Catalogs, Metadata, and Databases (Part I)

February 9, 2022 in Manuscript Studies, Research Group Speaks (The Series), Uncategorized

Card Division in the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. Photograph circa 1900-1920. Image Public Domain.

The Research Group Speaks
Episode 6

Catalogs, Metadata, and Databases (Part I)
A Roundtable

19 February 2022

[Posted on 9 February 2022, with updates, now with the accomplishment of the event.]

By special request, a roundtable discussion aims to consider challenges and opportunities encountered in making, and using, catalogs and databases — with a focus especially on bibliographical and manuscript materials. This aim flows from the plan to hold a lunch at the Index of Medieval Art at Princeton University during our 2020 Spring Symposium (which had to be cancelled), to bring together participants engaged with such issues, from the Index of Medieval Art, the BASIRA Project, the Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies, and elsewhere.

Florence, Galleria degli Uffizi, Anonymous, Still Life of an Illuminated Book, German School, 15th century. Oil on Wood. Opened book with fanned pages. Image via Wikimedia, Public Domain.

Florence, Galleria degli Uffizi, Anonymous, Still Life of an Illuminated Book, German School, 15th century. Image Public Domain.

As the next episode in the online series of webinars, workshops, and other meetings wherein The Research Group Speaks, the February 2022 Roundtable  explores challenges and opportunities for the catalogs, metadata, and databases, the characteristics of the materials which these structures seek to address, and some case studies.  Examples include the BASIRA Project on “Books as Symbols in Renaissance Art”, the Index of Medieval Art Database, Digital Scriptorium 2.0, the Pinakes/Πίνακες Database of Greek Texts and Manuscripts, and approaches to cataloging collections or selected source materials (such as artists’ books).

Speakers and Respondents include Barbara Williams Ellertson, Jessica L. Savage, Linde M. Brocato, Lynn Ransom, Katharine Chandler, Georgi Parpulov, Howard German, and David Porreca.  Subjects for consideration include “Standards and Vocabularies in Art-History Cataloging”, “Labelling, Way-finding, and Meaning”, “About ‘Aboutness’ “, “Teaching Cataloguing Today”, “The Pinakes Database”, “Digital Scriptorium 2.0:  Manuscript Description in a Linked Open Data Context”, and more.  See the Program below.

We gather perspectives from those who make, and those who use, such resources.

Preparations for the roundtable offer ‘Handouts’ in online format.

1) Below here:

  • a preliminary list of Questions for discussion at the roundtable and beyond, with a view also to planning further sessions on these subjects
  • an announcement about Future Plans, as Some Next Steps, for further sessions on these and related subjects.

2) Also, as an individual webpage:

The roundtable is designed to compare notes, formulate questions, express wishes, and plan further sessions.  For example, we prepare sessions on “Catalogs, Metadata, and Databases, Continued“, for the pair of Spring and Autumn Symposia on “Structures of Knowledge” and “Supports for Knowledge”.  They belong to one of the overarching themes for RGME activities in 2022:  “Structured Knowledge“.

We welcome advice, suggestions, and contributions.

Read the rest of this entry →