Michigan State University

Visual Resource Library (VRL)

Description

The Visual Resources Library has supported instruction and research in the Department of Art, Art History, and Design since the early twentieth century, originally as an archive of analog materials (35mm slides, lantern slides, photographic plates, and VHS tapes). In the past decade, the focus of the unit has switched to digital materials, primarily raster images, but also a growing collection of video, audio, and other multimedia (textual and numerical data are not a focus of the collection, except within the context of metadata).

The main services of the unit are to provide faculty and students (both graduate and undergraduate) with visual materials, and the corresponding tools and support, needed to facilitate teaching and research of visual art. The Visual Resources Library's online media database and software tools allow search, retrieval, and organization of media, as well as the capability of users to create their own media groupings, presentations, and collections, based on images already contained within the collection, or by uploading their own images and metadata. Additionally, the unit provides cataloging, consulting, digitization, reformatting, photographic and printing services, and some hardware/equipment support.

Service Areas

  • Research Data Planning & Design
  • Data Collection
  • Short Term Data Storage & File Sharing
  • Data Publishing & Reuse

Target Clientele

  • Faculty
  • Graduate Students
  • Undergraduate Students

Web Address

http://www.art.msu.edu/content/visual-resource-library

Contact

Visual Resources Library
Department of Art, Art History, and Design
Kresge Art Center, Room 113
600 Auditorium Rd
East Lansing, MI 48824

Alex Nichols

Description of Research Data Support Services

Research Data Planning & Design

  • Research Design: advise on digitization/photographic practices and standards, equipment specification and selection, and suggested metadata schemes.
  • Cost Sharing: the majority of our users are within the Department of Art, Art History, and Design, however in some cases there may be the ability to shared project costs/resources with other units with shared interests/goals.

Data Collection

  • For photography: consulting regarding imaging practices, equipment, etc.

Short Term Data Storage & File Sharing

  • Backup Policy: we keep master images and metadata on a local RAID 1 file server with limited access. We make backups of metadata daily, weekly, and monthly on local hard drives (monthly backups are kept for at least a year). Our online access database (which includes access copies of the same material) is on a web server backed up to tape by ATS.
  • Storage Quota: none
  • Maximum retention period: we intend to maintain the majority of our holdings indefinitely; as long as they may have some value to our users. Many of our analog materials are decades old.
  • Security and Access Policies: most of our materials are available to anyone within the MSU community (faculty, staff, students). Most of our material lacks security or privacy concerns, per se -- copyright issues are the primary concern in restriction of access.
  • File Sharing: see also options for web hosting under Data Publishing & Reuse

Data Study & Analysis

  • Data manipulation: we provide digitization/scanning/reformatting services, some types of digital image processing, and/or reformatting metadata to meet specified standards.

Data Publishing & Reuse

  • Web access / hosting: our digital collections are hosted online in our MDID (Madison Digital Image Database) installation. This includes the capability for end users to upload their own images and metadata, which can then be mixed with our main collections, or make use of online sharing, organization, and presentation tools. Additionally, MDID allows the potential for sharing of data collections between institutions.
  • Intellectual property assistance (copyright, licensing, patenting, trademark): limited.
  • Metadata assistance: we will create VRA Core (usually also mapped to Dublin Core) metadata records from unformatted or loosely formatted user-provided data.
  • Database development, management, or hosting: only within the context of an MDID collection, or inclusion within our main collections.

Long Term Data Storage

  • Backup policy: we keep master images and metadata on a local RAID 1 file server with limited access. We make backups of metadata daily, weekly, and monthly on local hard drives (monthly backups are kept for at least a year). Our online access database (which includes access copies of the same material) is on a web server backed up to tape by ATS.
  • Maximum retention period: we intend to maintain the majority of our holdings indefinitely -- as long as they may have some value to our users. Many of our analog materials are decades old.
  • Security & access policies: ost of our materials are available to anyone within the MSU community (faculty, staff, students). Most of our material lacks security or privacy concerns, per se -- copyright issues are the primary issue in restriction of access.
  • Archiving and curation services: we have been through many cycles of migration, preservation, and curation over the history of the unit. Photographic plates, to lantern slides, to 35mm slides, to digital images; reformatting, restoring, processing, replacing, or discarding materials and metadata as needed along the way. In general, we don't attempt to archive materials in their original form indefinitely, instead focusing on converting or updating materials to the most useful state for the present.
  • Other: a majority of our data is kept indefinitely in support of the broad educational and research interests of our users. For example, if a faculty member brings us a set of images they collected for a research project, we may provide whatever short term services they require (reformatting, processing, cataloging, hosting, etc.), but they may be ultimately folded into our main image collection for general future usage at MSU.