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[BKARTS] Artists? Books Online is now available for viewing and use.

Artists' Books Online is now available for viewing and use at <http://www.artistsbooksonline.org>.

The Artists' Books Online project was designed to prototype an online collection of artists' books to make these difficult to access, rare, and often out of print materials available through full page scans of entire books, enhanced metadata, and other bibliographical information. It was begun in 2004 at the University of Virginia by Johanna Drucker, and has been supported by faculty research grants from the Provost and Dean, as well as funds from Delmas Foundation and the NEH. The collection contains about 300 items. A few factoids about the project are listed below.

- The project was begun by Johanna Drucker (JD) to put her own books online and to use them as a prototype (no permissions or access problems, for one thing).

- Titles of JD's of particular interest to readers of ubuweb will be:
From A to Z (1977, produced letterpress from 48 drawers of type using each piece
once and only once to pass on observations about poetry in the Bay Area and the scene);
26 '76 (1976, first typographic book)
Through Light and the Alphabet (1986 pendant to Word Made Flesh)
Prove Before Laying (1990s procedural work)

- The project cost about $85,000 from start to finish. All funds were used for one of the following: including technical consultants on the XML/DTD structure, paying graduate and student staff, paying interns, buying hard drives, and supporting a number of on-site workshops that included librarians, curators, artists, and critics in refining the metadata and format.

- It takes between 20 and 35 hours to put a book into ABsOnline if you count scanning, metadata, and file management and processing. That doesn't count training someone to know something about artists' books.

- The project has several flaws and problems: the metadata structure is too complicated (we followed bibliographical models, probably a mistake) and the opening, not the page is the basic unit of the book (we didn't have scanners big enough to let us work that way and recombining pages into spreads in photoshop was not feasible).

- For now, the project is "done" and no new materials will be added. Funding is over, institutional venues are shifting.

- Many many thanks to Eric Rettberg, Annie Schutte, Kim Tryka, our partners at SAIC (Doro Boehme, Kerri Willette, Susannah Strang), Visual Studies Workshop Press (Tate Shaw), and JAB at Columbia College (Elisabeth Long, Brad Freeman, Karol Shewmaker, Clifton Meador), as well as to the advisory board members and to the terrific staff in the Library at the University of Virginia, without whom none of this would have happened.

Johanna Drucker

NOW ONLINE, The Bonefolder, Vol. 4, No. 2, 2008 at
For all your subscription questions, go to the
Book_Arts-L FAQ and Archive.
See <http://www.philobiblon.com> for full information.

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This page last changed: August 22, 2008