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AMICO Logo ARCHIVEArt Museum Image Consortium: enabling educational use of museum multimedia
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AMICO Library User Group Meeting
College Art Association Conference
Chicago, IL
March 1, 2001

From Current Subscribers

Andrea Frank, Boston College*
Anne Whitelaw, University of Alberta*
Henry Pisciotta, Penn State University
Joyce Kubiski, Western Michigan University*
Sheryl Wilhite, Wellesley College*
Wendy Holden, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Christina Updike, James Madison University
*Testbed participants

From Prospective Subscribers

Mishoe Brenneche, University of the South
Christine Stuart, University of California, San Diego
Vickie O'Riordan, University of California, San Diego
Maureen Lasko, University of Chicago
Kathleen Schulz, Raritan Valley Community College (N.J.)
Ann Tsubota, Raritan Valley Community College (N.J.)
Lucy Bowditch, The College of St. Rose
Keith Dills, Cal Poly State University

From Current Members

Sarah Hezel, Albright-Knox Art Gallery
Kathy Walsh-Piper, Dallas Museum of Art
From Prospective Members
John Hagood, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

From Distributors and others

Ricky Erway, RLG
Nancy Harm, Luna Imaging
Robert Panzer, VAGA
Anita Klesch, UK PhD student

Discussion Summary:

Jennifer Trant introduced herself, Peter Walsh, and Kelly Richmond; then, she asked for introductions around the room to determine who was in attendance. J Trant stressed that this was going to be an informal meeting, that it was NOT intended to be a presentation, but rather an exchange of thoughts and ideas amongst colleagues.

J Trant then explained how P Walsh has been contracted to look at the types of schools that subscribe to The AMICO Library, the sorts of art history curriculum these schools teach, and the content in The AMICO Library.

P Walsh briefly summarized his analysis, discussing how he determined that certain holdings in The AMICO Library, due to their particular depth and breadth, could be useful in the particular areas of art historical study, specifically 19th c. European paintings and European Old Master prints, history of American art, and history of photography.

He went on to discuss how the second phase of his contract with AMICO was to then create sample assignments in these areas of strength for The AMICO Library. (Handouts had been provided to the entire group of an example of such assignments.) P Walsh discussed how he tried to create assignments that used traditional "compare and contrast" paradigms, as well as more creative approaches that are available to users of an online database like The AMICO Library, such as an auction metaphor, in which students are to make recommendations about what to purchase and why -- helps students think of how works fit into a broader museum collection, address issues of authenticity and connoisseurship, and an exhibition metaphor where students are asked to express a theme derived from famous quotations through the curation and selection of works for an exhibit.

He explained that much of the approach was aimed at thinking of The AMICO Library not as a slide library but as a "virtual teaching museum" in which all the cases and storerooms were open for the students. Many of the assignments were created to inspire students to start exploring the Library on their own and to play with the contents. Since students also tend to be comfortable with the technology, the hope was also that the assignments would help their teachers understand the potential of the Library, in particular, the teaching advantages to having access to material that was not published, in textbooks, or in slide libraries. J. Trant added that much of the material in the Library was
not available in any other form.

P Walsh then fielded questions. He discussed how The AMICO Library allows users to get into the "back rooms" of museum collections. As he stated because institutions focus on rotating exhibitions, very little of their permanent collections are able to be on display regularly in their museum. By contributing digital documentation of works to The AMICO Library members are able to make these works viewable to this growing educational universe and for users it opens up a whole new world of comparative illustrations and associated works and preliminary material that they probably never had access to.

General discussion ensued. Representatives from current subscribers talked a little about how they were using The AMICO Library at their institution.

Anne Whitelaw, Univ of Alberta, talked about how her colleague, Colleen Skidmore had used The AMICO Library in her Canadian art history class very successfully. Anne was trying to use TAL in a larger survey class. She stated that students did not seem to be interested in looking at works online when it was assigned as an out of class activity and because her class was so large having all students look at images via computers in class was not an option. A Whitelaw seemed to think that there was resistance in using a computer to look things up. The wider group stated that they found the contrary to be true, that most students used only online methods to find information. So, perhaps the problem was lack of clear training of how to find, access, and use The AMICO Library. This could be solved by maybe having a lab session in a computer lab or the library that is required by all students in the first 2 weeks of class, these could be very short session of 30-50 minutes, just providing how you find The AMICO Library on the campus network, quick demos on searching and using notebooks, and then providing them hardcopies about using the images in other applications (could be taken for the How to AMICO for Educators) and how to cite works.

Christina Updike, James Madison University, spoke about how they had created the Madison Digital Image Database which provided several tools for professors to create lectures using their SlideShow Builder, then, professors can download these lectures to local machines and project them in class. Also, students are able to view the lectures. JMU has integrated image holdings of their own and AMICO Library images into a central database from which instructors choose works for their lectures. Instructors are given access to the complete AMICO Library and may select works to be added to the JMU database. C Updike did not indicate if students had full access to The AMICO Library or just the image lecture sets already created by professors.

Another participant asked whether assignments were or would be created around other periods in art, specifically in hers, which was ancient art. P. Walsh explained he had started with the strengths of the Library, which also happened to correspond with areas of his own expertise, but that the plan was to create assignments in all areas. He said another area he was working on was special "subsets" or "galleries" of the Library that were geared to specific subjects or classes, that would make it easier for students and teachers to access the material without doing the legwork of many searches. There was also a discussion about the assignments about copyright and rights issues.

There were some questions about how and what rights are covered for works in The AMICO Library. There were questions about downloading images. There were questions about why member museum participate in AMICO.


In June of 2005, the members of the Art Museum Image Consortium voted to dissolve their collaboration. This site remains online for archival reasons.