Conference schedule subject to change.  Check back regularly for the latest schedule and details about conference events.
Conference questions  ?  ---  contact Steven Kowalik, VP for Conference Program
Registration questions ?  ---- contact Stephanie Beene, Secretary

Online registration is now closed.
On-site registration begins Tuesday, March 10th at 6:00pm.

Sign up or log in to bookmark your favorites and sync them to your phone or calendar.

Session [clear filter]
Wednesday, March 11


Session 1: Engaging New Technologies
Ryan Brubacher, Occidental College, Los Angeles, CA
Sarah Christensen, University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign, IL

Krystal Boehlert, J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA
Molly Schoen, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
John Trendler, Scripps College, Claremont, CA
Beth Wodnick, Princeton University, NJ

Trying to keep up with all of the new and emerging technologies is daunting. Successfully implementing new technologies to increase efficiency and workplace fun can be an even bigger commitment.
This popular fast-paced, lightning talk style session returns with demonstrations of a rich variety of new technologies, while emphasizing concrete examples that show engagement in professional contexts. Utilizing the expertise of energetic, tech-savvy presenters, this session will introduce new tools as well as creative uses of more established technologies, demystifying them and empowering you to further investigate on your own. You’ll leave the session thinking of ways to introduce and encourage use of new technologies among faculty, colleagues and patrons, as well as in your own work environment.

Endorsed by the Education Committee.

avatar for Gallery Systems

Gallery Systems

Gallery Systems provides collections and media management software and services for visual resource libraries and museums of any size or type. Our powerful, easy-to-use solutions organize and manage information and publish content from the database to the Web. Our EmbARK application... Read More →

Wednesday March 11, 2015 1:35pm - 2:55pm
Confluence C Room, Mezzanine Level, Third Floor The Westin Denver Downtown, 1672 Lawrence Street • Denver, CO


Session 2: Visual Literacy (Part 1)
MODERATOR: Mark Pompelia, Rhode Island School of Design

Vicky Brown, University of Oxford, UK
Jenny Godfrey, Cardiff Metropolitan University, UK
Jillian Slater, University of Dayton / Dayton, Ohio   
Rachel Wen-Paloutzian, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, CA   

Following the popular Visual Literacy Case Studies session that premiered at the 2012 annual conference and continued in 2013, this session follows that same purpose while expanding the definition of “visual literacy”.   As background, a term first coined in 1969, visual literacy “is a set of abilities that enables an individual to effectively find, interpret, evaluate, use, and create images and visual media.  Visual literacy skills equip a learner to understand and analyze the contextual, cultural, ethical, aesthetic, intellectual, and technical components involved in the production and use of visual materials.   A visually literate individual is both a critical consumer of visual media and a competent contributor to a body of shared knowledge and culture” (Association of College and Research Libraries, “Visual Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education).   This year’s projects include re-imagining one of the nation’s largest postcard collections through creative instruction design, an exhibition of faith-based photography that poses difficult challenges to viewer interpretation, and two projects in the UK to encourage first-year art student research in areas outside their usual subject areas and an effort to have diverse faculty introduce images into their teaching, practice, and research.

avatar for Fotosearch Stock Photography

Fotosearch Stock Photography

For over 20 years Fotosearch has provided high-quality images to creative professionals for use in their designs and presentations.  We bring together thousands of photographers, illustrators, and videographers to provide "The World's Stock Photography at One Web Site."™

Wednesday March 11, 2015 1:35pm - 2:55pm
Confluence A & B Rooms, Mezzanine Level, Third Floor The Westin Denver Downtown, 1672 Lawrence Street • Denver, CO


Session 3: 24 x 7 at VRA 2015
Liz Gushee, Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas at Austin
Elaine Paul, University of Colorado Boulder
Betha Whitlow, Washington University in Saint Louis, Saint Louis, MO

MODERATOR: Liz Gushee, Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas at Austin

Mary Alexander, University of Alabama: From Metadata Librarian to Metadata Consultant
Grace Barth, James Madison University: Redesigning VRC Spaces for the 21st Century
Vicky Brown, Oxford University
: A VRP Abroad, or How International is the VRA?
Jen Green, Plymouth State University
: A Campus-Wide Digital Collections Management Training Program
Macie Hall, Johns Hopkins University: Tell it Like a Story
Karen Kessel, Sonoma State University: Visual Literacy in a Nutshell (or in 7 minutes)
Chris Strasbaugh, Vanderbilt University: Interactive Geocaching the Outdoor Sculpture of Vanderbilt University
Marsha Taichman, Cornell University: Make it Work: 7 Suggestions for Good Website Design

If you believe that it’s not just what you say, but how you say it, come join us for 24x7 at VRA 2015! Fast-paced like Pecha Kuchas or Lightning Talks, 24x7 presentations are 7 minutes long and consist of no more than 24 presentation slides each. Pack eight of these into little more than an hour, with time for lively discussion, and we’ve got a recipe for a session that will be interactive, dynamic AND highly informative. Our speakers will be covering topics that represent the impressive range of our profession, including: training across disciplines, narrative and visualization in pedagogy, visual literacy, interactive geocaching, smart web design, redesigning facilities, community building, and evolving professional roles. To top it all off, expect a finale filled with Q & A and interactivity. We hope you’ll join us for 24 X 7 at VRA: a session that’s promises to be packed with action from start to finish!

Wednesday March 11, 2015 3:05pm - 4:25pm
Confluence A & B Rooms, Mezzanine Level, Third Floor The Westin Denver Downtown, 1672 Lawrence Street • Denver, CO
Thursday, March 12


Session 4: Cataloging Round-Up
MODERATOR: Hannah Marshall, Cornell University

Ian McDermott, Artstor
"A Challenging Treasure: The D. James Dee Archive"

Tom Riedel, Regis University, Denver, CO
"Dangerous Crosswalk: Shepherding the Regis University Santo Collection to the other side"

Kristen Schuster, University of Missouri Columbia
     Presented by Sarah Gillis, Worcester Art Museum, MA
"Image Access and Use in the Digital Edition of Vetusta Monumenta"

Heather Seneff, University of Denver, CO
"Using the Getty Vocabularies as Linked Open Data in a Cataloging Tool for an Academic Teaching Collection: Case Study at the University of Denver"

This session presents four case studies that address the myriad challenges posed by cataloging and metadata for image collections - from standards, workflow, and assessment to the application of new technologies and the tension between best practice and adapting to the platform-at-hand, this session will weigh in on metadata in theory, practice, and development.  The presenters will reflect on completed, ongoing and barely-begun projects, discussing their plans for and experiences with open source tools, crowd-sourcing, consortia, Resource Description Framework (RDF), linked open data, digital asset management systems, and a wide range of metadata schema.  The projects discussed vary in scale and content, each offering a unique and valuable takeaway.

Thursday March 12, 2015 10:35am - 11:55am
Confluence A & B Rooms, Mezzanine Level, Third Floor The Westin Denver Downtown, 1672 Lawrence Street • Denver, CO


Session 5: What Do We Do With All These Slides? Case Studies
ORGANIZER:  Dawn Feavyour, Rollins College, Winter Park, FL
MODERATOR:  Maureen Burns, IMAGinED Consulting, CA

Maureen Burns, IMAGinED Consulting, CA
Dawn Feavyour, Rollins College, Winter Park, FL
Karen Kessel, Sonoma State University, CA
Randi Millman-Brown, Ithaca College, NY
Andrea Schuler, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA
Marsha Taichman, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

"What do we do with all these slides?" is a question frequently encountered by VRA members during the last several years. Various case studies, representing different scenarios, stages, processes and outcomes, will address this question, offering suggestions that may include archiving, digitizing, disposing, and/or recycling of 35 mm slides, in addition to ideas for re-purposing the spaces left behind by slide collections.

 Endorsed by the Education Committee

avatar for Scholars Resource

Scholars Resource

Scholars Resource offers high quality digital images for teaching at educational institutions. We believe that when you license to own the images critical to your curriculum, you are secure in the knowledge that your program/courses will continue and grow, regardless of what might... Read More →

Thursday March 12, 2015 10:35am - 11:55am
Confluence C Room, Mezzanine Level, Third Floor The Westin Denver Downtown, 1672 Lawrence Street • Denver, CO


Session 6: Focus on National Park Service Digital Asset Management
MODERATOR: Liz Gushee, Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas at Austin

Chris Dietrich, National Park Service
“Get in the Picture:  Involving Everyone in Digital Photo Management”
Christie McDonald, National Park Service
“NPS Focus – A National Park Service Digital Asset Management System”
Timothy Barnhart, National Park Service
“Review of the National Park Service Digital Asset Archive & Sharing System (NPS Focus) Emphasizing Metadata Issues”

The National Park Service is a large federal agency with a workforce that is geographically distributed and composed of professionals from a wide range of disciplines.  Managing and sharing digital assets ranging from still and moving image to text to geospatial data involves a coordination of internal processes and purpose-built tools.  The three presenters in this session will discuss the program within the NPS to promote institution-wide standardized image management.  They will also present and demonstrate NPS Focus, the repository built to manage NPS’s digital assets with support for the use of embedded metadata, metadata harvesting, and more.

Thursday March 12, 2015 1:35pm - 2:55pm
Confluence A & B Rooms, Mezzanine Level, Third Floor The Westin Denver Downtown, 1672 Lawrence Street • Denver, CO


Session 7: Archives Round-Up
MODERATOR: Jason Miller, College of Environmental Design, University of California, Berkeley


Jasmine Burns, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Leah Rios, University of Arizona
"The Norman McGrath Archive: Developing a Processing Plan for a Mixed Media Photographic Archive at the Library of Congress"

Michael Dulock, University of Colorado at Boulder
"Reusing Legacy Metadata for Digital Collections: Colorado Coal Collection Case Study"

Sarah Gillis, Worcester Art Museum, MA
"Workflows with Embedded Metadata to Sustain a Museum's Visual Archive"

Cultural materials are increasingly managed, accessed, presented, and stored digitally ­
regardless of whether the institution holding them is characterized as an Archives, a
Library, or a Visual Resources Collection. In working with digitized analog materials and
data, the traditional distinctions between formerly distinct institution types are breaking
down as challenges arise and approaches are taken to handling digital material.

This session presents three approaches to challenges faced by cultural institutions
managing both analog and digital image materials and data within their collections. Topics
to be touched on include: processing large collections, cooperation and collaboration
between archivists and librarians, legacy metadata preservation, management of digital
surrogates, embedded metadata, archival workflows, and more.

Thursday March 12, 2015 1:35pm - 2:55pm
Confluence C Room, Mezzanine Level, Third Floor The Westin Denver Downtown, 1672 Lawrence Street • Denver, CO


Session 8: VR Community Copyright Questions Answered
ORGANIZER:  Bridget Madden, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL


Lael Ensor, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore
Cara Hirsch, Attorney
Bridget Madden, University of Chicago
Molly Tighe, Chatham University, Pittsburgh

In preparation for the 2015 Conference of the Visual Resources Association, the Intellectual Property Rights Committee respectfully requests comment from the community about questions surrounding intellectual property rights issues in the visual resouces sphere.  Please help by completing a quick VR Community Copyright Survey.

The survey's responses will be reviewed to reveal salient concerns or uncertainties which will be addressed in the conference session: VR Community Copyright Questions Answered.

Please note that the information in this panel is being provided for general informational purposes and should not be interpreted as formal legal advice.

avatar for Wölff: Art at your fingertips

Wölff: Art at your fingertips

Art at your fingertips Say goodbye to clunky corporate software. Discover, organize, and present works of art in high resolution with the stroke of a finger.

Thursday March 12, 2015 3:05pm - 4:25pm
Confluence A & B Rooms, Mezzanine Level, Third Floor The Westin Denver Downtown, 1672 Lawrence Street • Denver, CO


Session 9: “If you build it, they will come.”...but will they come back? Supporting user-friendly online resources with usability testing
ORGANIZER / MODERATOR:  Jen Green, Plymouth State University, NH

Christin Chenard, Plymouth State University, NH
Melanie Clark, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX
John Trendler, Scripps College, Claremont, CA

Building a digital resource collection for your department or institution is one major step towards providing access to rich online resources, but how do you ensure that your resource makes your users happy rather than frustrated, or even angry? Ask them! There are many reasons why gathering user feedback is often an afterthought to the process of creating and launching a digital platform, but it does not have to be. Any time is a good time for usability testing, although the sooner you know what’s wrong, the sooner you can fix it to accommodate your users’ needs. In this session you will learn about a variety of approaches to usability testing addressing a variety of stages within the process including planning, implementation, interpreting result, responding to results, and repetition. Be prepared to walk away with tangible ideas that you can implement right away at your home institution.

avatar for Public Art Archive

Public Art Archive

The Public Art Archive™ (www.PublicArtArchive.org™) is both a project and “The Archive™” database. The PAA project is a national effort to increase public awareness and stewardship of public artworks, including “The Archive” database, a Tumblr blog titled “Find, K... Read More →

Thursday March 12, 2015 3:05pm - 4:25pm
Confluence C Room, Mezzanine Level, Third Floor The Westin Denver Downtown, 1672 Lawrence Street • Denver, CO
Friday, March 13


Session 10: Visual Literacy (Part 2) & Visualization
MODERATOR: Jacqueline Spafford, University of California, Santa Barbara


Stephanie Beene, Lewis & Clark College, Portland, OR
Christine Malinowski, MIT Libraries, Cambridge, MA
Leigh Garrett, University for the Creative Arts, UK
Jennifer Stevenson, University of Milwaukee, WS

Methodological approaches to teaching and applying visual literacy have evolved exponentially in recent years, with discussions around image interpretation rapidly expanding to address new and more diverse challenges, audiences, and technological innovations. The implementation of measurement tools and standards is, at best, a moving target, requiring inventive and fluid strategies.  Visual literacy teaching and use practices bridge new disciplines, from Anthropology and Sociology to Physics and Biology.  This rapidly changing landscape has further invigorated the dialog and generated exciting advances. 

This session aims to shed light on both hurdles and innovations to visual literacy.  There will be three approaches to visual literacy as it appears in very different environments, but each presentation seeks to establish meaningful ways to analyze varied components of visual materials based on specific audiences.   The director of the Visual Arts Data Service at the University for the Creative Arts will present research on data management practice as applied to the visual arts.   A researcher and archivist will explain how a visual information retrieval system could be implemented in archives, and how it differs from text-based searching.  A collaborative team from Lewis & Clark, a small liberal arts college, will discuss case studies from a number of visual literacy workshops designed for different disciplines and levels.

avatar for Archivision


The Archivision Research Library is currently comprised of 78,000 professional, high quality images covering architecture, urban design, archaeological sites, landscapes, gardens, and works of art in public places. The Library is intended for scholarship and teaching in architecture... Read More →

Friday March 13, 2015 10:35am - 11:55am
Confluence A & B Rooms, Mezzanine Level, Third Floor The Westin Denver Downtown, 1672 Lawrence Street • Denver, CO


Session 11: Crowdsourcing your cultural heritage collections: considerations when choosing a platform
ORGANIZER / MODERATOR: Trish Rose-Sandler, Missouri Botanical Garden, St Louis, MO


Robert Guralnick, University of Florida
"The experience of the Zooniverse platform in transcribing specimen images, labels and ledgers from museum collections"

Trish Rose-Sandler, Missouri Botanical Garden
"Flickr as both an image sharing and crowdsourcing platform: the Biodiversity Heritage Library experience"

Gaurav Vaidya, Graduate Student, University of Colorado, Boulder
"Describing natural history illustrations in the Art of Life project via the Wikipedia Commons platform"

Crowdsourcing as a method for gathering and transcribing information about cultural heritage objects has been used effectively in improving access to these collections for the past decade. Large numbers of the public can be harnessed in accomplishing a task too large for institutional staffing to complete. There are numerous free or low cost crowdsourcing platforms from which to choose but institutions would be wise to take into consideration issues of metadata interoperability between platforms when making a selection.

This session will focus on the experience of three crowdsourcing projects from a system interoperability perspective. Institutions who engage in crowdsourcing efforts often push their data out to external crowdsourcing platforms where large numbers of users are already describing and tagging content. Once described it is often desirable to pull those descriptions back into a local repository so that those descriptions can be searched there. There are many issues to take into consideration when choosing a crowdsourcing platform, particularly in the area of data interoperability between systems. Data standards can help with this but there are other factors to take into account. The speakers will represent three use cases of crowdsourcing initiatives and lessons learned.

Friday March 13, 2015 10:35am - 11:55am
Confluence C Room, Mezzanine Level, Third Floor The Westin Denver Downtown, 1672 Lawrence Street • Denver, CO


Session 12: Cultural Heritage in a Computational Environment: Making the Digital Humanities Visual
Jenni Rodda, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University
John Taormina, Duke University, Durham, NC

MODERATOR:  Jenni Rodda, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University

Stephanie Beene, Lewis & Clark College

"Visual Resources in a Digital World: Pedagogical Practices in the Digital Humanities, Archives, and Liberal Arts"

Siân Evans, Artstor
Erin McCall, Artstor
“The Big Picture: Visualizing Data in Your Visual Resources Collections”

Andrea Schuler, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Michael Toler, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
“The Challenge of Digital Humanities: Decisions in the Rebuilding of Archnet and the Building of the Disaster Resilient Design Archive”

Chris Strasbaugh, Vanderbilt University
“Harnessing a Linked-Open World: Integrating Cross-Discipline Content to Support Digital Humanities”

According to the UCLA Center for Digital Humanities: “Digital Humanities interprets the cultural and social impact of new media and information technologies—the fundamental components of the new information age—as well as creates and applies these technologies to answer cultural, social, historical, and philological questions, both those traditionally conceived and those only enabled by new technologies.”

Digital Humanities in the cultural heritage environment includes such activities as curating online collections, mining large cultural data sets, data visualization/representational technologies, information retrieval, digital publishing, gaming, multimedia, peer-to-peer collaboration, and GIS and mapping. Art, architecture and archaeology Digital Humanities projects draw on one or many of these components, as well as incorporating content and methodologies from related humanities or, ever more frequently, from natural science and social science disciplines. In this new collaborative, interdisciplinary digital environment, visual resources specialists and librarians work side-by-side with faculty and students to develop and support Digital Humanities projects for teaching and research.

This session seeks to highlight the issues surrounding the support, development, dissemination, and preservation of Digital Humanities projects in the arts and humanities. Papers will address the issues surrounding the transformational changes brought about by introducing the concepts surrounding Digital Humanities into the arts and humanities disciplines. Papers will engage with issues in digital pedagogy, digital archives, and digital humanities; visualizing data in visual resources collections; decisions surrounding the rebuilding of Archnet and building a disaster resilient archive; and integrating cross-discipline content to support digital humanities via linked data.

Endorsed by the Education Committee.

avatar for Artstor


Artstor is a non-profit digital library that provides more than 1.8 million images of cultural objects and architectural works covering a wide range of historical, political, social, economic, and cultural documentation from prehistory to the present. Artstor collections enable a... Read More →

Friday March 13, 2015 3:05pm - 4:25pm
Confluence A & B Rooms, Mezzanine Level, Third Floor The Westin Denver Downtown, 1672 Lawrence Street • Denver, CO


Session 13: Mapping and Geospatial Projects: Plotting Workflows and Standards
ORGANIZER: Jeannine Keefer, University of Richmond, VA

MODERATOR: Greta Bahnemann, University of Minnesota, MN

Jonathan Cartledge, Smith College, Northampton, MA
Chris Gist, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA
Greta Bahnemann, Mountain West Digital Library Geospatial Task Force representative

Mapping and geospatial projects have flooded all areas of humanities research in recent years; but like most digital projects there are a number of options to consider when it comes to organization, data, and delivery. The array of decisions that face a geospatial project planner are familiar to those already working within the VR community: metadata schema(s), controlled vocabularies, preservation, and delivery.

The collaborative nature of these projects creates exciting outcomes, but also presents some unique challenges. The use of controlled vocabularies for geographic metadata is relatively new practice. The application of this type of metadata varies widely depending on the vocabulary and standard selected. As we have seen with our institutional image databases, data migration and digital preservation concerns also need to be considered. The organization of data and the underlying data integrity are two important factors that will influence how well these projects can be migrated from platform to platform and/or combined with other projects in an institutional repository.

Friday March 13, 2015 3:05pm - 4:25pm
Confluence C Room, Mezzanine Level, Third Floor The Westin Denver Downtown, 1672 Lawrence Street • Denver, CO
Saturday, March 14


Session 14: Rights & Reproductions: The Handbook for Cultural Institutions
ORGANIZER / MODERATOR: Anne Young, Indianapolis Museum of Art

John ffrench, Yale University Art Gallery
Deborah Wythe, Brooklyn Museum
Anne Young, Indianapolis Museum of Art

Currently, there is no single reference for established rights and reproductions or permissions specialists or professionals new to the field. The forthcoming publication, Rights & Reproductions: The Handbook for Cultural Institutions, will be the first comprehensive resource to focus solely on the rights and reproductions field. It will be co-published by the Indianapolis Museum of Art and The American Alliance of Museums Press and has an anticipated publication date of July 2015. With intellectual property laws and rights and reproductions methodologies ever-changing with the development of new technologies, this digital publication, produced using the Online Scholarly Catalogue Initiative (OSCI) Toolkit platform, will be a living document that can be updated to stay current with trends and best practices. As recent discussions in the field center around fair use, open access, and reproduction fees for scholarly publications, the ability to add content, reference papers, conference presentations, and court cases to the handbook will be vital. Rights & Reproductions: The Handbook for Cultural Institutions boasts a selection of contributors ranging from rights and reproductions specialists in museums and libraries, to intellectual property lawyers, and collection specialists who each bring a unique expertise and knowledge of the field to this publication. Additionally, a panel of lawyers specializing in intellectual property will review the content prior to its release. This presentation, led by three of the contributors, will introduce attendees to the upcoming publication by sampling the early preview chapters.

Saturday March 14, 2015 9:05am - 10:25am
Confluence C Room, Mezzanine Level, Third Floor The Westin Denver Downtown, 1672 Lawrence Street • Denver, CO