The Following is the Personal Statement I sent to Graduate School Programs in Library Studies in the winter of 1995/1996.
Computers and Telecommunications breathe new life into Librariesand Information Centers, transforming them into "Virtual Libraries". Ibelieve Art Libraries and Art History Slide Libraries would benefitfrom new advances in computer science. Photographic reproductions ofartwork, books, audio and video are the resources of library users inthe fields of the Arts and Art History. Computers will play a centralrole in storing, organizing and retrieving data more efficiently, andin making data more widely accessible, while retaining the high qualityand reliability of traditionally utilized resource materials.
Library automation systems using Graphic User Interface (GUI) arefast becoming favored platforms, liberating users from archaic cardcatalogues and clunky command line interface databases. Dynamicmethods of searching, such as the New York Public Library's new GUInamed "LEO"(Library Entrance On-Line), respond to queries at the point and click ofa mouse. Additionally, documents can be scanned and digitized directlyinto library archives, allowing libraries to give the public remoteaccess to electronic documents without having to access the physicalobjects where they reside (e.g., scanned/digitized books versus realbooks). Technology transforms the physical object in the library intoa more dynamic and versatile electronic resource material. Thefollowing examples explain how digitizing library archives offersinnumerable barrier-breaking methods of use for resource materials. Ishall outline some uses for computers in the Art Libraries and ArtHistory Slide Libraries that serve students and faculty, keeping inmind that the primary resources here are massive collections of images.
I imagine an Art Library or Slide Library where users instantlycall up images and documents at workstations and computer kiosks. Such machines will allow queries of multiple keywords and subjects. The user can download this information for later use. For theeducator, downloaded images projected from Computers networked to acentral image library server will eliminate the use of slides and freethe lecturer to jump to areas that relate to issues that arise inunpredictable free-forum discussion. In addition to being able to makemultiple comparisons, the lecturer can pull up high resolution detailsand display multi-media such as digitized video or audio (forperformances and interviews for example). Virtual reality (VR) canrender sculpture three-dimensionally for viewing at all angles. VRwalk-through animation will allow viewing of architecture and can givea virtual sense of destroyed or distant buildings.
Public access to these resources can be offered by setting up WebServers or File Transfer Protocol Sites (FTP) on the Internet, or bymaking limited or authorized access available to users only on localarea networks or intranets (internal networks) in the library or on theUniversity's server. In addition to local access in libraries, manylibraries may consider a shared-use system in which access is allowedover a wide area network. Such a universal system of shared-use wouldnetwork library resources internationally.
The Art Librarian needs to stay abreast of developments in the useof computers and their usefulness for the maintenance of an efficientinformation center. I believe strongly that the Art Librarian shouldfocus on the utilization of computer technology over his or her domain,because Art History is a field that relies on multi-media, andcomputers as archival tools facilitate superior storage, organization,retrieval and dissemination of these resources.
January 7, 1996