During the last year, Ithaka S+R interviewed more than 70 faculty members, curators, librarians, visual resources professionals, and museum professionals in order to learn how art historians’ research practices are evolving in the digital age. Today, we are pleased to announce the publication of that study’s results: Supporting the Research Practices of Art Historians.

Intended primarily for the museums, libraries, academic departments, and visual resources centers that support research in art history within the U.S., this project focused on five key areas:

1) The emergence of “digital art history,” and how it is diverging from the broader understanding of the digital humanities.
2) The interconnected scholarly communities that support art history, including museums, libraries, and visual resources centers, both within and beyond an art historians home institution.
3) The changes that digitization and online search portals have brought to the process of searching for primary sources, and the limitations of the current discovery environment.
4) The practices art historians employ for managing their large personal collections of digital images.
5) The state of graduate students’ professional training.

Within these five areas, the report makes clear that the needs of art historians can be successfully met only through the collaborative work of many support organizations.  Our findings suggest several opportunities for these organizations to develop new funding, services, tools, and initiatives that will have far-reaching impact on the discipline.
We invite your commentary on the report.  Roger Schonfeld and I will also be speaking at the ARLIS/NA Annual Conference on Friday, May 2, and hope to see you there.