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Saturday, May 3 • 1:00pm - 2:30pm
Retooling Art Reference and Information Services: Collaborative Tools, Strategies, and Models

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Sponsored by Washington Art Library Resources Committee (WALRC)


Sara Snyder, Information Technology Specialist, Archives of American Art
Elizabeth Botten, Archives Specialist, Archives of American Art
Kraig Binkowski Chief Librarian, Yale Center for British Art
Elizabeth Morris Assistant Librarian, Yale Center for British Art
Fran Scott, Director of Library Services, Georgian Court University

Emilee Mathews, Research Librarian for Visual Arts, University of California Irvine

In the perennial struggle to improve library collections, policies, and services with rapidly changing user needs, the reference transaction is a powerful encounter that can be mined for data to improve, streamline, and innovate existing practices. The papers below demonstrate ways that each speaker has capitalized on this interaction to make a positive impact on their institution’s relationship with its constituency.

Elizabeth Botten and Sara Snyder of the Archives of American Art have created an innovative program to improve their institution's digital collections interface. By retooling real-life reference questions into tasks for web-usability testing, they have devised a practical, low-budget methodology that informs the Archives’ design and information architecture. This strategy has forged a close collaboration between reference, processing archivists and information technology, and has bolstered the belief that supporting researchers is everyone’s job.

The Yale Center for British Art’s Kraig Binkowski and Elizabeth Morris have created an innovative and powerful reference tool with the creation of comprehensive, object-focused bibliographies for their museum’s permanent collections. Culled from contemporary literature and historical documents and created with the collaboration of several museum departments, these tools enhances the on-site and online research experience for both the general public and scholars.

Fran Scott, formerly Manager of the Architecture Library and Reference and Instruction Services at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute discusses the successes and challenges of the implementation of a new reference model. Created to be on-call as well as offer tiered service, the objective of this new model was to free up desk time for new projects and the required collaboration of staff and librarians outside of the reference and instruction services department.

Together, these papers provide guidance and inspiration to think critically about leveraging and promoting user empowerment in the art library across a broad spectrum of museum, academic, and art and design school libraries serving a wide variety of users and needs.

Saturday May 3, 2014 1:00pm - 2:30pm EDT
Room: McPherson Square Grand Hyatt 1000 H Street NW, Washington DC 20001

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