From James Shulman
President, Artstor

I’m writing to announce a call for collection-building proposals focused on at-risk archives of individual scholars. The Artstor Digital Library includes many image collections from individual scholars who have built important archives in support of their work.  Now, we are launching a project to preserve and increase the availability of these at-risk collections by inviting the Visual Resources community, which supports many such scholars, to identify and submit proposals for Artstor to provide some modest financial support to digitize and catalog some of these collections.  Artstor would then maintain the collections and make them available through the Artstor Digital Library as well as through open access initiatives (especially the Digital Public Library of America, with whom we have worked as a content hub since their April 2013 launch).

Some of the collections that Artstor currently hosts include the personal archives of Walter Denny, Jonathan Bloom and Sheila Blair, John and Susan Huntington, Wilfred Wang, Christopher Roy, Rob Linrothe, Jacqueline Barnitz, Machteld Johanna Mellink, Herbert Cole, David Efurd, Richard Ellis, Barbara Anello, Sarah Quill, David Boggett, Hal Box and Logan Warner, Frank Cancian, Madeline Caviness, Brian Davis, Sarah N. James, William Ferguson and John Q. Royce, Aida Laleian, Ralph Lieberman, William L. MacDonald, John Pinto, Allan Langdale, Jorge Durand and Douglas Massey, Alka Patel, Thomas K. Seligman, David Wade, and Robert Winter.

We will provide modest financial support (up to $4,000) for the costs of preparing such collections.  We are particularly interested in scholar collections that:

  • Document non-Western subject matter (or, in Western art, under-studied subjects or material that no longer is available);
  • Have a pragmatic “road map” to metadata creation (the data can be created either with the help of the scholar or the scholar’s material or some other practical means);
  • Have demonstrated value to colleagues in the area of study (or are known to be useful due to the scarcity of the subject matter or the quality of the documentation); and
  • Can be shared openly.

In addition to providing limited financial support for three or four of these projects in the coming year, we hope to build a list of such projects to draw upon as funding becomes available.  We would provide access to our Shared Shelf cataloging tools to support the cataloging of the collections we are able to support and would also be able to provide the content back to the contributor (data and images) in a structured format for those who wish to utilize the data in other systems.

To propose such projects, please email a 500-word description with the following information to with a subject line of “At risk collection”:

  • A description of the collection and how it was created (and by whom);
  • A plan for how the collection would be scanned/cataloged and how much the proposed work would cost;
  • Three sample images that demonstrate the unusual value of the collection; and
  • A brief description of the rights holders involved and whether they would be willing to allow distribution over the open Web.

We know there are many important collections, both in analog form and born digital but not supported by institutional infrastructure, at risk of being lost and (even short of that) are currently under-utilized or under-shared.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have questions.