Projects 2018/19

Below are the four NDSR Art 2018-2019 hosts and their projects.

Art Institute of Chicago

Location: Chicago, IL
Project: Capturing the Museum Experience: Saving Electronic Media in the Galleries

The Art Institute of Chicago’s Institutional Archives seeks to expand the scope of its digital preservation practices to represent the total museum experience. Born-digital media, including gallery interactives, audio tours, exhibition videos, visitor apps, and other media developed by the museum, are part of this experience. If the institution does not immediately address saving these born-digital materials there is the potential for a considerable loss. Not only will the information contained by these files be lost but the record of what museum visitors saw, heard, and interacted with will disappear.

This residency will study, develop, and implement a plan for preserving born digital documentation of the total art museum experience, including permanent collections, special exhibitions, real and virtual visitor engagement and interaction, lectures, and performances and events.

Using established archive policies and digital repository tools for museum records, the resident will explore what should be collected and retained for both preservation and future access, and drafting policies and procedures for implementation.

Final ReportNDSR Art Resident Molly Szymanski

Maryland Institute College of Art

Location: Baltimore, MD
Project: Digital Archiving Non-Traditional Art and Design Theses Work

The NDSR Art Resident will research the current landscape and help define best practices for collecting, preserving, and providing access to art and design Master’s theses. MICA’s Decker Library began accepting and preserving born-digital theses material in 2015. With the increasing amount of students who submit high-resolution digital files made in creative software, such as still images, moving images, graphics files, and interactive media in addition to their PDF thesis, this is the right time to reconsider the methods in which the library handles Master’s Theses.

Students and researchers recognize that flattened images and stills embedded in PDFs are no longer a good substitute for the work. The NDSR resident will investigate this problem and provide parity between the depths of information shared through textual theses to those which are complex media.

This project will culminate in a document that will be shared freely online as a model for other libraries to follow. The resident will develop a new model for the collection, long-term preservation, and access of complex digital objects as part of art and design theses work that can be implemented at MICA and beyond.

Final ReportNDSR Art Cristina Fontánez Rodríguez

Small Data Industries

Location: Brooklyn, NY
Project: Something Old, Something New: Born-digital Artist’s Materials in the Archive and the Studio

Small Data Industries will provide an NDSR Art resident with a comprehensive mentorship and training experience in the material connoisseurship of time-based media art. This hybrid project will immerse a resident in two parallel initiatives at Small Data Industries:  1) working with two at-risk archives of born-digital artist materials 2) hands-on assistance to working artist studios, their galleries, and collectors.

First, the resident will lead efforts on the inventory and stabilization of obsolete born-digital materials in highly at-risk artist archives. Both archives contain large amounts of obsolete digital media carriers (floppy disks of varying sizes and formats, optical media, Zip disks, Syquest, various shapes and sizes of hard drives, and more). This work will provide the resident with key training in the handling and recovery of obsolete media carriers, as well as digital forensics techniques.

Second, the resident will offer conservation service and support to working artist studios, their galleries, and collectors. This work will provide the resident with an in-depth understanding of the materials used today by contemporary artists, the processes by which works are effectively prepared for the collection, as well as the conservation issues that arise after the works have been collected. They will gain an insider’s perspective on studio practice, and the needs and behaviors of galleries and collectors.

Final ReportNDSR Art Resident Rachel M. Ward

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

Location: New York, NY
Project: Preservation and Access of Digital Audiovisual Assets at the Guggenheim

The National Digital Stewardship resident (NDSR) at the Guggenheim will support the Museum’s initiative to develop a sustainable long-term storage and access plan for its time-based media artworks, archival objects, and associated files such as checksums and technical and descriptive metadata.

Mentored by staff from both Archives and Conservation, and supported by a cross-departmental “Digital Audiovisual Assets Working Group,” the resident will conduct a comprehensive survey of the Museum’s digital repositories and explore ways to improve digital storage infrastructures, ingest workflows, and metadata standards.

Through research and analysis, the resident will compile a report that informs the collaborating departments—Archives, Conservation, and Information Technology—in their careful consideration of practical and financial implications of the Museum’s long-term goal of creating a comprehensive platform for all digital assets that staff and scholars are able to easily search, access, and update.

Final ReportNDSR Art Resident Jean Moylan


NDSR Art is presented by
Philadelphia Museum of Art