Questionnaire Summary | Field Agenda | Readings
OF QUESTIONNAIRE RESPONSES IN VISUAL & MEDIA
section of "Miscellaneous Responses"
Please also look at the complete set
of questionnaire responses (viewable by field and by name) .
You can also see the original questionnaire, "Working
individuals responded to the NINCH questionnaire
in the category of Visual & Media Studies.
Many of the respondents selected multiple
classifications for themselves from the following
Scientist/Information Technologist (7)
of the sixty-three individuals identified
themselves as both scholar and teacher. Fifteen
individuals identified themselves with three or
more of the specified categories.
student in education; visual resource librarian;
digital collections developer; and multimedia
diversity of positions held, the group needs were
not divided clearly along these classifications.
Identified needs can be grouped in the following
headings: 1. Collections; 2. Tools; 3. Uses,
Publication, & Delivery; 4. Support.
foremost, respondents articulated the need for
more online images and texts. Although most
clearly prefer access to original materials, all
recognize the necessity of high-quality (in color
and resolution) reproductions. Access to a wide
range of visual material for scholarship and
teaching, along with complete and in-depth data
with clear documentation, is essential. Copyright
issues are paramount; and there is agreement that
collaboration to secure fair and legal use is
desirable. Such collaboration can be facilitated
by establishing authoritative standards for
sharing images and catalogues.
An alternative solution is to develop a meta-data
common database (a common catalogue of art/visual
objects) that will serve the needs of a diverse
group of users, including flexible, at
will accessibility in situations like the
classroom. Online texts and images would ideally
be available to individuals and groups beyond
Hand in hand
with making greater numbers of images and texts
available online is the need for reliable
interfaces and increased searching capabilities.
Searching tools must work across all formats and
all collections. Knowing what exists where, what
it comprises, and how to locate the desired
informationvisual and textualis an
important part of searching. In addition, tools
are needed for browsing and serendipitous
discovery, not just searching for known objects.
categories also need to be developed, including
object appearance and sounds. Increased access to
information increases expectations, and will
increase the need for more flexible discipline
vocabulary and language approaches. As the
information age opens new vistas there is
additional need for ways to identify
authoritative materials with reliable
documentation. Finally, the respondents expressed
a need to work with a combination of originals
Publication, & Delivery
issues were an often-repeated concern, but the
field committee felt that copyright was such a
complex subject that entire conferences could
organized (and have been organized) to address
the myriad unresolved issues and problems. Almost
all respondents expressed a desire for more
clarity with regard to copyright (especially
educational copyright), the need for some central
clearinghouse or checkpoint, and more widely
acknowledged standards of fair use.
expressed needs include high-quality peer-review
for online publications; increased bandwidth and
more sophisticated hardware enabling better
environments for multimedia consultation and
presentations; and increased opportunities for
educational uses of virtual experience (e.g.,
virtual travel through an architectural site).
More time and
money find their way to the top of everyone's
list of needs. Increased funds for training
non-tech scholars to master technology are widely
desired. Time-savers listed by respondents
include tools for collaborative research and
scholarship, more interdisciplinary collaborative
courses, and more collaboration across
institutions and departments. Supportive
institutional policies and procedures are also
important and will probably require a change in
institutional attitudes toward increasing
technological training and purchases and toward
valuing scholarly contributions in electronic
formats and environments.
texts and images online
authoritative standards for sharing
among and within institutions, including
of original materials becoming
compromised by material disintegration
of materials and access to primary
historians need to compare images online
access across distance
access to a wide range of visual material
for scholarship and teaching
and in-depth data, clear documentation
and cataloguers need meta-data common
of perspectives, scholars/librarians and
faithful (true color, high-resolution)
catalogue of art objects based on
tools: across formats, across collections
history needs documentary evidence,
materials by range, images, sounds,
the archivesknowing what exists
where, what it comprises, how to get at
programmers, visual analysis
content and appearance searching tools
for discipline vocabulary and language
for browsing and serendipitous discovery,
not just searching for objects known
to identify authoritative materials
to materials in a variety of formats
to work with a combination of originals
copyright resolution, central check,
easier permissionfair use
peer-review for online publications
memory, better environment for multimedia
issues for multimedia and delivery of
information access for independent
dynamic teaching of processreal
at will in classroom
broader (expanded) access
experiences for students (e.g., travel
training, and time for non-tech scholars
to master technology
in institutional attitudeslegal
prep and slides, publication and images
institutional policies and procedures
(money) for museums to carry out projects
collaboration across institutions and
for collaborative research and
interdisciplinary collaborative courses
Hays & Sally Promey
QUESTIONNAIRE RESPONSES IN VISUAL & MEDIA
- 35mm slides, film, photographs, movie
- primary sources from film & music to
texts archival materials held by museums,
research institutes, libraries, and other
repositories, as well as private
collections (often the families of
artists, dealers, and collectors)
- secondary sources and reference volumes
and scholarly journals.
- Historical archives, drawing collections,
nineteenth-century newspapers on
microfilm, insurance maps, paintings and
sculpture, Library of Congress American
Memory collections, slides, digital
images, film, searchable humanities
- still images of museum objects, sites and
engravings. We are beginning to use QTVR
and are focused on exploring things like
- Architectural drawings (construction
drawings, architects' sketches, surveys
of existing conditions); construction
records (estimates, specifications, logs,
minutes, receipts); technical data
contemporary to the period of study
(scientific and engineering journals,
patents, trade literature and
advertisements, technical monographs);
historic structures reports and HABS/HAER
documentation; contemporary photographs
and other images; corollary social
- Primarily materials in machine-readable
form. Digital images, records in digital
form, Finding Aids, etc.
- Accessioned photographic prints; 35mm and
16mm motion pictures; audio tapes;
digital facsimiles of the above; digital
full-text articles and bibliographic
information; collections management data;
video disc analog images accessed via
collections database; conservation
records and other items of museum
management and practice too numerous to
- period materials. These range from old
professional journals to old
architectural drawings, and include
municipal records, published city
directories, manuscript letters and
organizational minutes, business records,
old photos and other graphics.
- Internet, Photoshop, flatbed scanner,
PowerPoint, DVD, videotape, laserdisc,
SPSS statistical program -- I use these
materials to create lectures for
classroom presentation and for research
- I mainly use digital resources, often
those that have no direct corrollary in
the physical world (such as net.art or
online art resources which are themselves
the focus of my teaching)
- Web sites; listservs and mailing lists;
online environments such as MUDs, MOOs,
chatrooms, and ActiveWorlds; and email.
- I'd suggest that it's not practical to
separate scholarly tools from the
materials under scholary scrutiny.
- As an architect, the place I work in
makes a great deal of difference to me.
The quality of these spaces varies a
great deal from windowless tombs to
wonderful light-filled volumes such as
the reading room at the library of
- I use reference librarians as much as
- The majority of my archival research
collections I find in libraries
- I try to use materials that are available
in electronic form and that are generally
available. I avoid where possible using
materials squirrelled away in very
- travel to libraries and archives. Welcome
online catalogs of collections
- Visual Resources Collection- my own
personal photographic archive
- Major obstacles are the physical
locations of me, my notes, my computer,
and the books. Often I am lacking one or
two of these and the work is impeded.
- I find the materials through travel and
visiting a wide range of collections as
well as through catalogue and
bibliography searches of various kinds
(electronic and otherwise).
- Archivists, curators, librarians, and
other scholars frequently facilitate
access to and/or provide information
about the specific subjects or items for
which I am searching.
- ample opportunity to re-engage,
re-examine, and/or re-read.
- catalogues raisonnes, databases, Web
sites, andthrough museum and scholarly
publications. The most comprehensive
sources for my purposes to date remain
the analog sources, i.e., publications.
- online communities
- As for discourses, I merely keep my eyes
- I prefer a dynamic environment where
these resources keep shifting to a static
- The materials I use may come from
libraries, museums, archives, commercial
image vendors, personal collections,
internet web sites, architectural firms,
or art galleries.
- Ideal circumstances for me are a laptop
and a T1 connection or better.
- institutional library resources: books,
periodicals, institutional slide
collection; my work space is within the
institution's library facility
- The ideal work environment would allow
flexibility to shift among the various
information resources, of different
physical and organizational types, that I
- rely heavily on range of surrogate
formats (to film)
- "Original" just means the first
instance of a work or resource.
- I usually do not need originals.
- We use the term "original" to
refer to accessioned collection objects.
- Much of the material I work with is
generated electronically, so
"copies" are identical to the
- As long as there is a good reproduction
at hand, "originality" does not
play a role in my research.
- most of what I use are surrogates --
digital copies of something that exists
in tangible form.
- you have to actually see, hold, touch the
original art. But I also need some form
of visual print (xerox, drawing,
polaroid) so that I can remember it 6
- I would want to see the orginal in any
kind of serious research that I
accomplish, but the original surrogate is
a close second and functional substitute
for long term visual analysis.
- In most cases, legibility precludes the
need to spend much if any time with an
original, even with most graphic items.
Architectural drawings from a
developmental stage in a design, however,
will often contain emendations, erasures,
and other marks that help the researcher
trace a designer's thought processes.
- At varying times, multiple sorts of
objects constitute "originals."
- I find myself considering the great
majority of cyberspace as original.
- We distinguish between archival originals
that exist in one copy, and books and
periodicals, which although published in
numerous copies, are the originals from
which we make slides.
- Situating my work in the context of
earlier work is by identifying the
limitations of my predecessors' work and
defining how I would like to go further;
vis-a-vis work from other fields, this I
do currently by involving consultants
from those fields to offer input on
issues related to but different from
those I define.
- Situational context: most of the sources
I have consulted have been previously
ploughed by researches in limited or
specialized fields (architectural
history, history of technology,
sociology); what value I add must come
from crossing the field boundaries.
- My work is often bouncing off other work
(particularly misassumptions in Western
art history), misinterpretations by other
scholars. I read more from outside my
field (anthropology, philosophy, literary
criticism) than within it.
- The demand for searchable image archives
delivered by increasingly accessible
information networks will likely
frustrate museums with significant
photographic collections unless these
institutions are able to support users
beyond their traditional constituents.
- Who, what, where, when, why, and how? I
like to ask what an image can tell a
viewer about itself upon close inspection
and how might more information be
- Assumptions and bias: I try to make them
explicit, or at least subject to
- As a librarian I ask innumerable types of
questions, most initiated by others.
- As a historian, I ask the widest range of
questions that I can imagine in order to
situate objects most convincingly in
historical and cultural contexts.
- Since I'm sometimes not certain what I'm
looking for until after I've looked for
some time, serendipity plays a large role
in my researchthus the ability to
browse among resources is critical.
- My work (both art and teaching) is often
about questioning the ways in which
(technology) alters or reveals our
perceptions or thinking about a
non-technological resource (whether that
be human experience or museum artifacts).
- explore how and to what degree on online
environment promotes a diverse and
creative set of ideas and participants.
- our interrogation is often about how our
faculty plan to use materials in the
- I also try to make clear that although
some of the methods applied in my
research are considered to be `hard
science' or `hight-tech', the results of
these examinations still need to be
interpreted by the researcher, and that
several more or less subjective moments
can be identified in this process.
- A basic goal of my public outreach
material, or my teaching materials is to
place the raw materials of intellectual
properties in the hands of students so
they can see how scholars go about
interpreting documents and objects from
- "Who is the audience and what do I
want them (or what does the instructor)
want them to learn from these
materials?" And then, "How can
I best utilize these materials to achieve
- Look beyond the discipline or art world
discourses to discern its relationship to
social and intellectual history.
- In terms of my research, a vast majority
of my work concerns originals; in terms
of my teaching, only a very small
- The primary source sets the tone and
agenda of my investigation, but once that
is done, secondary sources become
- I am particularly focused on rights: I
look for high quality of visual materials
that can then be published broadly in
- Secondary sources are a roadmap to the
primary sources, which are what you have
to rely upon. I value most highly the
sources as lenses through which to see
another world, another view, another era.
To place one above another is like being
asked to pick favorites among one's
children. My work is driven by primary
- It is very difficult to distinguish
between "primary" and
"secondary" sources in my work.
Since a great deal of what I do is a kind
of anthropology or sociology every source
can be thought of as primary in one
context or another.
- Most highly valued among primary sources
is their unmediated quality.
- In research, I value archival or other
primary documentation, though I
supplement this with secondary sources.
For teaching, I value high quality visual
materials (still and moving images,
graphics, tables, etc.) that clearly
illustrate a concept or practice.
- With respect to databases for use in
research and teaching, I strongly prefer
those with the least
"architecture" of their own;
less "canned" is definitely
- Like Emerson, I am a walking eyeball, and
I point-and-click my way through the
- In monographic and periodical
publications, I value thorough
- Documentary resources are most valuable
if they make descriptive (non-rhetorical)
statements of the disposition of
activities and objects of the past.
- Interpretive writing is valuable because
it imaginatively brings the documentary
and physical evidence of the past into a
convincing social context.
- On the balance between primary and
secondary sources: this is another
distinction that seems increasingly
shop-worn to me.
6. CONSTRUCTION & RE-CONSTRUCTION
- At present, the fruits of my research is
being placed online, where it can be
evaluated by others and whose feedback I
- By building a visual resource collection,
we are in effect constructing a secondary
resource by gathering surrogates of the
visual world and constructing a means of
access to its content.
- I wouldn't say I reconstruct material
very often, but depending on my research,
I often recover primary sources that are
not otherwise known to scholars
- I use links to connect materials. We are
studying Web access logs to understand
- I value the ability to triangulate with
multiple sources that document different
aspects of one subject. Interpolation is
usually more credible than
- Because I work so strongly with primary
materials - I am heavy on construction,
but I believe that there are multiple
ways to "correctly"
construct/reconstruct a whole out of the
the singular part. In other words, there
is no one answer.
- With respect to my own practice, I
believe that a strategy that incorporates
constant questioning of assumptions and
of varieties of evidence, as well as a
strong sense of the and
"messiness" of lived
experience, is likely to get me closer to
historically responsible interpretations.
- Digital imaging is a major resource in
this process, since we can now digitize
and superimpose in separate layers the
different technical images with a quality
image of the painting, allowing for much
more precize comparison.
- presenting a variety of materials in a
logical framework for research purposes.
- "Rigor" is established by the
accuracy and completeness of the evidence
provided for the argument put forward.
Results are evaluated by so-called
"peer review", which does not
function very well; too often
partisanship or self-censorship, because
of the structure of the system, get in
the way of regular, thorough and honest
evaluations of publications and research.
- As a librarian, most of my work is
collaborative, as a scholar, most is not
- I look forward to a different kind of
collaborative research where the
contingencies do not always flow to a
single thesis, which seems a very
artificial aspect of linear writing when
compared to the multivalence of reality.
- I find collaboration in historical
research difficult. Ironically, perhaps,
I often try to get my students to
- Collaboration enables people to bring
rich resources together for the benefit
of a much larger group.
- I greatly value examining the material of
my field through the lens of a different
perspective; different research issues
come into play; different methodological
approaches are brought to the fore.
- In terms of obstacles, we have both had
to learn the limitations of the other's
discipline and finding a common
understanding and goal.
- Most of the materials I share with my
colleagues are available online, so it is
quite easy to share them.
- Biggest obstacles to collaboration are
copyright laws that inhibit sharing of
materials across institutional
- Collaboration works when it gives you
ideas you didn't have before. It doesn't
work when differing focus and intent
collide or when time constraints for
individuals don't match.
- the greatest obstacles to collaboration
are people's reluctance to change the old
ways of working
- I have co-authored books, and whatever
their shortcomings I can honestly say
that they are better books than they
would have been if only one of the
authors had written them.
- Do not collaborate.
- Working alone is advantageous for its
economy and flexibility. Collaborating is
benefical for the ideas that come out of
conversations and shared writing.
- I do a great deal of team-teaching. I
have found that team-teaching creates a
larger context in which my own pedagogy
can take on "added value."
- There are many technical barriers to
collaboration -- the lack of a good XML
authoring environment, for example, is a
- I would suggest the development of
clearing houses or partnerships, wherein
the independent scholars could supply
topics of mutual interest to institutions
with established internships, that could
in turn provide the people.
- I am very much interested in the ways
that one can integrate images into a
variety of fields.
- I collaborate with people of the culture
I interview, local scholars etc. I find
it easier to write alone.
- I would like to see more collaboration
between institutions for data collecting
- images from early travelers accounts
for example, shared across a range of
institutions - along with occasional
symposia bringing together teachers and
students from the institutions working on
- With respect to my teaching, and over the
last several years, I have particularly
enjoyed the opportunity to work in
collaboration with educational
technologists and librarians on subjects
of mutual concern and commitment.
8. TEACHING, PUBLICATION, PUBLIC
PROGRAMMING AND OTHER FORMS OF
- My research process remains the same
regardless; what differs is the manner in
which information is presented.
- Audiences find my publications through
database searches, I assume.
- My ideas and my expertise I disseminate
primarily through the listservs of my
professional organizations, which serve a
- Our work has been disseminated as campus
wide image databases.
- As a teacher my most immediate audience
are the students who enroll in my
classes. Beyond this however, I try to
make the materials of my classroom
instruction available broadly through
web-based resources ...
- The improvement of scholarly publication
models is one of our primary research
agendas here. Basically, we need to
design documents that have scholarly
rigor but that are intellectually
accessible. ... The way to make p rogress
is by actually producing things.
- While I have been successful in getting
general feedback on the materials
published in the journal, I have not yet
been able to establish the kind of
ongoing discussions that I think would be
useful to readers.
- university publications, journal,
- The web may help academic publishing, but
there is also alot of junk out there.
- Research and dissemination are intimately
- I think that the entire world centered
around research, publication, service and
teaching is in the process of a vast
restructuring due to the Internet.
- Books, articles, book reviews,
exhibitions and exhibition catalogues,
scholarly and public conferences and
symposia, teaching, syllabi (almost
always in conventional rather than
electronic media of publication).
- Lately my work has been focussing more on
Web dissemination. Better peer review,
both in the print and electronic academic
publishing worlds would help a great
- One big gain for the museum and art
professions would be the *real*
recognition of online publishing as
- The older monograph form is passing away
and the newer short essay is increasingly
- I do not regularly try to manipulate the
public dissemination for age specific
- Teaching and research precedes
dissemination at a popular level
- My greatest need is time. My days are
often filled with paperwork,
- my greatest frustration is the scarcity
of well-documented digital resources
- weakest link is true collaborative work
among "competing" institutions,
and the need to forge ongoing ties
between traditionally separate colleges -
i.e. Arts and Sciences vs.
- I and my colleages at many other
institutions are redundantly cataloging
similar material and/or are
simultaneously making digitized images of
the same object seems like a tremendous
waste of effort and resources.
- NEEDS: more time, technological support,
consistent funding, staff.
- FRUSTRATIONS: uncooperative and paranoid
academics, egocentrism, not enough time,
and lack of acknowledgement, bad
- more collections descriptions at an
- I would like to copy, cheaply, all
primary material for my reference use.
- The greatest frustration in research is
finding the data one needs.
- I think some of the biggest problems are
in the area of copyright. It is difficult
and expensive to get illustrations for my
books and articles, and I have trouble
putting together readins for my classes.
- the traditional boundaries between
disciplines are stifling. I work squarely
in between two fields, history of science
and architectural history.
- A greater degree of useful access to the
world's visual resources without the
barriers of constraints such as
licensing, etc. would be a utopian
- Funding from some sources, e.g., the
national endowments and other major
foundations, might be more forthcoming if
the preservation value of digitization
could be demonstrated. But professionals
in the field of
we believeare not yet prepared to
state that digital copies have the same
status for preservation as, say,
microfilms. This is a policy problem that
requires a technological solution: how
can archives guarantee the persistence or
longevity of content in digital form?
- finding the best way to provide broad to
content in the humanities without
injuring the rights of creators and
producers, i.e., those who hold the
copyrights or other rights in the
- there is the question of the "new
content being created today in digital
- more time and more money to do research,
espeically in a non-science area.
- Finding material that self-identifies (so
I know iteratively where it came from).
- Museum to museum, museum to university,
and (appropriate) museum to corporation
collaborations seem to me to be the kind
of objectives that will be useful in the
fluid universe of eternally modified
standards and technologies.
- I wish that searching functionalities
were ... and that there were more
full-text resources available as well as
more art images accompanied by
high-quality, valid data.
- I am concerned about preservation (and
"readability") over time with
respect to new media and rapidly changing
- I would like to see image quality
continue to improve for digital images.
- In the classroom, I would like to be able
to quickly call up individual images from
a wide range of possibilities and in an
order determined by the needs of the
particular teaching "moment"
rather than on the basis of pre-loaded
- Copyright is also frustrating. The
archival original and the monograph seem
to rule the library budgets. Few
institutions recognize the value of
surrogate images, so grants are hard to
- I would like to see more middleware
technology available in an "off the
shelf" version, requiring less
complicated local programming. This would
enable more standardization in the
delivery of databases of material over
the web. But the tools are probably not
that universal yet.
- Copyright and the shrinking public domain
obviously are huge obstacles to research
and publication in the arts.
- many image-based electronic resources and
data bases (e.g. the AMICO project)
require a completely different approach
to institutional thinking regarding both
access and use.
History | Interdisciplinary
Studies | Language and
Literature | Performing
Arts | Visual and