MW2011: Quigley, S., Integration of Print and Digital Publishing Workflows at the Art Institute of Chicago


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The Art Institute of Chicago has been publishing award-winning scholarly and popular print catalogues for decades… but is this model sustainable? Digital publication appears to hold great promise for both user experience and global reach. To achieve these bright outcomes, however, institutions need to approach the challenges and opportunities of digital publication with creativity, willingness to reorganize around new ideas and the careful and adequate resourcing of this vitally important publishing agenda.

In this paper, we will share the Art Institute of Chicago’s experiences gained from forging new integrated print and digital publishing workflows. The discussion will focus on case studies from our ongoing efforts on the Monet and Renoir Systematic Catalogue supported by the Getty’s Online Scholarly Catalogue Initiative (OSCI), the Martin European Decorative Arts Gallery Interactives, the French Impressionism iPhone, iPad and Android applications, and other publications. These projects have all required a deeper collaboration between the technology, publications, education, and marketing/ communications departments. We will discuss our approaches to challenges brought on by these digital publishing opportunities, such as: How do we address the impact these workflows have on both job responsibilities and available human resources? Does increasing the digital publishing portfolio imply decreasing the number of print catalogues planned? How can we incentivize scholars to write for digital publication? Will certain features, such as footnotes and citation tools, allow the field of art history to better recognize the legitimacy of these digital works? What content and which publication channels are appropriate for revenue generating goals? Is new hardware like the iPad creating a new generation of expectations for digital publication? How sustainable are these digital publications as software evolves—are we considering the ongoing maintenance costs?

Published in: Technology, Education
  • These slides lay out the situation and set up the live demonstration by Liz Neely of the Beta site. Unfortunately, the site is still under development and is not ready for unmediated public review. We will, however, start up a usability preview of the digital reader on October 1, 2011. Stay tuned for when we distribute the url.
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  • The text of the paper accompanying this presentation from Museums and the Web 2011 (MW2011) is freely available online at
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  • o Fair to say that this has been one of the most energizing and intellectually stimulating projects I can remember o Involves more than 20 AIC staffers – from Curatorial, Conservation, Publications, the Library and Archives, Imaging, Legal and Technology – not to mention our contracted technology developer partners, the IMA Lab , directed by Charlie Moad and Rob Stein o And while mentioning names, I want to acknowledge the great work from Liz Neely for project management, focus and enthusiasm o And the wise and far-sighted support and funding from the Getty
  • キ  So I’m the set up guy o This the shape of our presentation
  • Our new Gold Standard for systematic permanent collection catalogue Plenty of “Thump factor” All the components of modern scholarship Years in the making, 400 plus pages, $100 retail Incredibly expensive to produce, retail price only reasonable because of subsidy
  • Special Exhibition catalogue Raised the bar on analytical presentation Due to the rich subject material and now well-practiced techniques
  • Clear example of how presentation can be transformed in digital interactive environment One more step toward taking the plunge
  • To be followed by Pissaro, von Gogh, Gauguin, etc. until the whole of our late 19th c. French paintings is complete
  • MW2011: Quigley, S., Integration of Print and Digital Publishing Workflows at the Art Institute of Chicago

    1. 1. Integration of Print and Digital Publishing Workflows at the Art Institute of Chicago Sam Quigley, VP for Collections Management / Museum CIO Elizabeth Neely, Director of Digital Information and Access
    2. 2. Actually, it’s about OSCI Despite an acronym like that …
    3. 3. <ul><li>Aspirations </li></ul><ul><li>Deliverables </li></ul><ul><li>Specifications </li></ul><ul><li>What It Is </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(the good stuff) </li></ul></ul>
    4. 4. Institutional Aspirations <ul><li>Encourage embrace of digital publication </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Show that it is possible to meet expectations of a most comprehensive catalogue </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide a stable, digital publication that can be reliably cited by others in their scholarship </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Make it look beautiful, book-like, and highly readable & enjoyable to use </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Augment institutional publication capability </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Not just another Web site </li></ul></ul>
    5. 5. Institutional Aspirations <ul><li>Transform data repository into an active agent for collective scholarly research </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Authoring and publishing environment that also maintains the scholarly product </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Incorporates nuanced qualifications and references, propelling future research </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Develop an insanely awesome , future-proofed digital publishing solution </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Device agnostic, rendered in HTML5 </li></ul></ul>
    6. 6. Planning Project Deliverables <ul><li>Working prototype of the publishing tool </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Flexible for support of other authors / genres </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Plans for full implementation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Content research and analysis underway </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Publication of volume during implementation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Organizational change planning </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Truly the hard part </li></ul></ul>
    7. 7. Implementation Deliverables <ul><li>Extension of CITI, the AIC’s database </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Fields to accommodate references and qualifiers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Augment asset management, especially for conservation and technical analytic reports </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Open Source toolset </li></ul><ul><ul><li>API development to enable use by others </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Available after initial online publication </li></ul></ul>
    8. 8. Our “Gold Standard” Includes fully footnoted and edited Technical Notes Provenance References Exhibition History Curatorial Entry In addition to Large color plates Technical images Comparative illustrations Details
    9. 9. Matisse: Radical Invention 1913-1917 catalogue
    10. 10. Matisse: Radical Invention 1913-1917 Web site
    11. 11. Impressionist Circle Series <ul><li>Volume 1, Monet: 33 paintings, 13 drawings </li></ul><ul><li>Volume 2, Renoir: 16 paintings, 10 drawings </li></ul>
    12. 12. Monet, Regatta at Sainte-Adresse , 1867 Metropolitan Museum of Art Monet, The Beach at Sainte-Adresse , 1867 <ul><li>Each object will have a curatorial essay with accompanying footnotes and comparative illustrations </li></ul><ul><li>Introducing new observations made using technical analytic tools in Conservation labs </li></ul>
    13. 13. <ul><li>Complete exhibition history </li></ul><ul><li>Footnotes for any necessary explanations </li></ul><ul><li>Link to relevant digitized AIC archival documents and exhibition catalogues </li></ul>Paris, 2e Exposition de Peinture , April 1876, cat. 151. Paris, Galerie Georges Petit, Monet-Rodin , June-August 1889, cat. 5. The Art Institute of Chicago, Exhibition of Mrs. L. L. Coburn Collection: Modern Paintings and Watercolors , April 6-October 9, 1932, cat. 19. The Art Institute of Chicago, A Century of Progress, Exhibition of Paintings and Sculpture , June 1-November 1, 1933, cat. 292.
    14. 14. Time Line <ul><li>Planning work completed June 30th </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Standalone prototype </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Implementation immediately thereafter </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Contingent on funding… </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Preview for 6-month usability study </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Starting October 2011 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>3 fleshed-out entries, other skeletal sections </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Complete publication online by Spring 2014 </li></ul>
    15. 15. Back cover What It Is… Liz Neely
    16. 16. Back cover Sam Quigley [email_address] Liz Neely [email_address]