Will Vaughan

It will be necessary to review the resources that are available now, and to attempt to determine what will be required in the future.

Collections and Objects

Collections (typically Museums and Art Galleries) are increasingly making their works available for consultation in digital form, as well as being involved in different means of disseminating information about their collections. Unfortunately much of this information is available in forms that is not readily adaptable to a teaching situation, particularly at tertiary level. Since such a large amount of material used in History of Art courses exists in collections, it is highly important to look at the provision that is being offered and to find ways of facilitating its use for educational purposes.

Visual Archives

Visual archives offer an extremely rich area for use and consultation, particularly via the Internet. There are a number of both national and private archives that are in the process of digitising their collections. Examples include the RKD in Holland, and the Bridgeman Archive in the UK. There are also a number of projects for making material available via the internet (for example the EC-Funded VAN EYCK project), but as yet no standard has been established. It is a matter of the highest importance that theses resources be made available for teaching purposes. One function of this working party would be to consider how this can be done most effectively, and in a manner satisfactory to both the archives themselves and to educational institutions.

Construction of Canons of Images and Texts

While recognising the importance of gaining on-line access to a wide variety of archives, it is proposed that an exemplary set of both images and texts be established by this working party. This would not be intended as a means of excluding others, but rather as a means of initiating a process that would hopefully then gather its own momentum. One function for the working party would be to identify such exemplary material and then invite offers for implementing them.

Will Vaughan has already initiated the process of entering the Alberti text Della Pittura in a Web site at Birkbeck College. He is also planning the construction of a WWW version of Morelli.

Copyright Problems

The problems surrounding the copyright of visual images is currently one of the greatest obstacles to the development of the usage of visual material over the Internet. As yet no viable solutions have been proposed, and there is a serious danger of extortionate demands by certain agencies (and a few owners) undermining the kind of usage of images that is required for effective teaching to take place. What is really needed is some kind of equitable international agreement about fair practice in the area of the copyright of images. Although this working party can hardly bring this about on its own, it should pinpoint the problems and attempt to advance a solution.


The working party should look for exemplars and use these to illustrate good practice.