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32nd Annual Charleston Conference Issues in Book and Serial Acquisition
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Thursday, November 8 • 2:00pm - 3:30pm
Can the Exorbitant Cost of Subscriptions to Digital Image Databases Still Be Justified?

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With reduced or flat budgets and a proliferation of high resolution open access digital images, the time is opportune for appraising the necessity of subscriptions to expensive image databases in academic libraries. This talk will draw on a rich set of data drawn from art history courses taught in recent years at the University of Connecticut, both from the presenter, who is an adjunct instructor, and faculty colleagues. The data source is the actual slide lectures used in art history courses, in which all image sources are identifiable. Beginning with a comparison of the availability and quality of open access digital images with that of images in subscription databases, the paper will also draw upon postings to the ARLIS-NA listserv responding to a query about whether art librarians and visual resources curators are considering cancelling costly image database subscriptions. The results of a questionnaire about free vs. licensed-for-a-fee image use (posted on a variety of discussion lists and aimed at librarians and faculty) will also be presented. Equal consideration will be given to the divergent image needs of teaching, which demands high resolution images for lecture presentations, and research, which relies more heavily on scholarly compilations such as the Illustrated Bartsch. Part of the presentation will be interactive, and will include a brief demonstration of techniques for finding open access images on Web. The paper will conclude with a consideration of the evolving role of the art librarian in the academic environment , with its emerging emphasis on locating images for individual users , rather than maintaining repositories of retrievable images.


Michael Young

Art & Design Librarian, University of Connecticut
Michael Young is an art librarian and art historian, who works and teaches at the University of Connecticut. As a librarian who is also a heavy user of the library's collections as a researcher and an instructor in Art History, he approaches image databases and other library resources from a variety of vantage points. | | |

Thursday November 8, 2012 2:00pm - 3:30pm
Courtyard Marriott Outside Cypress Ballroom