Supporting the Changing Research Practices of Art Historians

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This study, funded by the Getty Foundation and the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, looks at how art historians' research practices are evolving in the digital age.

Intended primarily for the museums, libraries, academic departments, and visual resources centers that support research in art history within the U.S., this project focused on five key areas:

1. The emergence of "digital art history," and how it is diverging from the broader understanding of the digital humanities.

2. The interconnected scholarly communities that support art history, including museums, libraries, and visual resources centers, both within and beyond an art historian's home institution.

3. The changes that digitization and online search portals have brought to the process of searching for primary sources and the limitations of the current discovery environment.

4. The practices art historians employ for managing their large personal collections of digital images.

5. The state of graduate students' professional training.

Within these five areas, the report makes clear that the needs of art historians can be successfully met only through the collaborative work of many support organizations. Our findings suggest several opportunities for these organizations to develop new funding, services, tools, and initiatives that will have far-reaching impact on the discipline.

This is the third project to be completed as part of Ithaka S+R's Research Support Services Program. A report for the project in history was released in December 2012, and a report for the project in chemistry was released in February 2013.

Long and Schonfeld published "Preparing for the Future of Research Services for Art History: Recommendations from the Ithaka S+R Report" in the Fall, 2014 issue of Art Documentation: Journal of the Art Libraries Society of North America, a journal published by The University of Chicago Press on behalf of the Art Libraries Society of North America. We are pleased to offer the PDF version of the article here.

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