Category Archives: Session Notes

creating a crowdsourced set of readings for the art history survey
changing the “textbook” from chronological to something else: thematic (like “communication”), then use a crowdsourced materials (“why do we look at old things”) to create a customized syllabus. no need to reinvent the wheel.
learning outcomes//teaching outcomes (partnership opportunities)
what is it to teach thematically?
finding the right tools for the job//teaching portal
do we focus too much on finding the right tool instead of creating the right content?
wiki model//sustainability//editorship
resources as a forum/community
google+/hangout for a community of peers
what value is a community? (teaching outside your area, first time teaching, responding to new groups of students, new teaching methods – expanding the dialogue)
how do we keep art history separate from other disciplines? (do we need to?)
team teaching/interdisciplinary methodology
falling enrollment rates
changing the language of classes: syllabi changing, class titles changing
k-12/common core changing
ideal resource forum: what would it stress? a skill based model (why learn art history) or thematic (art history itself)
end of session: creating a google+ community –
see also:
links: // // //

introducing digital methods to art history undergrads starting point//link to google doc

how are classrooms set up (what sorts of rooms, how do students interact with professors/other students)

how do we evaluate collaboration (digital badging?)

incorporating media – wikipedia, new media techniques, etc.

how to make these not “silos” and instead a new methodology

“in art history, we need to be leaders and not just follow the humanities”

having students blog, sharing that content on social media like twitter, facebook, etc. using twitter to write a joint paper.

crossing national boundaries to collaborate on work (with blogs/digital online writing).

different platforms for different prompts/audiences

re-photography projects

what skills do we need to cultivate with the students? maybe look at k-12 and museum education for guidelines. more opportunities for the visual.

how do you deal with more traditional mindsets against digital/interactive teaching? and how do  you deal with the students who just won’t get involved?

how do you show the material is getting through to the students? (assessment strategies). individualized feedback, etc.

creating projects that are “real world” examples

having students peer-grade

color wheel examples: CMS, tumblr, produced videos, etc

using digital tools students use everyday to create research projects

taking audience voices that aren’t usually heard to create a survey of a museum

recording thoughts as a blueprint for final piece

digital badging (chicago public schools use this: (press release: personal plug: this is something i’m super interested in exploring as well, if you’d like to talk about it, please email me: )

links: // shadowpuppet app //

Notes from crowdsourcing, tagging, collective cataloging project

Ian McDermott’s original proposal:

I’d like to propose a General Discussion/Working Session hybrid about the D. James Dee Photo Archive, approx. 250,000 transparencies, slides, and negatives documenting contemporary art in NYC (particularly Soho galleries) from the late 1970s – present. Artstor acquired the archive this summer and is in the process of figuring out how to digitize it and, more importantly, catalog it. The collection isn’t cataloged and the slides aren’t labeled so any effort to effectively describe it will be a collective effort. I’m curious to hear what people think about crowd sourcing, tagging, and any other ideas. The BBC’s Your Paintings project is one example of a successful tagging project but what about extensive crowd sourced cataloging, how much metadata is needed before images are released, is it best to open the cataloging to everyone or a select group?

Existing projects resources:

A common theme as people introduce themselves is wanting to get *good* tags in addition to tags at all — possibly using controlled vocabularies.

Ian asks whether people do know of available tools to use — there are problems with using vendors, and there are other problems with “rolling your own” platform. One participant records Artsy’s experience using Mechanical Turk: it took a developer a couple hours to sync the database with Amazon’s, and thereafter it cost about 1 cent per image even with having about 5 people tag each one. Concerns, though, with labor ethics and with image rights.

The Carnegie Mellon program had a Teeny Harris program to get people to identify who’s in the photo.

John Resig brings up a case where a lot of crowdsourced work that had happened over the course of years was replaced in an afternoon by an advanced “computer vision” technique that helped identify things in photos. General point: before you turn to crowdsourcing, talk to advanced computer scientists to make sure that there’s not a computational technique.

Participant wonders what information would be most needed: gallery, creator, year, people, etcetera.

Amanda brings up LibraryThing’s Legacy Libraries and suggests having a “barn-raising” — an event to engage the community as well as to get some items tagged or cataloged. Ian agrees it can be a terrific jumpstart in particular. Participant raises the issue of how you reach people who “aren’t on the Internet all the time.” John Resig also raises a concern about just expecting people to do all the work: important to “chunk” the work so that it’s doable. At the same time, there are many people who do care passionately about particular items or topics. Participant raises the topic of errors in crowdsourcing: Ian mentions that many projects will only accept data once it has been verified by multiple people. Participant brings up the example of the Steve.Museum, where the curation had to happen after all the tagging. John Resig talks about how often it takes thousands of cases in order to train computer software, so unless your set has thousands and thousands of items, in some cases you might as well just do the work manually yourself, or crowdsource it.

Participant brings up search by image — how does it work? John is going to talk about some of that in the next session.

NOTES: Andrianna Campbell and Ellen Tani – The Impact of Digital Media on the Curatorial Process

-online formats for curatorial practice

-restaging historical exhibitions online as means to reenter those conversations into history

-? tools with students for curating online exhibition (? identify strong visual experience that fits with digital methods and experiences)

-curating electronic literature, sonic experiences

-rel. physical exhibition and online components/correlatives

-multimedial gallery experience and how can drive participation with physical exhibitions

-how to create a digital experience?

-how make intuitive to participant?

-? why chose physical and/or online space?

-mixed platform exhibitions

-digital space as a freer space? fewer authoritative voices?



-? showing works and exhibitions that weren’t conceived to be online  (e.g. historical objects/exhibitions)

-using tablets to look at on own time, in own space

-project  “Decenter” – decenter how think about abstraction, rethink canon re. Armory show, formal comparison early abstraction and digital manipulation (e.g. photoshop); invited other artists to participate so incorporating social media (aspect can’t incorporate in a gallery, something made for online)

-website environment as “native” environment – a different space from physical gallery space


-?computer as frame to a work of art??


-how do digital media change ideas/notions about “curation” – does  curation become a more collaborative/inclusive process? how is process changed?

-do works for art get changed or understandings/perceptions? new questions?


-good e.g. of digital exhibition – Tate “gallery of lost art” – was temporary  – about works that never really had physical object form – experience like an archivist searching


-? of process and exposing process and how online platforms can do more along these lines


-new work drawn from digital archives; artists who work in code

-? new kinds of ephemerality with dig media works and curation?

-new questions of rights for artists and curators


-?s of control – artists working online gives appearance of control, but not really  much control – challenging space for artists and curators

-?s of preservation/archiving – of digital life cycle with digital works and curation?


-?s of didactics/interpretative materials and discursive spaces of galleries – what is lost? how restore immediacy of engagement with objects?

-danger of info overload with online interpretative tools – question of distraction and right amount of info and options

-rethinking authority of curator

-online spaces allow for multiple “authors” of chat labels (e.g. Wikipedia style labels) – how gallery like spaces like Wikipedia without transparent authority


-how think about exchange between digital and physical exhibition spaces? transitions between the environments

-how democratize selection, interpretation and (interactive) experience?


-how does digital curation change curatorial thinking and practices and/or participant experiences/expectations?

-can think more broadly, think/work more collaboratively, think more deeply (options online for greater depth)


-online catalogues that can free download on iPads (iBook author – can look really nice – good widget options) or Word Press

-good opportunities for student participation/contributions

Digital Methods for Undergrads

Here’s the link to a shared Google doc that we can use if the group decides to do some workshopping during this afternoon session.  Also, below are some questions that were generated on the session proposal thread—

Questions from comment thread:

  • What are the tools/skills our students need to engage in digital research?

  • What digital projects can be completed during one or two flipped class sessions?
  • How do students engage art history digitally already?

  • How can/should we channel those experiences into the classroom?

  • How can using digital art history methods, or producing digital projects benefit students and their teachers (addressing some of the concerns of technology-resistant colleagues)?

  • How are people using under-utilized tools in their university’s LMS in innovative ways?

  • How do we go about training our students to use technical skills without assuming that they are comfortable already?

  • How might gaming or applications be used in new ways?

  • Can students drive these projects?

  • What issues arise in working with a technologists to create the flipped classroom (a more practical aspect)?

representing uncertainty

competing aspects of time//the risks of hyperreality
showing alternatives in reconstruction (archeology)
what is the “truth” of a site/piece of art/etc
what are the ethics of uncertainty? injecting uncertainty into the classroom without confusing students.
allowing students to explore the uncertainty and annotate and visualize uncertainties themselves
varied audiences//disclosure of uncertainty for different groups//responsibilities. layers of absolute evidence – helps for “consumers”
interdisciplinary approach to research and presentation. especially helpful for non-visual research, such as sounds and smells.
“always dealing with a part for the whole” and the need for “truthiness.” even with graphics programs, it’s always a simulation, no matter how accurate you can be.
finding strategies to tell students to pick something apart.
what is the role of the model if you are just going to change it when it’s built?
restoring for functionality vs restoring for other reasons
art history’s embrace of the unitary object; need to embrace a diachronic nature of objects. cultural biography.
hard to talk about uncertainty in a visual way because of our insistence on visual objects being “true.”
wobbly/fuzzy maps: leaving off info is just as bad as “fudging” the data. what kind of data can you make fuzzy, then? (for example, if you don’t know a location, where do you put it when it’s required? possible example: create a “range” on your visualization, create a homespun effect)
instead of throwing a million examples at undergrads, lets slow down and give less information and talk about them in a broader context
multiple reconstructions of monuments to present to a class/representing process (allows for representing uncertainty)
even simple things like physically erasing what we’re uncertain of can allow students to visualize.
audiences: community engagement//what/why are we trying to recreate, and for whom? experiential spaces/physical spaces (creating a story)
phenomenology (smell and sound scapes as well as visual narratives)
mashups and influences; representing stylistic and perceptive shifts
tools//examples: // GIS // // sketchup // ben franklin home wireframe // OWL //

Collaborative doc for Digital Publishing lightening talk

Upcycling: Building a Professional Online Presence Through Digital Publishing
Meredith Brown (@redbrown81) and I (@ByzCapp) have created a Google doc for our lightening talk this afternoon (2/11/14).

We’re both early career researchers want to open up the discussion toward some of the pressing questions that we address regularly.

Since the talk is only fifteen minutes, we’d love it to be a starting point for further discussions over coffee and online. Please add to the discussion by contributing to the doc (be sure to use a name or initial to denote your thoughts), adding comments, or contributing helpful links.

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