21 October 2006

social art

Last week, Steve and social tagging of art works -- http://steve.museum
Today, crowdsourcing at Apex Art -- http://www.apexart.org

I have been intrigued for some time about the intersection of expert cataloging and social tagging. I've been hearing about Steve at least since the VRA conference this spring in Baltimore. There was a workshop/seminar on the project last week at the Guggenheim. I have now arranged for Michael Jenkins to talk to NYTSL in November. Several of my NYTSL colleagues have expressed strong interest in the topic. http://nytsl.org

This morning, I went to get a ticket for the 9:25 p.m. showing of "Shortbus" at Sunshine and then meandered into SoHo and Tribeca to do a bit of art before coming to Bobst. Both Participant and Canada were closed, probably open at noon. It's frustrating for us gallery goers to have Saturdays such a late, and thereby short, day. Over to Church Street and Apex Art. The card for the new show had been compelling -- simple drawings of animals. The show is curated by Andrea Grover and is called "Phantom captain: art and crowdsourcing." The brochure for the show quotes Jeff Howe from the June 2006 Wired Magazine wherein he "introduced the term crowdsourcing ... to describe a new form of corporate outsourcing to largely amateur pools of volunteer labor that 'create content, solve problems, and even do corporate R & D'." Examples such as EBay where users stock the marketplace and Amazon where users provide the reviews that sell more books. Sounds like social tagging wherein we use untrained catalogers to supply the words that might supply the inroad to a resource.

In a conversation with one of my cataloging colleagues (Diana Greene) last week, we skirted around the value of longterm, constructed subject headings and the sometimes slangy way we describe certain concepts, e.g., Cointelpro, black feminism, coalition building. Sometimes the way we speak of a concept, say "peace activist," conflicts with the way it is dealt with in LCSH. "Peace activist" is a reference from "Pacifist." Diana's concern is that pacifists needn't be peace activists (witness the current writer), and peace activists needn't be pacifists. And LCSH uses "... movements" for groups of activists, e.g., Student movements, Civil rights movements, Antislavery movements.

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