Balance between conservation, museums and academia because crossing traditional boundares is the way to make Photogrphic Studies a fullly rounded subject. DMU wants to act as a non-centralised catalyst. Foster research in the area of research into use of computational tools to support research in history and conservation. Research is not putting primary resources on the Web, but these resources are vital underpinning of our research.
Is DMU prepared to host a site to support this collaborative research?
Yes, on the proviso that it is a collaborative venture, that it is something that all participants help to define and to keep alive through use and uploading and editing of content.
Who will control the focus of the site?
We need to decide collectively how we wish to collaborate and what kinds of tools we need to help us do so. If we have a Web site it will be a collaborative venture in which we agree the broad frameworks we need and own the content collectively.
Identified a need for a Web based resource to enable collaboration, but one that is more usable than a simple mail list. NGA is increasingly involved in Open Source networking software, eg. Mellon Foundation funded ConservationSpace, CollectionSpace,ResearchSpace. Mellon has new division focused on online scholarship. Networking is important to the NGA because relevant expertise is widely distributed across disciplines. NB copyright/licencing problems need to be anticipated and avoided for Web publications. Most of the best exhibitions mounted by the NGA are the result of interdisciplinary and inter-institutional collaborations.
Some questions and discussions around copyright and publishing images on the Web vs print.
Is the Mellon interested in helping to build a stable pool of technical developers to support the creation of these tools/resources? Mellon go throgh 10-12 year cycles. They are coming to the end of a conservation cycle. New cycle is about digital scholarship, eg Project Bamboo funded by Mellon is about interoperability of datasets. This cycle is about 3 years in.
Is it useful to mix the training of photohistorians and conservators? Yes! Also need to think beyond photohistorians and photoconservationists to build a support community for photohistory in other disciplines.
Attempting to overcome institutional fragmentation of photographic content by discipline at Birmingham City Library. This is an analogue for globally distributed content. No formal network in the UK but have worked extensively on collaborations with other institutions. New library will allow all parts of the collections to be drawn together for the first time. Networking is vital to underpin informed collections, to seek collaborative funding. Committee of National Photographic Collections is currently dormant. Luminous Lint (Alan Griffiths) could be a platform on which to base a collaborative Web site.
We need a survey of Web site access to online collections, which could build on local/regional knowledge of what is available.
Also need to collect current photographers archives for the future.
John Falconer/Susan Whitfield
Susan has a lot of experience running large international and multidisciplinary networks including private collectors, institutional content holders, research organisations. BL 20/20 vision for next 10 years includes collaboration, linking datasets. BL recognises need to move into more open access to content. Just established new Digital Scholarship department. BL library lacks visual skills to some degree compared with textual literacy but is working on this to redress the balance.
BL has huge collections that exceed the resources available to deal with them. Collaboration with, eg. educational institutions brings in additional resources. Many users of image collections are not photohistorians, but seeking images for other purposes.
Difficulty of deciding how to aggregate material in museum/library collections because it depends on context. Virtual environments overcome this problem to some extent, but there is still a question about how best to organise the virtual content to meet different kinds of users needs.
Clara von Waldthausen
Working with ICOM to try to establish more uniform conservation curricula across different institutions. ECHO is a European organisation that sets and maintains professional standards in conservation. Networking creates opportunities for internships and research studentships, especially for countries that have fewer photohistory resources. Working for University of Amsterdam and Melbourne who share programmes through international network Universitas 21. Collaborative networks could include these kinds of educational networks. Main European Conservation programmes: Denmark, France, Berlin. European SEPIA project focused on preservation has ended and online database is available but not being updated. Not aware of any joint European survey of photographic collections.
St Andrews wants to harness work aleady done, joining up the dots between different collections, to identify new avenues of research. Networking benefits include raised profile, greater influence, collective resources of expertise and and best practices, making smaller collections more widely avaialble ad facilitation of training and collaboration between future experts. Need to harvest metatdata at the collection level as well as item level, so that researchers know where to find collections. Interested in both professional networking and public collaboration. Need to identify mission critical prgrammes (not projects) to provide a robust infrastructure for sustained future discovery and knowledge transfer. Also interested in empowering the community to take ownership of their photographic heritage, eg. via Web 2.0 tools.
Some debate about the merits of user generated content and comments and the importance of distinguishing between primary and secondary resources and the importance of "provenance".
ORACLE is annal meeting of photocurators. Two recent collaborative projects: (1) Staying Power funded by HLF black cultural experience 1850-1990. Photographs used as prompts for reminiscences. (2) ?????????????
Would like to see convergence between research, conservation and storage. Issues: how to get museum and libarary collections interoperable. Publishing on demand. Exploiting YouTube. Need to expand the network beyond the traditional Europe/North America axis. "I'm very excited by freezers right now."
Photographic Negative history of photography needs to be explored, but is complicated by limited life of nitrate and acetate based negatives. This is a national level issue that affects many individual institutions. Collective action is required. Same issues faced by NGA and Library of Congress. The problem is too big to solve with internal resources. External funds are needed (eg. $800m Packard donation). Netherlands have National combined cold stores for artworks and negatives. Could perhaps collaborate with the UK National Film and Television Archive and the UK Preservation Advisory Centre.
The European Society for the History of Photography. Publishes 'PhotoResearcher' journal twice a year in English. Runs newsletter, biannual conferences. Has list of Photohistory theses at PhD and Masters level complete for Austria but less so elsewhere. 160 members (individuals and institutions). http://www.donau-uni.ac.at/eshph.
http://www.arts-humanities.net, based on ICTGuides Website developed jointly by the AHDS and Knowledge Media Design, De Montfort University.
Collaboration already exists. The National Media Museum has lots of primary and secondary material/collections willing to share through physical access; subject knowledge and expertise. Cannot currently offer remote access, finance or extensive staff consultancy. Collaboration is vital to maintain ambitions for the collections in the face of anticipated 25% funding cuts. Putting material on line is a sufficient research outcome for a museum. Want to be able to harvest information generated by third parties about the collection. Interested in staff mobility schemes as well as student internships, grey literature publishing.
Opportunities to mine existing grey literature resources within institutions.
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