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Dictionary of Australian Artists Online: Transforming Arts Research

TitleDictionary of Australian Artists Online: Transforming Arts Research
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsHellmers, L.
Secondary TitleInternational Cultural Heritage Informatics Meeting - ICHIM07: Proceedings
Conference Start DateOctober 24-26
PublisherArchives & Museum Informatics
Place PublishedToronto, Ontario, Canada
EditorTrant, J., & Bearman D.
Keywordsartists, Australia, indigenous, internet, research infrastructure

Art scholars have long lacked available infrastructure to enhance the quality of their research. The Dictionary of Australian Artists Online aims to fulfil this need, by enabling precise interrogation of a vast body of hitherto disconnected data to discover latent as well as novel patterns, anomalies and intensities in that data. The Dictionary of Australian Artists Online, DAAO, aims to generate and disseminate research on Australian art history via the Internet. At its core is 45 years of primary research, meticulously indexed to reveal detailed information about those involved in the creation of Australia's artistic and national identity. The ability of the DAAO to collect, sort, match and retrieve data will make it an essential tool in visual arts scholarship, where productivity is often hampered by the difficulty of accessing archival materials, out-of-print books and isolated and deprecated datasets. DAAO aligns Australian art research with the American Council of Learned Societies' principles for the development of cyberinfrastructure for the humanities and social sciences. It will significantly transform the way Australian art research is conducted through its capacities to index data, validate, provide interconnectivity, conduct precise searches, and correlate different datasets never before possible in the timeframe. It will bring art to other disciplines, permitting a new level of analysis and reconfiguration through data exchanges with peer infrastructure. It is also sustainable and accessible as a public good. The DAAO also leads the field, fostering online research and researchers through policies and procedures that encourage openness in the production of and accessibility to digital content. The use of open standards and tools is central to the DAAO's sustainability and will ensure that its content is extensible and reusable across and within other digital infrastructure. The DAAO supports the under developed field of Indigenous art scholarship by including Indigenous artists' biographies. Moreover the DAAO has potential as an enabling technology for Australia's Indigenous visual arts and craft sector in meeting the challenges of unethical conduct, sustainability and further developing international markets. The Dictionary of Australian Artists Online will go public in 2007. The first public version of the DAAO will contain over 7,000 biographies, the functionality to conduct complex searches and submit biographies online. The DAAO supports collaborative editorial processes and rigorous double-blind peer review of new research output. Those interested are invited to consider contributing new content, to search and reinterpret data. The project is supported by the Australian Research Council and led by the University of New South Wales. Partners are the University of Sydney, Monash University, the University of Adelaide, the National Library of Australia, the National Gallery of Australia, the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the State Library of New South Wales and the Queensland Art Gallery.