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A visual arts perspective on open access institutional repositories

By Jacqueline Cooke


Open access digital repositories now enable researchers to communicate their research output by means of the WWW, contributing to the ‘culture of abundance’. However, repository development in the visual arts remains undeveloped. In this paper, based on my work on Goldsmiths Research Online in the SHERPA-LEAP project and as a subject librarian for visual cultures, I explore the qualities of research in the visual arts, which affect how we represent it in repositories.\ud \ud What is a visual arts perspective? - Research may be practice-based, documentation may be created specifically for the archive. The research environment extends beyond the university into the art world, the web and media. Visual artists are concerned with representation; context matters. How does the repository act in comparison to other contexts?\ud \ud How do the criteria of the academic research environment i.e. publication, validation, citation, peer review translate into the visual art sector? What constitutes an adequate representation of research? I will show examples of an exhibition, event/performance, lecture, video, installation, database, software and visual work and consider activities such as citation in literature, mimicry and mockery as citation, ephemerality, the online CV, gallery talks, teaching and blogs, with reference specifically to visual and multi-media research practices by researchers from Goldsmiths.\ud \ud Visual arts research produces diverse digital objects, which are often in complex, multimedia formats. What are the technical issues we need to address to enable us to present and preserve these materials? How do the conventions of the repository environment map onto this subject area? How do metadata standards developed in museums and galleries reflect concerns of these different domains? I give examples of the use of generic standards to help with decisions.\ud \ud My conclusion is that work in this area is at an early stage. I advocate a pragmatic approach, backed up with further reflexive research

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