Visual Resources Management in Cultural Institutions

Authored by: Jacqueline Allen , Marcia K. Stein

Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science, Fourth Edition

Print publication date:  November  2017
Online publication date:  November  2017

Print ISBN: 9781466552593
eBook ISBN: 9781315116143
Adobe ISBN:


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Visual resources collections play a vital, yet virtually invisible, role in the life of a museum. They exist to support the mission of their institution through dissemination of the accurate reproduction of works in the collection as well as being the central repository for images acquired for publications and exhibitions. This entry will primarily discuss the history, collections, organization, and professional protocols of art museum visual resources collections in the United States, realizing that the scope of collections and activities of those entrusted with them can be generalized to any cultural institution’s needs. It seeks to highlight how collections are built from various sources and the skills and knowledge a manager of those collections must possess to effectively carry out their duties. An extensive recommended reading list is included to point the reader to standard literature for a deeper understanding of important aspects of managing visual collections. An emphasis is placed on understanding issues with digital image formats, rather than film, since most collections are shifting workflows and staffing to accommodate digital formats. Issues surrounding the preservation and dispersal of film-based collections will also be addressed.

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