Friday, March 26, 2010

File under Not Good News..

I had begun to use the Getty Art Data Base on my slow progress toward that MFA. Even when I'm not in school, I am a research junkie so this is really bad news. It's even worse for more committed scholars of art history because finding sources can be time consuming, cumbersome and ultimately frustrating because you can't find what you want - even when you know that it's out there, the source material is buried in some inaccessible library or deep within an out of date and unworkable data base.

"Are we about to see the end of visual arts scholarship as we know it?

As reported on several art history-related websites (but not, as far as I've seen, in the mainstream media), one of the most lamentable results of the J. Paul Getty Trust's budgetary cutbacks is the Getty Research Institute's withdrawal of financial support for what it had previously called "one of the most powerful tools at the art historian's disposal"---the Bibliography of the History of Art (BHA), which in 2008 was renamed the International Bibliography of Art (IBA). This research database, indexing art historical records and abstracts and maintained by the Getty, was successor to the International Repertory of the Literature of Art (RILA) and the Répertoire d'Art et d'Archéologie (RAA)."

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Zoomie said...

And it's not as if the Getty folks don't have enough money to keep it up, either. Sheesh!

namastenancy said...

I remember talking to one of the librarians at State who told me how much the ARTstore database cost. I imagine that this is even more expensive and if the Getty is ending it mid-year, will those institutions get a refund? The Getty has more money than a lot of countries and art history is one of the humanities that is in danger of disappearing underneath the current financial crisis. Once it's gone, it's difficult, if not impossible to pull the information back together again. I think that Germany is one of the few countries that still takes art history seriously. At least, most of the job listings that I get via a list-serve are in Germany so maybe one of the German universities can salvage something - but they aren't rolling in money either. Sometimes I do feel like we are living in the New Dark Ages as regards our cultural heritage.