AKDC@MIT is delighted to have had the opportunity to present on its collections and new research tools to a packed room at the 2018 biennial symposium of the Historians of Islamic Art Association (HIAA). The session took place at 1:00 pm on Saturday, October 27, the final day of the symposium at Yale University.
Matt Saba, Visual Resources Librarian, gave a brief overview of the history of the center and its image collection, the Aga Khan Visual Archive. He then surveyed several of the center’s new collections since 2012, divided into three categories. For Scholars’ Collections he highlighted the Tabbaa Archive, Williams Collection, and Jenkins-Madina Collection. From the category of Research Archives he presented the Isfahan Urban History Project Archive, Timurid Architecture Research Archive, and the Kamil & Rifat Chadirji Photo Archive. Finally he presented Architects’ Archives, including the Rifat Chadirji Archive, Mohamed Makiya Archive, Hisham Munir Archive, and newly-received Michel Écochard Archive. The purpose of highlighting these new collections was to alert colleagues to their availability for research, as only a small portion of these collections is available in Archnet,
Michael Toler (Interim Program Head and Archnet Content Manager) spoke to the audience about new features added to Archnet since the last time AKDC was at HIAA in 2014. He included an overview of changes in Archnet’s usage, pointing to a 95% increase in users and an 87% increase in page-views since 2014. Importantly, sessions on Archnet from India supplanted sessions from the USA during this four-year period. Next, Michael reviewed new features on Archnet, including the collections page, the Pedagogy Project, and the site’s group search function. Michael also gave an overview of content added to Archnet: these included 903 authority records (cities, persons, and institutions); 2,650 sites; 1,829 publications; and 94,091 images. Some specific collections and projects highlighted were the Pedagogy Project, a home for resources for teaching Islamic art and architecture and the Tangier Then and Now Exhibition, which features a collection of historic glass plate negatives of Tangier. Finally, he presented Layercake, a chronological and spatial mapping tool under development by AKDC.