Mapping Artists' Books through the Digital Humanities




Rinalducci, Jennifer
Stevens, Jen

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Experimental, amusing, or beautiful, artists’ books are art in book form, intersections between image and text. Five years ago, we began collecting artists’ books for teaching and research. This non-browsing collection varies in structure and content and is used by students, faculty, and museum professionals. Although artists’ books are tactile experiences, they are hidden in Special Collections and can be difficult to access through the library catalog. In order to increase accessibility, we have begun the digitization process. This enhanced digital collection will include multiple images of a book. In addition, we are conducting artist interviews and creating videos to demonstrate the “reading” of a book (valuable for sculptural books). A unique addition is GIS mapping, beneficial since the collection includes several items by local/regional artists. Mapping also demonstrates the relationships and collaborations between book artists. We intend to explore these connections further through social networking analysis. Behind the scenes, we are creating meaningful records by describing books in more detail (e.g. structure, materials). Part of this is establishing metadata guidelines to improve the organization of information and accessibility. Our content guidelines create a consistent, functional research tool. We will then make this information available through the open source platform Omeka since it offers the capability to share rich, visual collections. This information will also be pushed out to ARTstor’s Shared Shelf platform for greater visibility. Attendees will see a digital humanities project from its inception and how a workflow can be established to manage a complex digitization project.


Presentation given at the 2016 College Book Art Association National Conference at Nashville TN at Vanderbilt University on January 9, 2016 as part of the "Artist's Books and the Research Library" Panel (Moderator: Sarah Hulsey, Adjunct Faculty, Lesley University, College of Art and Design)


Artists' books, Book arts, Digital humanities, Digitization, Mapping, Data visualization