Instruction & Workshops

Practicum I: Research Workshops and Thesis Research Development

Practicum I Research Workshops provide first year students in the MA Program in Curatorial Studies with a comprehensive overview of the formal and practical research tools and resources available at CCS Bard and how best to utilize them. The workshops give students a deep understanding of the structure and mechanics of each of the following types of research tools: online catalogs, citation and full-text indexes and databases, bibliographies, and archives and primary sources.

Each of the four 2 hour sessions consists of an introduction and investigation of concepts, methods, and models, followed by an assignment designed to prompt students to engage with and use the resources presented. The final session introduces the annotated bibliography as a tool to support a sustained research practice and is taken up again in the Spring semester with first year students. Attendance and participation in all sessions is mandatory for all first year CCS Bard students.

I. Online Catalogs

An introduction to the underlying concepts and frameworks supporting academic research libraries including regional, national and international networks and cooperative lending services available through the Bard College libraries. Library of Congress (LOC) standards—the classification scheme, associated descriptive standards and controlled vocabularies will be presented—with a window into their history and the benefits and limitations that come with them. Fundamentals such as reading an LOC call number and interpreting catalog records will be covered. Using as models Bard’s home catalog, Felix, Connect NY—the consortial catalog, and WorldCat—the ‘meta’ catalog, students will learn the dimensions of these online tools, when to use them, and how to maximize their searching within them.

II. Serial Publications and Citation/Full-Text Indexes and Databases

The importance of serial publications to contemporary curatorial research is foregrounded through this discussion of print periodicals and electronic databases. The concept of an index is introduced, looking at what information it captures and, just as importantly, what it does not. Particular attention is paid to understanding the coverage of electronic indexes and databases and how to choose the most appropriate tools to access different types of information. The coverage of specific contemporary art journals within databases is also discussed, as is the concept of the “moving wall.” Selected resources include Art Bibliographies Modern, Art Source, Bibliography of the History of Art, Ebsco Academic Search Premier, Project Muse, Lexis-Nexis, J-STOR and ARTstor. Alongside these digital resources, we also examine several artist-produced periodicals and avant-garde journals whose content is not reproduced online or accessible through an index or database.

III. Archives and Primary Sources

An examination of archives and manuscript collections, their various internal structures, concepts, documentation types and associated descriptive practices is presented along with a range of online indexes and bibliographic tools available to locate and identify relevant materials. The concept of ‘hidden collections’ and how one navigates locating and accessing these materials is also be covered as well as the ethics of working with archival materials. This session also covers intellectual property issues for archives and manuscripts as well the differences between accessing archival materials in person and online. Initiatives to digitize archives including the New Museum Digital Archive, Asia Art Archive, White Columns’ Archive in Process, Fales Library & Special Collections at NYU, and the Archives of American Art are all discussed.

IV. Thesis Research and the Annotated Bibliography

An introduction to the annotated bibliography as a tool for initiating and supporting a sustained research practice. Specific examples of annotated bibliographies are discussed, highlighting formal components and varying approaches, culminating in a discussion of what an annotated bibliography from the field of curatorial studies might be comprised of, as well as the various forms it might take as a project develops from speculation to realization. Selection, organization and analysis of heterogeneous sources is covered, as well as developing workflows that can be incorporated into everyday research practice.

This project provides an early opportunity for students to formally begin exploring ideas within a broad field of interest for their thesis project and continues to be developed into the Spring semester and the second year.