One of the Digital Art History Lab's (DAHL) key initiatives is a series of workshops that introduce researchers and students to digital art history (DAH). These events feature presentations by specialists in the field of DAH or hands-on training in a method, analytical technique, and/or software currently in use by digital humanists and art historians.
All workshops are held from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. in the Small Reading Room of the Frick Art Reference Library, unless otherwise noted. They are free and open to the public, but registration is required. To register, please access the DAHL's calendar of programs. For any additional questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Interrogating the Archive: SQL for Art Historians
Deena Engel and Pepe Karmel, New York University
Friday, November 1, 2019
In this hands-on workshop, participants will learn how to use SQL to extract information from archival data that have been transcribed into tables. The class will be co-taught by Professors Deena Engel from NYU Computer Science and Pepe Karmel from NYU Art History. The workshop will use a data set drawn from Donald Gordon’s Modern Art Exhibitions, 1900–1916 (Prestel, 1974), which reproduces hundreds of rare exhibition catalogs. After explaining how Gordon’s data for the years 1900-1902 were translated into tabular form, we will show participants how to use SQL (Structured Query Language) to ask art historical questions about the data. For instance, which artists were most frequently exhibited, and where? How were artists from different generations represented in different exhibitions? Which institutions organized or hosted exhibitions? What were the different sizes of exhibitions, and do they allow us to distinguish between small gallery shows and larger public surveys? After we explain how to write SQL queries, participants will write and execute their own queries using the provided database. We will also discuss the challenges encountered in tabulating archival data, formulating queries that correspond to meaningful art historical questions, and evaluating selection bias in the data.
Participants are requested to bring their own laptops.
On Wednesday, September 25, 2019, Niko Munz, Former Assistant Curator, Royal Collection Trust, discussed the Trust's online reconstruction of the collection of King Charles I (1660–1649). This initiative features a 3D visualization of Whitehall Palace’s three Privy Lodging Rooms, where the king kept his best-loved and most important paintings.
On Wednesday, June 5, 2019, Sally Webster, Professor Emerita, Lehman College and the Graduate Center, CUNY and David Schwittek, Assistant Professor of Graphic Design and Digital Media, Lehman College, CUNY presented "The Lenox Library Picture Gallery: A Digital Recreation." This website, which documents the Picture Gallery once located on the second floor of the former Lenox Library, can be used as a teaching and research tool for the study of collecting patterns and installation strategies of the post-Civil War, pre-Gilded Age period.
On Friday, March 29, 2019, Paul Messier, Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage, Yale University, presented a workshop outlining digital photography basics that would help art historians to make better make use of existing and emergent tools both in the classroom and for their research.
On Friday, February 1, 2019, George R. Bent, Sidney Gause Childress Professor of the Arts, Washington and Lee University, and Katherine Dau, Class of 2019, Washington and Lee University, presented the Digital Art History project "Florence As It Was: A Digital Reconstruction of the Renaissance City," which aims to reconstruct the Renaissance city as it appeared in the year 1500.
On Wednesday, February 7, 2018, and Wednesday, September 19, 2018, Library staff Louisa Wood Ruby and Samantha Deutch introduced the ARt Exploration Space (ARIES), an interactive image manipulation system that allows for the exploration and organization of digital images in a virtual space.
On Wednesday, May 16 and May 23, 2018, the DAHL hosted a two-part workshop, "Data Transformation and Enrichment with OpenRefine." From basic but powerful data analysis and clean-up to reconciliation with open datasets like Wikidata and the Getty Vocabularies, OpenRefine is a powerful tool for a wide variety of researchers across the spectrum of disciplines. In this workshop series, Ryan Mendenhall, Metadata Librarian at Columbia University, Butler Library, and Assistant Cataloger at the Frick Art Reference Library, and Alex Provo, Project Manager & Digital Production Editor for the Enhanced Networked Monographs project at New York University covered the basic features and functionalities of OpenRefine with a focus on data cleaning and reconciliation. The workshop was designed to serve all levels of practitioners.
On Friday, November 17, 2017, Library staff Debbie Kempe and Sumitra Duncan introduced web archiving. Their presentation surveyed tools for preserving born-digital art research materials and outlined strategies for effectively managing permanent citations.
On Friday, October 27, 2017, Louisa Wood Ruby discussed the advantages of online catalogues raisonnés and introduced various platforms, both open source and proprietary.
On Friday, November 18, 2016, Henrietta Miers, a graduate of Duke University’s new MA in Historical and Cultural Visualization program, presented her thesis project "Sixteenth-Century Ceiling Painting in Venetian Churches at a Time of Religious Reform" and led an introductory workshop on Omeka, an open source web-publishing platform for the online exhibition of digital collections.
On April 8, 2016, Matthew Lincoln, Ph.D., a specialist in digitally-aided analysis, led a workshop on Palladio, a data visualization tool created by Stanford University. Working from a museum dataset, participants learned how to produce exploratory timelines, maps, and networks using this powerful tool.
On March 25, 2016, Andy Eschbacher and Stuart Lynn from Carto, a web-based mapping and data analysis tool, demonstrated how to create interactive, map-based data visualizations that could be easily integrated into digital humanities projects.
On December 11, 2015, Kimon Keramidas, Ph.D., introduced participants to Omeka, a collections management system and web publishing platform that allows one to organize object images and metadata, create digital exhibitions, and make the collection public.
On November 20, 2015, Titia Hulst, Ph.D., introduced Cytoscape, an open source software platform for visualizing networks, to Library researchers and staff. Dr. Hulst also discussed her research on Leo Castelli and the market for American contemporary art, which makes extensive use of this powerful tool.
On November 6, 2015, members of the DAHL presented a broad overview of several software programs currently in use by researchers interested in the field of digital art history. Topics included data scraping (Kimono, Diffbot, and others); network visualization (Cytoscape and Gephi); bibliographic management (Zotero); digital mapping (batchgeo, ArcGIS, and CartoDB); and online exhibitions (Omeka). To demonstrate how art historians can benefit from these tools, the presentation featured several case studies.
On September 24, 2015, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, invited the DAHL to discuss digital tools for research, exhibition design, and management with museum staff.
On April 9, 2015, the DAHL's first workshop was held at New York University's Institute of Fine Arts. The workshop, framed for a graduate student audience, surveyed software programs and analytical techniques useful for dissertation research.