Photos sent by Heather Seneff


The recent post on VRA-L about how to define a digital image professional, and some of the responses to it, are good examples of conversations that need to be happening in our extended VR community.  In many ways, this is the pivotal question we need to ask ourselves, because others are certainly trying to define it for us.

For some of us, the link with our institutional library has long, formal standing, and our greatest difficulty has been trying to be the lone voice for images in a very verbal world.  For others, there are few, if any, ties or links to the library, and little incentive on either side to try to build them. Even within our own specialized Art Library community, there are many who have limited contact with or responsibility for day-to-day pedagogical support, digital asset management systems, or item-level image metadata.

Yet I don’t believe anyone could deny that we now share more in common with our library colleagues than we do with most of the faculty who have long been our constituency.  We do a lot of instruction in how to use resources effectively, we do a lot of reference work, we will be equally affected by major national projects like Google Books, CONA and STEVE, by Web 2.0 technologies, by centralized licensed resources, by emerging and declining disciplines in Art and Art History, by the efforts and expertise of our colleagues in Digital Library Programs, by trends to reclaim “dead” space, consolidate services and eliminate specialized collections and services.

Most of all, we share a common need to re-define ourselves, to focus on the most interesting and vital of the services and expertise we have so carefully cultivated and find creative ways to parlay that into being the visual information experts at our institutions.

We need to work together, and we need a common moniker – one that identifies an art information specialist, regardless of whether that information is visual or verbal.


July 30, 2008

Who and What will we be in our "Post-Slide" identity?

Submitted by Eileen Fry, Indiana University

Please send me photos for this blog and I will post them here. Let’s start with images of your visual resources center, slide library, media center, learning commons, etc. Send them to me at:

We’ve all experienced how hard it is to carry on any type of discussion BETWEEN our two listservs, VRA-L and ARLIS-L. The Visual Resources Division in ARLIS/NA wanted to start a blog that would specifically address the crossover issues many VR professionals now face, especially those of us who are in some way linked to libraries at our institutions.  As we become increasingly “digital only”, have less foot traffic, rarely see our faculty, and depend on larger entities for both our image content and our image operations.  But it’s been very hard for us to talk about things with all of our constituents at the same time.  And that’s a shame, because when we talk about potential mergers with our partner art libraries, or ARTstor, or ContentDM, or metadata issues, or image searching strategies, we need to be inclusive, not exclusive.  We all need to get more practice in these new forms of commnication, and we might find that the continuity of blogs may facilitate some discussions in a way that listserv messages just can’t.

So we are inviting everyone interested in these issues to join in, regardless of who you report to, who pays the bills, or of which organizations you’re a member.