Twenty-three of the largest art museums in North America (see appended list) have formed the Art Museum Image Consortium (www.amico.org) a non-profit organization whose membership is open to institutions with collections of art. The mission of AMICO is to make a Library of digital documentation of art available under educational license. AMICO is assembling a rich intellectual resource not previously available to the university community. The Library will include textual information, in both fielded and free-text form and digital images. Some works will also be accompanied by additional images, audio clips, and moving images. The AMICO Library will grow over time to represent the full range of materials in the collections of member institutions.
Both information providers and users in this sector acknowledge that new economic and social models are required in order to support the desired uses of digital information in learning, teaching and research. Particularly where images and multimedia data are involved, mechanisms for processing requests for rights and reproductions are inefficient and cumbersome. In consultation with the academic community, AMICO has developed a license for the use of its digital Library that supports traditional academic uses and expands the potential for uses that take advantage of new technology. This license addresses concerns voiced by academic users to enable "electronic reserves", remote access, faculty assemblage of specific materials for student review, and the incorporation of licensed materials into student projects, portfolios and theses. AMICO will administer this license on behalf of its members.
The Testbed Project - 1998-99 Academic Year
Prior to a announcing the full availability of its digital library, AMICO is launching a one year test-bed project. We wish both to validate the proposed framework for the collective licensing of museum digital collections and to evaluate a means of delivering this content to the higher educational community. Selected universities will administer AMICO-designed user studies, including gathering information using specified data collection instruments and participating in focus groups. It is hoped the university test-bed project will increase understanding of the ways universities are adopting digital teaching and reference tools and enable the AMICO member museums to offer a Library that better meets the needs of its users.
The members of AMICO invite universities to apply for participation in this test-bed project. AMICO will use existing distribution channels to deliver access to the Library during the test-bed phase and beyond. Discussions are currently underway with the Research Libraries Group to provide distribution support during the test-bed. During the academic 1998/99, selected universities will have the opportunity to use the contents of the AMICO Library for educational purposes and assist AMICO and its distributor in assessing the best ways of distributing and providing access to the Library for academic use.
The test-bed Library will consist of documentation of over 20,000 works of art. These are largely two-dimensional Western art, but also include over one thousand Asian drawings and paintings, one thousand ancient & medieval works, one thousand decorative objects and sculptures, one thousand 19th and 500 20th century photographs and over one thousand modern and contemporary works. This Library will be made available to university test-bed participants at a license fee of $2,500-$5,000 based on size of the university during the test-bed year. It is anticipated that a roughly equivalent subscription (access) fee will be charged by RLG. In recognition of their contribution to the development of the AMICO distribution system, test-bed universities will receive a 25% reduction in license fees for the academic years 1999/2000 through 2006/2007. Hence, test-bed participants will receive the equivalent of two years of free licenses.
AMICO member museums are committed to increasing the size of the Library by 10-20,000 works per year during this time. AMICO looks forward to continued liaison with university academic users, and recognizes that ongoing collaboration is essential to the creation of a rich research resource of lasting educational utility.
Approximately twenty universities will be selected to participate in the test-bed year based on their interest in and ability to contribute to research which addresses the objectives of the project. Full methodologies and operational details of the research to be undertaken will be worked out in consultation with the participating universities, the AMICO member museums and the AMICO distributor. A series of planning meetings will be held between February and May of 1998, at which evaluation programs will be designed, and plans for their implementation agreed.
Universities applying to participate in the test-bed studies are asked to directly address which of the educational evaluation, information delivery, content analysis, and/or socio-economic questions posed below their involvement would help to answer, and to identify teams best able to assist in studying those topics.
Identify who uses the AMICO Library and why
Determine how the AMICO Library is accessed and used
Increase understanding of user needs for teaching and research use of the AMICO Library and the systems architectures needed to support them
Format of Proposals
Proposals should contain the following information:
Referencing the stated Goals and Objectives of the project, outline the expertise of participants, describe previous, existing and approved projects that are relevant and/or complementary, document methodologies or tools you could bring to the project, and state your institutional priorities with respect to the various research issues.
Proposals to take lead roles in coordination of parts of the research project are welcome, especially where they fit into existing funded research.
Existing and proposed relationships with AMICO member museums will be respected.
A maximum of 20 pages should be submitted. These should be sent as an .RTF file, attached to an email sent to Jennifer Trant (email@example.com)
In June of 2005, the members of the Art Museum Image Consortium voted to dissolve their collaboration. This site remains online for archival reasons.