online databases, rights and reproductions and open access - john ffrench
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Online Databases, Rights and Reproductions and Open AccessJohn ffrenchDirector of Visual ResourcesYale University Art GalleryTufts University Curatorial Approaches to Collections Professor Julia Courtney Monday November 23rd, 2015
Tufts University Curatorial Approaches to Collections with Professor Julia CourtneyPresentation entitled: Online Databases, Rights and Reproductions and Open Access (Open Sourcing)By John ffrench, Director of Visual Resources at Yale University Monday November 23rd, 2015 6-9pm
Thank you to Julia Courtney for the opportunity to come and speak to you today. As outlined in your syllabus for this class I would like to cover some of the accomplishments, current projects and future plans surrounding our online databases and digital asset management at the Yale University Art Gallery.*
Yale University Art Gallery
To best understand what the Gallery has arrived at with the management and delivery of our collection, it is helpful to step back some and review where it is we came from and what our goals were before digital asset management.
In 1999 I was hired at the Yale University Art Gallery, at the time there was not a photography department, we had 1500 transparencies of the collection (and an assortment of 35MM slides scattered in curatorial offices). The decision at that time was we would go all digital and not shoot any film, as an early adopter of direct digital capture we had a lot of hurdles to get over one of which was how to store all of the pictures we took and even more so, how to distribute them when requests came in. It was a SLOW process. (bear in mind this is of what we had as our preservation plan at the time was a duplicate set of CD/DVDs stored off-site).
Around 2007 we received funding from one of our Governing Board members to purchase servers so we could move files from the library of physical media over to spinning disk space. This was the beginning of what enabled us to share our files more broadly, though in the beginning only with Gallery staff. External requests were still burned to physical media and mailed off, or in some cases via FTP.*
Yale University Art GalleryCollaboration
Other movements were also afoot in the university more broadly. As all corners of the Yale campus crossed the digital divide, it was imperative that Yale collections learn to share with each other in order to share with the world.
Having worked at the University for some time now, I feel that the way in which the cultural heritage repositories work with one another today reflects a profound cultural shift. The museums and libraries at Yale now communicate and collaborate on projects in ways and with a regularity that was simply unimaginable to many of us several years ago. One of the factors that helped facilitate this collaboration was the Office of Digital Assets and Infrastructure (ODAI), which was created in 2008 following the recommendation of two high level university task forces.
Some of you may have read a report issued by OCLC (Online Computer Library Center) in late 2007 addressing library and museum collaboration entitled Beyond the Silos of the LAMS. (LAMs being Libraries, Archives and Museums.) In October 2007 sixteen representatives from libraries, archives, and museums across Yale were gathered for a day-long meeting at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, facilitated by Gnter Waibel and Ricky Erway for (Research Library Group) RLG / OCLC, one of several meetings that were part of the LAMS report. The goal of the meeting was to identify collaborative and sustainable opportunities between our repositories. In our meeting, one of the recommendations that the participants reached was the need for the creation of a Yale Federation of Collections to help support a more strategic and cooperative approach across collection repositories across Yale.
In the digital realm, ODAI helped fill this need, bringing together committees and working groups across repositories at Yale to help find common technical and policy solutions. While ODAI no longer exists as an entity on campus, their initial coordinated work helped to establish many of the shared tools and collaborative environment we have in use today.*
Yale University Art Gallery
In 2009 the Gallery began to look for a DAM to better manage its growing assets and to allow for a more controlled means of access as well as preserve our assets. We soon found that the YCBA were facing similar needs so we discussed partnering on a shared solution, particularly since we both utilized the same CMS, TMS (The Museum System by Gallery Systems). Not long after our research and investigation into solutions began Yale as a whole decided a campus wide DAM solution would be best served and a task force was formed under the guidance of ODAI to find a larger shared solution.In 2009 a system was chosen and implemented on campus. Artesia, no Open Text Media Manager was selected and the initial partners were YUAG, YCBA, Peabody and the Beinecke Library. While Media Manager is a campus wide solution, each unit has their own silo of data which can be shared, or secured as determined by the individual units at the asset level.
Since its implementation, more partners have begun to use Media Manager across campus*
Yale University Art Gallery201020082012Artesia DAM purchasedCustomization/ implementation, MediaToolsProduction System LiveYUAG Online Collection Released2011Yale Open Accees Announced
(May 2011)2009YUAG stops charging for images
Id like to explore some of the reasons that the Yale Open Access policy may have developed in the way that it did.
For one, the art museums at Yale were eager to reduce barriers to their images long before the announcement of any formal policy.
Prior to OA, the Gallery maintained a sliding scale of material and permission fees depending on the nature of the request, but in 2008 began to provide images for education and scholarly use free of any charge across the board. As all departments of Yale crossed the digital divide, it was imperative to share with each other in order to share with the world.
Similarly, the Yale Center for British Art had begun reviewing its charging models In 2008-2009. As both museums produced more digital imagery and began to work on collaborative projects to manage their digital assets, the Art Gallery approached the Center to discuss offering images for scholarly publication free of any charge at all licensing, material or service and how that might be accomplished.
Among the Library collections at Yale, the Beinecke Library had a similarly demonstrated commitment to providing broad access to its collections for teaching, learning, and research through its Digital Library, where it allowed patrons to use materials in the public domain without its permission and to make fair use of copyrighted materials.*
Yale University Art Gallery"...discussion of current challenges for scholarship in art historical and related disciplines, in particular as these are related to the fees charged by museums when licensing images."Mellon Foundation meeting in NYC to discuss the topic of Images in Scholarly Publication.
14 museums meeting including the Yale University Art Gallery, and the Yale Center for British Art.
Around the same time the Mellon foundation held a meeting in NYC with 14 museum Directors from around the States and their R&R related staff. This meeting was held to discuss and attempt to solve the issue of prohibitive fees scholars were facing when attempting to acquire images for publication research. In this meeting it was being urged that museums needed to step up and start to make their images more freely available.
While those around the table agreed in principle, the concern was how to implement this in practice and perhaps more so sell the idea to their staff and Governing Boards. If one museum were to step forward and make the move, others may be more likely to follow.
Soon after returning from that meeting Yale directors made the decision to formally move forward with Open Access and a campus wide process began.*
Yale University Art GalleryThe museum community now has two decades of the experience of being digital to look back on, and it is fairly clear that digital networks and online access to collections has not substantially changed image-licensing revenue as was anticipated by many in the early 1990s. What has happened, but has received much less attention, is that the potential for fulfilling mission in research, education and general creativity has greatly increased because of those same developments digital networks and online access. In the end, all of the directors of Yale collections came down on the side of research, education and creativity. The greater risk was thought not to be loss of future revenue, but diminution of mission capacity by continuing to place obstacles like small images at low resolution, with forms to fill and fees to pay where they might very easily be removed.
Ken Hamma (Modern Art Notes Blog, 9/15/2011)
The Yale policy grew out of the changing landscape as more and more cultural institutions crossed the digital divide in the 1990s, as institutions switched to digital workflows, models and motivations for creating and distributing images of cultural works changed. The College Art Association (CAA) statement in the 1990s noted that imaging fees had a profound effect on scholarship, and argued for fair use more broadly. While it did not specifically address works in the public domain, the 2004 Mellon Foundation study, Reproduction Charging Models & Rights Policy for Digital Images in American Art Museums, found by and large that imaging rights models were not profitable and perhaps anta