This Forum Update was provided by Kristen Regina, President of the Art Libraries Society of North America and Director of the Library and Archives at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
I am delighted to be a founding member of the DLF Museum Forum, and to have had the opportunity to attend the 2015 DLF Forum thanks to the Samuel H. Kress Foundation.
In my position as President of the Art Libraries Society of North America (ARLIS/NA) and Director of the Library and Archives at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (PMA), [pullquote1 align=”right”]I am particularly interested in learning about how to bridge the gap between the digital expertise in academic and large research institutions with smaller cultural heritage institutions.[/pullquote1]The pre-conference forum biggest revelation for me was the Liberal Arts Colleges (LAC) presentations, which demonstrated some of the the similarities between LACs and art museum libraries. These ranged from staff sizes and demands on time, to systems being employed in both types of institutions. Out of the discussions in this forum came some new ideas for potential collaboration between our respective communities.
At PMA we are working to blend traditional book, archives, image collection, and rights and reproduction services into a seamless service point. The opportunity to network and learn from other art museum digital specialists and to compare and contrast our experiences was invaluable as a new outlet for support and exploration. Learning in more depth about the various systems, digital platforms, and expertise at large research universities was important. It provided a new lens through which to find opportunities for collaboration for art information professionals.
The Forum was inclusive, warm and welcoming yet thought-provoking. Keynote speaker Safiya Umoja Noble‘s well-earned standing ovation after her presentation about her research into search algorithms, biases, and results reinforced the spirit of the Forum and paved the way for continued and further discussion throughout the weekend. The various snapshot sessions, project overviews, and in-depth workshops provided primers in a broad range of areas. It was also useful to learn about new projects that are pushing the boundaries and directions in which digital access and preservation is heading. The closing plenary session, which opened the floor to the diverse range of participants, showed how passionate and innovative the DLF’s members are, and proved that the DLF is equally responsive to the demands and needs of practitioners today and helping support as wide a swath of the digital community as is possible.
Thank you DLF for this opportunity and I look forward to seeing where the museum forum grows and develops in this nurturing, stimulating, and lively environment.