Category Archives: General

Kirsten Ataoguz – How Can Art Historians Publish Their DH Projects?

Present: Kirsten Atagus, Sheila Beonde, Betty Leigh Hutchenson, Dene Grigar, Emily Pugh, Gail Feigenbaum, Alexandra Oliver

Introduction: Kirsten is working collaboratively with a computer scienctist to develop a model for tracking patterns of celestial/solar movements in relation to a particular architectural site. Her question: how to publish this work in a way that accurately represents the data and can be recognized as legitimate research?


  • Desktop v. online?
  • Visualizations v. narrative text description?
  • Is it important to be able to separate the data from the platform?
  • Is the goal to arrive at some kind of stable form or distribute the data, material, components across materials across several databases or platforms?
  • Are we limited by the notion of “publish” (what is “digital publishing”? Is it wider?)

Awesome points people made:

  • don’t be too apologetic about doing DH projects – there’s value in asserting the value of digital work
  • frame the projects in a way that tenure committees or other gatekeepers can understand (if not “research”, then perhaps public intellectual contributions, pedagogy)
  • books are outmoded because they fail to take advantage of the multiplicity and sophistication of new presentation tools
  • “publication” may not be the best way to think about digital presentation
  • archival preservation of data may be different from publication
  • still and moving images are now a reality of several kinds of publication, but sound, smell and touch are still a way off


To dos (in no particular order):

  • match technological platforms for publication with different audiences
  • rewrite tenure promotion guidelines to recognize new products
  • preserve what we like about the book – and discard the rest
  • change not just technology, but academic culture
  • develop guidelines for peer review (NEH and others have already been doing this)
  • pedigreeing rather than publishing: consider alterantive ways of identifying the value of DH work: not just peer review, but number of downloads, page views, screenings, prizes…

Upcoming: Emily Pugh’s organizing a panel for CCA 2015 on these issues – get in touch if you’re interested!

More: Kirsten noted and uploaded all the publications and resources discussed during this panel!

Notes from Linked Open Data

Amy Ballmer has worked on the Avalanche Magazine Index (using WordPress) for several years and wants it to be available to the broader world of art history. Hoping linked open data (LOD) is a solution.
Shift from thinking about content as data
Artist Journal Index: Avalanche magazine; understudied magazine with underrrepresented artists

Europeana LOD video on Vimeo:

Alex Brey worked with British Museum’s LOD at a hackathon in Philly. Uses the language SPARQL, which he said is frustrating to use.

Google’s Guide to Incoporating Structured Data:

Museum Data Exchange:

Univ. MD using linked open data for projects using R language

Scholars have smaller data sets, the challenge of not being “big data” but still sharing with the broader world; LAWDI, Linked Ancient World Data Institute: NEH funded, scholars discussing ways that they can share their data

British Museum LOD, locations semantically linked together

What is linked open data? Data that is made available, as a downloadable file, online. Structured around RDF (resource description framework)
Getty vocabularies are authoritative and provide the framework for people to refer to a reliable identifier (e.g. Picasso)

Open Knowledge Foundation, based out of Norway:

Freebase, good tool for linking datasets; Liam at MIT used it for a news aggregator


What could CAA do to support and promote projects like the Avalanche Magazine index? Pleiades is one portal for ancient world

Two ways to look at the use of LOD
Querying structured data
Teaching people how to use some of the tools for LOD

Cool Stuff Made with Humanities APIs

Difference between using LOD and APIs (structured data)?

John Resig: Automated corrections of data entries on museum websites, comparing Japanese woodblock prints, Varied attributions. Working with MMA

Classical coins at American Numismatics Society using LOD

Notes from controlled vocabularies and aggregated data

Nancy Wicker, Univ. Mississippi, Oxford, Project Andvari: controlled vocabularies and aggregated data
Working on NEH grant level 1 digital humanities
Millions of images and records – how to pull together heterogeneous data, across languages, consider ICONCLASS

Titia Hulst: categorizing by style is impossible, she learned when organizing her data on art market sales in the 1950s-1960s; went with subject categories, 5 in total
Wants to aggreagate hetergeneous data across collections in Scandinavia
Jessica from Artsy, works on Art Genome Project: 3 tiers of metadata – basic tombstone, genome (very structured, 1,000 in total), tags (specialized, 20,000 tags, in house art historians doing the tagging, 7 in total); use tools in concert with tech team to work on the tags
Balance: building flexibility into the system and not getting too specific
Expert tagging and crowdsourcing
Archives of American Art, SNAC Project, surface names and institutions within finding aids to establish stronger connections within and between institutions

Metadata Games

notes on a non-linear textbook/survey

open access collection of resources as supplement or replacement of the “traditional” survey textbook
artsy: art genome project
identifiy needs//challenges
what is different between a wiki, a non-linear book, etc.
how to create it: metadata, open source, copyright, access rights
making connections that aren’t limited to the “usual” methods like chronology, geography
art genome: tags v. genes. tags are the visual data; genes are the “content” (raw data)
smart history: open and free access as well; maybe there is a way to link this type of system with the art genome
how do we get students to engage with it? concept maps, constructing connections.
benefit of “survey” is a guided method; too much information might be overwhelming, how do we use these tools with a guided method in mind? maximize accessability
what types of concepts/groupings are best for the “survey” guide? (metadata) do undergraduates need a chronological guide, broken down maybe into styles/content/themes? how to contextualize history/teaching the transfers of ideas/
what are the goals we are trying to teach to? letting students delve into text/talking about visualization? (creating portals, narrowing focus, creating themetics and timelines as part of the class)
creating transformative experiences for students!!!!! (“it is why we all teach!”)

some notes from the session on digital research/teaching tools

Bamboo DiRT (
infrastructure in the art communities: one portal for all digital tools and projects (an idea that usually fails)
monolithic portals vs. a lightweight approach to tools
overkill of tools: too complex; hard to peer-review the tools
make existing apps work vs. creating new apps (no need to reinvent the wheel, especially when your background isn’t in app development) – no need to spend the time and money on it, either. (spend the money elsewhere!)
ask yourself “what is missing” and look at that as a form of creating collaborations.
tools are not the answer: methodology/research/what can be done digitally (don’t search for the one perfect tool)
interdisciplinarity – no longer thought about with undergrads, because it is the norm and no longer a “novel” idea.
an assumption of “disciplinarity” with a lot of tools that already exist // // // // // // // // // //
social networking as research/collaborative tool (facebook/youtube/pinterest)
allow students to fail at using tools, in order to start discussion about tools/research

2014 Speaker: Michelle Moravec, Rosemont College, Philadelphia

Michelle Moravec will present a lightening talk titled “Visualizing Schneemann explores the production of histories of art using multiple digital tools.”  The artist’s correspondence is explored through data visualization (Raw), network analysis (Gephi) and corpus linguistics (AntConc).


1. What is your current involvement with “digital art history”?

For the past 20 years I’ve been studying the links between feminist art and the women’s liberation movement. During a sabbatical a few years ago as I travelled from archive to archive I realized the centrality of Carolee Schneemann to the networks I write about. When I saw the edited collection of her letters, I began to think about ways to exploring them with using digital tools.  My project,Visualizing Schneemann combines many tools including NER (named entity recognition), corpus linguistics, scraping Google Books, and Raw and Gephi.

2. What is one of the most pressing issues in the field of “digital art history” today?

I’m worried about non canonical artists being left behind.

3. Where do you see innovations happening?  

The speakers at “American Art History and Digital Scholarship: New Avenues of Exploration” conference were amazing.  I’m also extremely excited to see what comes out of the Getty Sponsored digital art history summer programs at George Mason and UCLA

Speaker bio: 

I am a associate professor of history at Rosemont College in Philadelphia where I direct the program in Women’s and Gender Studies.

After receiving my doctorate in women’s history from the University of California at Los Angeles, I pursued an alternative academic career for six years, first  as the assistant director of the women’s leadership program at Mount St Mary’s College in Los Angeles, where I also taught women’s studies and history, and then as the Director of the Women’s Center at William Paterson University of New Jersey where I held a joint appointment as an assistant professor of history.

I have published extensively about feminist art and social movements in the United States.  My current project, The Politics of Women’s Culture, takes an intellectual history approach to the idea of women’s culture as it developed among activists, artists and academics in the 1970s. I am particularly interested in the intersections between history and art done publicly. My method of Writing In Public is indebted to the practices of the feminist art activists I study.

I  work in digital history and serve as a Subject Area specialist for NITLEin the areas of transforming the digital humanities and bridging digital divides between large and small institutions of higher education.  I’m serve as the social media guide for Feminist Scholars Digital Writing@Hastac.

I participate in the larger community of digital humanities scholars and teachers through my blog, History in the City, and Twitter.

2014 Speaker: Nathalie Hager, PhD student, Interdisciplinary Graduate Studies program at the University of British Columbia

Nathalie Hager has B.A. in Art History and an M.A. in Canadian Art History from Carleton University in Ottawa where she taught art history as a contractual educator at the National Gallery of Canada and the former Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography. As a Ph.D. student in the Interdisciplinary Graduate Studies program at the University of British Columbia she examines the controversial proposal to transform the stable and traditional discipline of art history into World Art History, a “new broad discipline” that extends beyond Europe to be both multidisciplinary and global in approach. Her dissertation evaluates and tests emerging theories of world art history in order to develop strategies to incorporate, emphasize, and strengthen transnational connections and propose theoretical and pedagogical frameworks for introductory curricula.

She’ll be giving a talk titled “Introducing ‘WHAM – World History of Art Mashup,” a presentation-ready, rapid prototype of an interactive web interface for desktop screens and smartphones that reorganizes current-existing high-quality resources for art history into a mashup focused on a ‘networks-of-exchange’ approach. By making explicit the connections between diverse world regions in dynamic exchange with one another, WHAM supports world art history’s emphasis on global and transnational linkages as shapers of human history. Initiated to address the lack of suitable pedagogical texts for introductory art history courses that reflect the current state of the discipline and the rise of World Art History approaches, WHAM presents as an alternative to the traditional introductory art history survey text.