Talk: Assume that despite your best efforts, it will all eventually break

Examining development and maintenance issues critical in ensuring the longevity of online publications

November 18, 2018 | Catalogue Raisonné Scholars Association | New York

This talk was given as part of the panel “Preparing for Tomorrow - But How? The Future of Online Catalogues Raisonnés”. I took as my starting point, the fundamental question:

Are there best practices for preparing future-proof online publications?

And while in the end, the future and the bet path toward it are far from certain, there are some practical tips and pieces of advice to be had. Like this list culled from the Library of Congress, Columbia University, Stanford University, Princeton, the Smithsonian and other sources:

  • Build for website accessibility
  • Use documented standards-based formats
  • Include a sitemap
  • Make links transparent, and human-readable
  • Implement URL redirects
  • Manage your robots text
  • Declare character encoding
  • Include metadata
  • Consider open licenses
  • Keep assets internal

Panel Description

Online catalogues raisonnés are still a fairly new publishing model. They excite both users and scholars as they allow for instant updates, reach a worldwide audience, and offer a wealth of search functionalities and hyper-links that printed books cannot provide. But they also come with their own challenges. The matter of longevity and preservation is one of them. Will our online projects still be accessible for future generations when current programming languages have become obsolete? Who will be their custodians? What solutions are available for preserving online publications? Are there best practices for preparing a future-proof online catalogue raisonné? This panel brings together experienced professionals who will share their views on electronic scholarly publishing and its future.

Other Speakers/Participants

  • Andrea Theil, Director, Roy Lichtenstein Catalogue Raisonné Project
  • Stephen Bury, Andrew W. Mellon Chief Librarian, Frick Art Reference Library

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