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Publishing The Art Bulletin

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Looking Back to See Ahead

How do we envision the digital future for The Art Bulletin?


In celebration of the centennial year of the first issue in 1913, and building upon the foundations of the "Centennial Anthology" compiled in 2011, now in 2013 we present The Art Bulletin for your consideration of the journal's digital future in light of its publication history. We feature three articles in two different formats (pdf - as originally published - and tablet). You may look at developments of the print journal through an Interactive Timeline in which all Table of Contents are grouped by decade; changes in format and content are noted by year. The publishing platform used here allows further exploration of this information through links, much like a web site, and by tags, which, unlike links and key words, accommodate the visualization of selected themes (such as cost, editorial statements, illustrations) and permit the reader to choose alternate paths through this information (described in this instructional video). Is this the kind of publishing option The Art Bulletin should consider taking advantage of in its digital future? We ask you to explore this site, imagine the possibilities, and let us know your thoughts.


This web publication marks the second centennial celebration of The Art Bulletin, which may rightly claim several beginnings. The celebration in 2011 commemorated the founding of the College Art Association in 1911; for that occasion Natalie “Tally” Boymel Kampen, then Chair of The Art Bulletin Editorial Board, compiled a “Centennial Anthology” for the CAA website of thirty-plus articles from the archive that editorial board members considered most significant and influential. Many of the articles in the anthology coincided with key moments in the intellectual development of the discipline of art history; all reflect the social, structural, and infrastructural development of the journal. Explicit, directed involvement with the formation of the discipline is evident from the very first issues, as has been noted recently in several venues. Participants in the Publications Committee session “Celebrating The Art Bulletin,” organized by Tally Kampen for the 2010 CAA Annual Conference, based their ruminations on the journal's future in the journal's past. In addition, Susan Ball, CAA’s executive director from 1986 to 2006, edited a volume of essays on the history of CAA, The Eye, the Hand, the Mind: 100 Years of the College Art Association (Rutgers University Press, 2011), in which Craig Houser considered the history of The Art Bulletin along with the full slate of CAA’s scholarly publications. Following those projects, it seemed appropriate to explore new possibilities for scholarly publication on the occasion of the journal’s centennial.

In celebration of the centennial year of the first issue of The Art Bulletin in 1913, we feature three articles from the "Centennial Anthology" toward your consideration of the journal’s digital future. “Publishing The Art Bulletin: Past, Present, and Future” presents these articles as archived from the printed pages of the journal, that is, as scans in PDF files (for issues 1913 to 2009, the ones currently accessible via JSTOR), and also as the articles might be read in the more flexible tablet format that is popular now. On this website, you may look back at the development of the print journal through an Interactive Timeline in which all Tables of Contents are grouped by decade; changes in format and content are noted as they occurred. To a great extent, this is an exercise in form and function, tracing some of the ways by which the journal came to take its present form in print for the purposes it serves now, and asking what forms the journal might take to serve the future needs of art-historical inquiry across the discipline as well as beyond disciplinary boundaries. Intersections of form with content, and changes in form and content, are considered here mainly as they reflect the stated concerns of the editors of the journal through the years.

The online publishing platform used here allows further exploration of this information through links, keywords, and tags, which enable the visualization of complex data sets. Tag visualization generates impressionistic and dynamic diagrammatic renderings of categories of information so as to allow the reader to see thematic connections and to strike alternate paths through the year entries of the timeline. All relevant tags are noted at the bottom of the screen for each year entry. You might, for example, decide to explore tags for editorial statements, or other tagged themes noted in timeline entries. Cost has always been a concern, so changes and events associated with cost (subventions, for example, and cost increases for subscriptions) have been tagged, as have illustrations and other aspects of format and content. (For navigation possibilities, see this video.) However you chart your paths through this information, you will sketch alternate histories of intellectual concerns and the more mundane restrictions that have mitigated the aspirations of the journal's editors and readers. Is this example of an open source platform for born-digital publishing the kind of publishing option The Art Bulletin should consider for its digital future?

As the journal of record for the discipline in the United States, The Art Bulletin provides essential services for art-historical scholarship across all fields, with the broad goal of sustaining the discipline. It continues to offer a compendious view of ongoing research at the highest levels and emerging areas of common interest, as well as furnishing a venue for the peer-reviewed articles so essential to tenure and promotion in the academy. How do you imagine the journal might exploit online opportunities while continuing to serve and support the discipline? How might a more robust online presence address current disciplinary needs or problems? No step into the future should be undertaken without concerted consideration by the readers of The Art Bulletin of past developments and current trends in the history of art. We ask you to explore this site, imagine the possibilities, and let us know your thoughts. To submit comments, please click on the comment button at the bottom of the Home page.
Thelma K. Thomas 
Chair, Editorial Board
February 2013

Contributors


Interactive Timeline

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Featured Articles (from the Centennial Anthology)



Ornament


Ananda K. Coomaraswamy


Vol. 21, No. 4 (December 1939) 375-382





About a Type of Islamic Incense Burner

Mehmet Aga-Oglu


Vol. 27, no. 1 (March 1945) 28–45




Imagining Otherness in Ivory: 
African Portrayals of the Portuguese ca. 1492


Suzanne Preston Blier


Vol. 75, no. 3 (September 1993) 375–96


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