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Thursday, March 28 • 11:00am - 12:00pm
Better to Receive?: Approaches to Building, Managing, and Promoting Artist Files Collections

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Artist files have a particularly special place in art libraries. These collections can comprise primary and secondary source material and are often diligently compiled and organized by an archivist, librarian, gallerist, or art historian. Artist files thus blur the line between archival and library material, presenting a unique challenge that shapes how we process and provide access to them. While these collections are extremely valuable to research, they also require a large commitment of time and space that is difficult to meet. When accepting new materials, librarians have to develop creative procedures for processing, description, collection development, outreach, and space planning.

The session aims to provide librarians and archivists who may struggle with maintaining their collections—or those who hope to begin one—with useful tools and strategies. We hope, too, that it will generate more conversation on how we as a community can improve discovery and access for artist files and other collections that straddle the library/archive boundary.

Presenters will discuss case studies from their institutions, detailing specific collection donations that they have accepted into their current artist files. They will explain why these particular donations were accepted and how the uniqueness of the materials impacts how they are processed and accessed. They will highlight the successes and difficulties encountered as well as plans for the future. The last 20 minutes will be devoted to a moderated question and answer session.

Anne Evenhaugen, Head Librarian, Smithsonian American Art and Portrait Gallery Library

“Archive in the Artist Files: The Evans-Tibbs Collection”
Anna Cohen Tomlinson, Assistant Special Collections Librarian, National Gallery of Art Library

“The Changing Shape of an Art Museum Library Pamphlet File”
Karen Stafford, Head of Technical Services, Ryerson & Burnham Libraries, Art Institute of Chicago

“A League of Their Own: The Art Students League Artist Files Collection”
Alexandra Reigle, Reference Librarian, Smithsonian American Art and Portrait Gallery Library

“Looking Forward, Looking Back: Constituent Files and Archival Practice”
Keli Rylance, Head Librarian, Saint Louis Art Museum

Learning Objectives:
  • Provide strategies through case studies on how to process and provide access to Artist Files across institutions.
  • Drive conversation about how we can make access easier to Artist Files as a community (cataloging, metadata, linked open data etc.).
  • Highlight the special and unique nature of Artist files collections and their importance to scholarship and research.

avatar for Anne Evenhaugen

Anne Evenhaugen

Librarian, Smithsonian
Anne is an art librarian, overseeing the administration of the Smithsonian's five art libraries, and the day-to-day activity of the Smithsonian American Art & Portrait Gallery Library branch. She has her hands in wikidata projects as they relate to the Smithsonian's large Art & Artist... Read More →


Alexandra Reigle

Smithsonian American Art and Portrait Gallery Library

Keli Rylance

Tours & Transportation Coordinator
avatar for Karen Stafford

Karen Stafford

Associate Director, Art Institute of Chicago

Anna Cohen Tomlinson

Assistant Special Collections Librarian, National Gallery of Art

Thursday March 28, 2019 11:00am - 12:00pm MDT
Grand America Hotel: Venezia Garden Salon (1st Floor) 555 Main St, Salt Lake City, UT 84111