Meeting of PHAROS: The International Consortium of Photo Archives. The Hague, RKD, October 8, 2018

October 8, 2018
Pharos meeting at RKD 2018

On October 8th, 2018, twelve of the fourteen PHAROS institutions gathered for a meeting at the Rijksbureau voor Kunsthistorisches Documentatie in The Hague.  This meeting followed the 8th International Conference of Art Libraries Conference in Amsterdam that many members attended and at which Louisa Wood Ruby gave a presentation on PHAROS.

The meeting was planned as a stock taking of where the consortium stands after five years, and what might lie in its future.  It was agreed that the group has been useful for sharing information and building momentum and enthusiasm around the digitization of photo archives, and that the moment was ripe to begin moving forward more quickly.

To that end, it was decided to move forward applying for a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for a pilot project to build a test platform for PHAROS.  Five institutions agreed to be part of the project: Villa I Tatti, The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies, Florence; Biblioteca Hertziana Max-Planck Institut für Kunstgeschichte, Rome; Bildarchive Foto Marburg; Fondazione Federico Zeri, Bologna; and the Frick Art Reference Library, New York.  It was agreed to apply immediately for Mellon’s spring grant cycle with The Frick as the lead institution.

In addition to agreeing to seek funding for a pilot project, a main outcome of the meeting was to formalize the governing structure of the consortium.  Following the 2017 retirement of PHAROS’ first president, Inge Reist (Frick Art Reference Library), it was agreed to formalize an executive steering committee that would elect a Chair of the consortium to serve for a five-year term, and interim chair Louisa Wood Ruby (Frick Art Reference Library) was elected to serve as official chair until end of  2022. Besides the Executive Steering Committee, five working groups were established: Technology; Intellectual property; Metadata; Image; User Research.  These groups will meet virtually as needed and at every general PHAROS meeting.  It was decided that the group should meet every year to year and half, pending need.  The next meeting was set for spring 2019, to discuss the progress of the grant.

A report from the data model group indicated that it is moving forward quickly, and that they are using as a model and guide.

The newly formed User Research group focused on broad issues and agreed that they should form an advisory council to inform the development of the PHAROS platform.