
present particular challenges for information professionals working in
GLAMs as well as visual resource centers. This chapter will discuss methods
information professionals, working directly with museum collections, can
use to create meaningful systems for cataloguing, digitizing, and
preserving digital objects. A description of access and use policies (such
as copyright and image access) which promote effective digitization
projects, will segue to a discussion of metadata practices and tools that
better facilitate the management, use and reuse of digital objects. A
detailed description of policies and standards for metadata creation and
revision will frame the description of tools for embedded metadata.
Describing the nature of embedded metadata will facilitate a discussion of
methods for promoting access and use of digital objects produced by museums
within DH projects. Overall, addressing the skills and knowledge
information professionals can provide for the creation of metadata in
museums will highlight an understated facet of interdisciplinary work
taking place in GLAMs.

Kristen Schuster, PhD
Lecturer in Digital Curation
Department of Digital Humanities
King's College London
26-29 Drury Lane
London, WC2B 5RL