Beyond Tidy Data: Critical Use of Museum Collections Information
College Art Association conference session sponsored by the Digital Art History Society, New York City, 15-18 February 2023
Co-Chairs: Lindsay Dupertuis, independent scholar, and Kelly Davis, Yale University
Digital art historians frequently use collections information as data to inform their studies. Many cultural institutions, such as the British Museum and the J. Paul Getty Museum, allow scholars to easily access and download their collections data through Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). It is necessary to “tidy” or “clean” this data, i.e. standardizing the format and terminology, before performing computational analysis or creating visualizations. However, proponents of critical museology increasingly acknowledge that “museums are not neutral,” to borrow a motto from La Tanya S. Autry and Mike Murawski. What does this exhortation mean for digital art historians?
This session, sponsored by the Digital Art History Society, seeks participants from across academia, museums, libraries, and archives to interrogate the implications of institutional history for collections data and its usage. Topics may include collecting practices and provenance; curatorial bias; institutional neglect; selective or asymmetrical digitization; misidentification; and solutions for counteracting tendentiousness within museum data. We welcome contributions that address marginalized communities, regions, and media.
Proposals should include:
- An abstract of your paper (250 words maximum)
- A shortened CV (close to 2 pages).
- Access needs, if applicable.
- Completed proposal form (available at the CAA conference website, linked below)
This session is currently slated to proceed in-person. For more information, including conference participation rules, please visit the College Art Association’s conference website at: https://caa.confex.com/caa/2023/webprogrampreliminary/meeting.html