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The Art Metadata Project

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The Art Metadata Project

  1. 1. Great Wide Open presentation of the Art Metadata Project Natalie Bonilla for Early-Adopter LLC.
  2. 2. How did AMP come about? •A multitude of databases in current use makes it time consuming and more difficult to access information. Tons of valuable resources never get utilized for this reason. •A passionate re-envision of accessing fine arts information powered by 21st century technology.
  3. 3. The Art Metadata Project seeks to revolutionize how information about fine art is organized by creating an open-source data standard that would be usable by artists, galleries, museums, collectors, curators, critics and art historians. AMP essentially will have two distinct parts: An XML-based data standard similar to RSS that would provide places for all the standard information that is usually kept on artists and their works. For example, the artists themselves will have their name, nationality, birth and death dates, education, awards, and exhibitions they participated in displayed. The artist’s works would list its’ title, dimensions, medium, year, description, lists of exhibitions where it was exhibited, etc. The standard would be loose enough to allow for special-purpose fields to be inserted for certain kinds of work. A non-profit, disinterested body, funded in a manner T.B.D. who’s mission is to grant and record unique identifying numbers to artists and some system of creating UIDs for artworks based on the artist number.
  4. 4. Current Standards
  5. 5. RSS is a developed standard that is now followed by thousands of large and independently run sites. Its syntax can be adopted into different platforms and applications. AMP looks to also develop a standard that can be adopted by many different platforms. RSS also provides greater accessibility to information by having it literally knock on your front door (or feed reader). The same should be available for the art world as well. With an established system to register artists and their works, hosted under one syntax or standard, art can be scanned like a barcode, or searched under its UID (unique identification number).
  6. 6. Unique Identification Numbers •Artists are able to generate and register unique identifiers (UIDs). •UID system can be used to identify artists and their works of art. •Creating and registering UIDs is a simple process that most emerging artists will be able to easily access and use. •System is open source and can be accessed by anyone who would like to use the system for research or to develop platforms that use the records. •UIDs can be embedded in web pages and searched for. •An attribute of the UIDs can be used to differentiate between official and unofficial information. •Server space with a database will be needed to store records. •Regular backups of the server will be necessary. •System can be used to catalog and query artists and works of art. •Open to be used for cataloging all forms of art. •Can be used to easily aggregate dialogue and criticism. •The system will need a team of developers to create it and people to maintain the database.
  7. 7. Categorizing “Official” vs. “Unofficial” information “Official" information is created by the artist themselves or by their official representative (like a gallery if the work is unsold or the collector if it is sold). “Unofficial" is information created by anyone else (third-party platform hosting). Similar to the "description" field that a user can create in their own RSS feed describing their podcast and anyone else's commentary or review of my podcast that might exist on feedburner or blip or iTunes. The distinction need only be a tag or some kind of simple designation that applications will be able to use to filter - users will decide if they want information that is "straight from the horses mouth" so to speak - or info from anyone out there. A way to keep the conversation open- anyone can use the UID of a work or an artist as a tag in their art history text or their blog post about a show they saw, but there's also a way to find out what the person who actually made the work, or the people who actually own it have to say about it.
  8. 8. Through the AMP open-source standard, developers can compete to create applications for crawling, aggregating, sorting and linking the art meta-data allowing for "influence trees" and other exciting possibilities. Imagine quickly finding information on your favorite painter on a computer or hand-held device as well as uploading your own bio and works onto the massive catalog.
  9. 9. Getting funding for AMP NEA grants already have standards that if adopted, can provide funding for research. The challenge would be to adopt NEA's standards while keeping true to the ultimate goal of AMP, for one master structure that embraces open source. A mission statement needs to be written explaining the project and how it will improve systems already established. A test forum is ideally what needs to be developed later on. Case and usage studies or documentation would further help envision how AMP can be utilized and the scenarios where it's service can benefit the user. The structure first needs to be resolved. Then we can resolve usage through third party platforms.
  10. 10. AMP MISSION STATEMENT The Art Metadata Project seeks to revolutionize how information about fine art is organized by creating an open-source data standard that would be usable by artists, galleries, museums, collectors, curators, critics and art historians. At this moment, there are countless institutions who have independent archives of artists and their works that exist in a multitude of data formats. We want to create one standard that all those institutions could publish to, along with one non-profit unique-identifying-number-granting body, that would make it possible for all of those databases (or their public subset) to be interoperable. We would like to create an environment where various third-party developers could compete to create applications for aggregating, sorting, filtering and displaying the information about fine art that is made public through this standard by any organization or individual. Various companies could sell products and services based upon this standard but no company would own the standard itself. AMP essentially will have two distinct parts: An XML-based data standard similar to RSS that would provide places for all the standard information that is usually kept on artists and their works. For example, the artists themselves will have their name, nationality, birth and death dates, education, awards, and exhibitions they participated in displayed. The artist’s works would list its’ title, dimensions, medium, year, description, lists of exhibitions where it was exhibited, etc. The standard would be loose enough to allow for special-purpose fields to be inserted for certain kinds of work. A non-profit, disinterested body, funded in a manner T.B.D. who’s mission is to grant and record unique identifying numbers to artists and some system of creating UIDs for artworks based on the artist number. We think it will be important to distinguish between official and un-official information. Examples of official information would be the listing of an artist provided by the artist themselves or their official designates, like galleries or collectors – or in the case of deceased artists, the holders of collections of their work like universities, foundations or museums. Examples of un-official information might be information about that work created by other artists, critics or art historians. Its important that the system encourage conversation and dialogue about works of art rather than stifle it and we think that by letting the UID’s be available for aggregating commentary as well as official information, while also distinguishing which is which we’ll find the right balance. Third party applications can use this distinction to create filtering settings that will let the users decide what kind of information they want about a given work. We also imagine that one group of fields in the standard could include the concept of “influence” where the artist themselves in the case of living artists, or the curator of the museum that owned the piece, or the collector that owns the piece in the case of deceased artists could list a finite number ( finite because making it infinite would be an invitation to abuse, maybe up to 5?) of artists or artworks that influenced the artist generally or influenced a specific piece. This would allow for influence trees and all sorts of other potential applications. Bottom line, we envision an open-source standard that can be adopted by a multitude of developers. No matter how data is held in various databases, that data, or the public subset of that data, can be exported in the AMP standard to make it available to everyone. A system like this will make it easier for art lovers to find and discuss the art they are interested in, and help artists and arts institutions cut down on data-entry time. If implemented fully a given artwork might have its information entered once when it was created and that information would never have to be entered again as it was exported from artist’s database to the databases of galley or curator, museum or collector. A researcher wanting to write about a given work could do a search on a given UID and easily find everything about that work existing in every participating database.
  11. 11. Thanks!

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