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CMoA Art Tracks Colloquium

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CMoA Art Tracks Colloquium

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Art Tracks is an IMLS funded initiative at the Carnegie Museum of Art that aims to turn provenance in to structured data by building a suite of open source software tools. These tools transform traditional written provenance records into searchable data, with an emphasis on existing data standards and a strong focus on building tools that are useful (and usable) across multiple institutions.

Once we have converted our provenance information into structured data, we can ask complex questions like “Which works in our collection were in the same city in the same year?” or “Which artworks in our collection were owned by an artist whose work is also in our collection?” By doing more with the data we already have, we can discover gaps in knowledge, shape collections policy, and better understand the ecosystem of the collection and the institution.

This colloquium will discuss how we’re addressing the problems of provenance, what data we’re finding and hope to find, and start a discussion about the possibilities of museum data, both inside and outside the Carnegie Museums.

Art Tracks is an IMLS funded initiative at the Carnegie Museum of Art that aims to turn provenance in to structured data by building a suite of open source software tools. These tools transform traditional written provenance records into searchable data, with an emphasis on existing data standards and a strong focus on building tools that are useful (and usable) across multiple institutions.

Once we have converted our provenance information into structured data, we can ask complex questions like “Which works in our collection were in the same city in the same year?” or “Which artworks in our collection were owned by an artist whose work is also in our collection?” By doing more with the data we already have, we can discover gaps in knowledge, shape collections policy, and better understand the ecosystem of the collection and the institution.

This colloquium will discuss how we’re addressing the problems of provenance, what data we’re finding and hope to find, and start a discussion about the possibilities of museum data, both inside and outside the Carnegie Museums.

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CMoA Art Tracks Colloquium

  1. 1. Art Tracks Carnegie Museum of Art March 4, 2014
  2. 2. The Art Tracks Team: David Newbury Lead Developer Tracey Berg-Fulton Data Nerd Travis Snyder Collections Database Administrator
  3. 3. Our Advisors: Lulu Lippincott Curator, Fine Art Costas Karakatsanis Provenance Researcher And many other advisors
  4. 4. What is Art Tracks? An Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) project to digitize and visualize provenance information. —Three year project —50% complete
  5. 5. What does our provenance look like now?
  6. 6. Digital Provenance Records at CMOA Durand-Ruel, Paris, August 23, 1872 [1]; Catholina Lambert, New Jersey; Lambert sale, American Art Association, Plaza Hotel, New York, NY, February 21, 1916 until February 24, 1916, no. 67; Durand-Ruel, Paris, until at least 1930; purchased by Simon Bauer, Paris, by June 1936 [2]; anonymous sale, Parke-Bernet Galleries, Inc., February 25, 1970, no. 19 [3]; Sam Salz, Inc., New York, NY; purchased by Museum, May 1971. NOTES: [1] bought from the artist. [2] Listed and illustrated in "List of Property Removed from France during the War 1939-1945" (no. 7114, as belonging to Simon Bauer). [3] "Highly Important Impressionist, Post-Impressionist & Modern Paintings and Drawings", illustrated.
  7. 7. What is good about Provenance right now? —AAM standard —NEPIP portal —Getty Provenance index —The internet makes finding data possible —Provenance is a very active field
  8. 8. What are the problems with provenance? —Provenance isn’t searchable —Provenance isn’t (really) standardized —Provenance records aren't consistent —Provenance research is hard.
  9. 9. What are the existing global standards? AAM suggested standard ...the provenanace is listed in chronological order, beginning with the earliest known owner. Life dates of owners, if known, are enclosed in brackets. Uncertain information is indicated by the terms "possibly" or "probably" and explained in footnotes. Dealers, auction houses, or agents are enclosed in parentheses to distinguish them from private owners. Relationships between owners and methods of transactions are indicated by punctuation: a semicolon is used to indicate that the work passed directly between two owners (including dealers, auction houses, or agents), and a period is used to seperate two owners (including dealers, auction houses, or agents) if a direct transfer did not occur or is not known to have occured. Footnotes are used to document or clarify information.
  10. 10. What are the existing global standards? —Text, usually in the AAM standard form —NGA has structured records in TMS
  11. 11. National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
  12. 12. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, MD
  13. 13. Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, IN
  14. 14. What provenance looks like:
  15. 15. Acquisition Methods: Controlled Vocabulary —"purchased by" —"gift of" —"by descent to" purchased by Simon Bauer, Paris, France, by 1936 [2]; [2] Listed and illustrated in "List of Property Removed from France during the War 1939-1945" (no. 7114, as belonging to Simon Bauer).
  16. 16. Acquisition Methods:
  17. 17. Party: Name, life dates, titles, relationships —Walter P. Chrysler, Jr. [1909-1988] —Michel Monet, his son —Thomas George Baring, 1st Earl of Northbrook purchased by Simon Bauer, Paris France, by 1936 [2]; [2] Listed and illustrated in "List of Property Removed from France during the War 1939-1945" (no. 7114, as belonging to Simon Bauer).
  18. 18. Party:
  19. 19. Location: Building, City, State, Country —New York, NY —France —Highclere Castle, West Berkshire, England purchased by Simon Bauer, Paris, France, by 1936 [2]; [2] Listed and illustrated in "List of Property Removed from France during the War 1939-1945" (no. 7114, as belonging to Simon Bauer).
  20. 20. Location:
  21. 21. Dates: Period of ownership —January 1, 1995 —until the 15th century —sometime between 1885 and 1895 until 1950 purchased by Simon Bauer, Paris, France, by 1936 [2]; [2] Listed and illustrated in "List of Property Removed from France during the War 1939-1945" (no. 7114, as belonging to Simon Bauer).
  22. 22. John Doe, 1995
  23. 23. John Doe, by 1995
  24. 24. John Doe, after 1995
  25. 25. John Doe, until 1995
  26. 26. John Doe, until at least 1995
  27. 27. John Doe, until sometime before 1995
  28. 28. John Doe, in 1960
  29. 29. John Doe, 1950 until 2000
  30. 30. Footnotes: Additional descriptive information —Durand Ruel stock no. D1343 —See curatorial file for more information —Her birth name was Ellen Mary Cassatt purchased by Simon Bauer, Paris, France, by 1936 [2]; [2] Listed and illustrated in "List of Property Removed from France during the War 1939-1945" (no. 7114, as belonging to Simon Bauer).
  31. 31. What should it look like? { "id": 1011873, "category": "Painting", "medium": "oil on canvas", "title": "The Full-Length Mirror", "accession_number": "65.17.1", "image": "http://it-svr-emu03/imucma/imu.php?request=multimedia&irn=10183", "creation_date": "1910-01-01", "artist": { "name": "Pierre Bonnard", "location": { "lat": 48.69096, "lng": 9.14062, "name": "Europe", "geonameId": 6255148 } },
  32. 32. What should it look like? —JSON API —LIDO —Linked Open Data —Unstructured text blobs
  33. 33. JSON API Application Programming Interface A machine readable interface for accessing the collections information at CMOA.
  34. 34. LIDO Lightweight Information Describing Objects XML based data format Current best practice for museum data interchange Used by Google Art Project, among others
  35. 35. Linked Open Data CIDOC-CRM CIDOC Conceptual Reference Model ICOM standard for museum Linked Open Data For connecting to external information For publishing information for others to link to Aspirational: future of museum data
  36. 36. Unstructured Text Human readable Will need to be supported indefinitely Current state of Collection Management Systems
  37. 37. How are we getting from here to there? —CMOA provenance standard —museum_provenance —Elysa
  38. 38. CMOA provenance standard Formalization of AAM standard Designed for both human and machine readability Same structure, just stricter Draft document available
  39. 39. museum_provenance library https://github.com/cmoa/museum_provenance
  40. 40. Elysa tool not yet released
  41. 41. Live Demonstration.
  42. 42. What have we done? Created a digital standard for provenance Developed a way to digitally publish provenance (almost) Data visualizations to help inform
  43. 43. What haven’t we done? User-friendly search interface Fixed the provenance research problem Made sharing this information easy Gotten other institutions involved
  44. 44. What have we learned? Linked Open Data is essential to do this well We need to link our CMS and provenance via an API We need to think about institutional authority We need a bibliography standard for provenance
  45. 45. What have we learned? Museums are not thinking about provenance in the context of digital humanities. The amount of information is intimidating. What sort of questions are possible/easy?
  46. 46. How can you help? Use our data. Tell us what we don't know.
  47. 47. How can you help? Let us use your data. Tell us what you want to know.
  48. 48. How can you help? Connect our institutions. —Students —Contacts —Shared data
  49. 49. Questions?
  50. 50. Show & Tell
  51. 51. Acquisition vs Size
  52. 52. Creation vs Size
  53. 53. Creation vs Acquisition
  54. 54. Creation vs Acquisition

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