Yesterday, OCA students were able, for the first time, to access the UCA online library. Eager to explore how it might help me, I did some initial searches. Logging in was very straight forward. The portal is very bare, just offering a search bar, and I entered ‘artist’s book’. This yielded many results, most relevant to my enquiry, but, on closer examination, they included abstracts, book reviews and other references, rather than actual articles. However, to the right of the search box is an ‘advanced search’ tab which allowed me to select ‘full text online’ and deselect ‘abstracts’, ‘book reviews’, select discipline ‘visual arts’ and thus get a much more focused result set.
Searching down the list of offerings, I came across ‘From Democratic Multiple to Artist Publishing: The (R)evolutionary Artist’s Book’ (White, 2012: 45-46). Clicking on the title took me to another portal (EBSCOhost) with the search already completed and showing me the abstract for the journal article. I was able to click on ‘PDF full text’ and read the article which discussed how initially artists’ books (multiples rather than one-off objects) had been produced as part of a relationship with a gallery, rather than a subverting step outside the gallery system. Subsequently they evolved away from that dependence as technological developments provided increased opportunities for self publishing in small runs at a reasonable price. This creative arc is still continuing, with access to internet publishing and online book producers such as blurb.
This was an interesting and relevant read. It has left me with a slight dilemma as to how to reference the article. The OCA referencing guidelines have changed as the college has abandoned its own guidelines and adopted the UCA format, which is subtlety different. The EBSCOhost portal offers a downloadable reference but not in a format I can use. I used to use a Harvard referencing generator into which I could just paste a weblink or even scan a ISBN with my phone in a library, to create references as, being dyslexic, I get into a muddle with lists of letters and numbers. This has now been discontinued as a free resource and is too expensive for my level of use. In any case, is it of any use to give an online reference for a journal when that reference is via a portal which cannot necessarily be accessed by the reader? It seems to me to be more useful to reference the original journal, and that is what I have done here.
Continuing to explore, I entered the wide term ‘drawing’. This yielded an interesting list of articles which I shall have to explore over time. One which caught my eye is tangentially relevant to the current projects looking work evolving over time. This journal article, ‘Drawing Time’ (Lajer-Burcharth, 2015 pp.3-42) is presented via a different portal, this time MIT, and it is necessary to scan around the screen to discover how to view the text, in this case via a ‘download options’ tab on the right. The article looks at drawings by Watteau in which he has drawn the same model from different angles. Not only has he rotated the model but his own angle of view changes. The article describes how he used these studies and how he used a sticky, oily sanguine stick to draw so that he could transfer the drawings by offset-printing them, a useful idea for monoprinting. I had not realised how prolific his drawing was, nor how young he died.
I tried restricting this search to ‘ebooks’ hoping to find less specialist publications. I was pleased to see that the search returned ‘Drawing Now: Between the Lines of Contemporary Art’ (Downs et al. 2007), essential reading for Drawing 2. This was available via yet another portal which initially offered me a virtually blank page with just the book details repeated on the right. However, below this was a tab ‘open content in new tab’ which rewarded me with a further page (yet another portal) where I could view the contents, read limited sections online or download the complete book for a limited time.
I am excited that the online library will be useful, not only for more detailed essay writing but also for wider ranging surveys.
As I have explored the new library access, I have also looked a new referencing software and have discovered EasyBib. This offers limited, but good enough, free referencing on ipad, iphone and online. It can scan bar codes and search online for books, so you don’t have to type in all the details. You can select the referencing preferred by individual institutions from a very long list which includes UCA. I shall give this one an extended trial.
Downes, S. Marshall, R. Sawden P. and Selby, A., (2007) London: I.B.Tauris
Lajer-Burcharth, E. (2015) ‘Drawing Time’ In October Magazine, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Winter 2015 pp.3-42
White, T (2012) ‘From Democratic Multiple to Artist Publishing: The (R)evolutionary Artist’s Book’ In Art Documentation: Journal of the Art Libraries Society of North America, University of Chicago Press 31(1) pp.45-56