NYC-based Art Consortium Announces Grant to Launch Digital Preservation Program

METRO congratulates the New York Art Resources Consortium (NYARC) on their recent grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for their efforts to preserve born-digital art information. The following announcement has been reposted courtesy of NYARC.


Three Major New York City Art Libraries Announce Plans for a Shared Program to Preserve Digital Art Resources

The New York Art Resources Consortium (NYARC), consisting of The Frick Art Reference Library of The Frick Collection, The Brooklyn Museum Libraries & Archives, and the Library & Museum Archives of the Museum of Modern Art, has been awarded $340,000 from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to initiate a program of web archiving for specialist art historical resources. The two-year program, entitled Making the Black Hole Gray: Implementing the Web Archiving of Specialist Art Resources, will follow a 2012 pilot study, Reframing Collections for the Digital Age, also funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

That study demonstrated that the types of materials the NYARC libraries had been collecting in printed form were increasingly migrating to online versions available exclusively on the web. It concluded that there was an urgent need to document the dynamic web-based versions of auction catalogues, catalogues raisonnés, and scholarly research projects, as well as artist, gallery, and museum websites, because otherwise there is a real and imminent danger of a “digital black hole” in the art historical record.

"This generous grant will allow us to move forward in capturing born digital art information with the same diligence and care that we devote to more traditional paper-based resources", says Milan Hughston, Chief of Library & Museum Archives at The Museum of Modern Art.

The new operational program will allow for the better harvesting, description of, and access to these materials. It will also address the issues of long-term preservation. Stephen Bury, Andrew W. Mellon Chief Librarian at the Frick, states; "We are very grateful to The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for their continued support of the New York Art Resources Consortium and our efforts to provide our museum staff and the research community with integrated access to art historical materials in digital and print formats.”

Deirdre Lawrence, Principal Librarian at the Brooklyn Museum, states that "The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has once again supported NYARC’s efforts to make our respective collections more available to a large and varied audience. This innovative grant will allow us to capture and make discoverable essential digital resources in many areas ranging from ancient Egypt to contemporary art.”

The Frick Collection is the administrator of the grant, with Deborah Kempe as Principal Investigator. Learn more about the project from an interview of NYARC leaders in The Signal, the digital preservation blog of the Library of Congress.