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Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the site structured the way it is?

The basic structure Work»Edition»Object is a scholarly convention from bibliographical description. We chose to follow this convention because we think that longterm it will provide a sound intellectual framework for studying artists' books according to the same standards as other literary and artistic objects.

Work: the overarching conceptual project within which a book is conceived (including performances, notes, ideas, other writings etc.).

Edition: the produced book; also, the material that can be copyrighted (including all production materials, dummies, manuscripts etc.)

Object: the single instance used for description or cataloging (includes inscriptions, damaged, conservation, number of the copy etc.)

For detailed infromation, see the section Site Basics

What if I want to see the images first?

Click through the menu bar to »Images.

What if I want to see bigger images?

ABsOnline uses three levels of images: thumbnail, browsing, and reading. (We also have archival quality images stored offline.) We use thumbnails to navigate and browsing for initial display. If you click on the image that is in the display window. This will open a version of the image that is at reading resolution.

What if I want to have my books as part of ABsOnline?

Contact us. Artists wishing to put their work up on the site will need to work with the UVa research group to be sure they use the right standards for files and other materials. The average time commitment for scanning, creating metadata, and troubleshooting is about 6-8 hours per book, depending on the number of pages.

What if I find that my book is part of the ABsOnline collection without my knowledge?

We are trying to create a collection of exemplary works. If your work is here, it is because we believe it is of the highest caliber and represents an important contribution to the field. We welcome any additional commentary you can offer to us. We make every effort to contact artists whose work we scan and put online. If you would like your work removed, let us know and we will remove all or part of the files.

What are authored fields?

These are sections of our metadata that are not part of traditional cataloguing. They allow interpretative judgments to be recorded as part of the ABsOnline collection. Project statements (Work), production narratives (Edition), and the discussion of design features (Edition) as well as other critical commentary carry an author attribution. We invite artists, students, critics, and informed viewers to contribute authored commentary. Please contact us directly with your proposals.

What are the plans to build ABsOnline's collections?

In 2007-08 we are working with a beta set of institutional contributors to develop protocols for distributed content development. This involves training staff and interns in scanning and file-naming protocols, metadata creation, and other conceptual and technical matters. Anyone interested in participating should contact us directly.

What long-term features does ABsOnline plan to develop?

Virtual exhibits, essays, and other interpretative materials will be developed as time and energy allows. Another longterm goal is to create tools for analyzing the field through acquisition of metadata records from other collections. That would allow us to create an overview of production and collection patterns in this field.

Who can use these materials and for what purposes?

ABsOnline is created to promote access and use of these materials. Anyone who can access them electronically is welcome to use them. Materials should be cited, and we will greatly appreciate knowing that the material is being cited, where, and by whom. Under no circumstance is any material (image, text, or other intellectual content) to be used for commercial purposes. No images can be reproduced without express permission of the artists or authors. Contacting the artists is the responsibility of the individual. ABsOnline does not maintain a contact list or provide a clearing house for intellectual property rights to this material.

How is this site different from a traditional website?

A website links static files in a static architecture while an online collection is created in a non-propriety, robust, platform independent XML architecture. It is extensible and flexible and provides for far greater depth and manipulation of resources, multiple and repurposable content, and has search and processing capabilities that are not part of a website structure.

What if I am interested in the technical infrastructure of the site, and wish to access the DTD or other information?

See the Technical Info area for these materials or contact us.

What if I want to purchase these books?

ABsOnline is not an online bookstore, but we do want to encourage purchase and collection of these books. Many are out of print, hard to find, or otherwise unavailable, but collectors should contact dealers in artists' books and/or individual artists whenever possible to inquire about sales. Artists willing to have their contact information made available on this site can be located in the artists' contact area of the index.