February 25, 2016

Getty Research Institute Releases Getty Scholars’ Workspace

This Online Collaborative Research Environment Is a Free Open-Source Research Tool

Available online at

Amy Hood
Getty Communications
(310) 440-6427

The "light table" tool within Getty Scholars’ Workspace. "Apocalyptic Landscape" (second from left), Meidner, 1912, © Ludwig Meidner-Archiv, Jüdisches Museum der Stadt Frankfurt am Main

LOS ANGELES —Today the Getty Research Institute announced the release of the Getty Scholars’ Workspace™, a free downloadable tool designed specifically for collaborative humanities research.

The Getty Scholars’ Workspace is an online environment designed to support collaborative art-historical and humanities research, where research teams can examine digital surrogates, build bibliographies, translate and annotate texts, share and annotate images, and exchange ideas. With the Scholars’ Workspace, research and communication are consolidated into a single online location accessible from anywhere.

“The Getty Research Institute is in a unique position to further the understanding of the visual arts in a distinctly 21st-century way—not just through technology but through collaboration and access, which are increasingly the future of humanities research,” explains Thomas W. Gaehtgens, director of the Getty Research Institute. “The Getty Scholars’ Workspace is a dynamic new tool that is directly inspired by our field-leading work in online access to art, archives, and digital publications.”

The Getty Scholars’ Workspace features the following collaborative research tools:

Bibliography builder: to collaboratively manage citations online
Comparison tool: to upload images and create comparisons on a digital “light table”
Essay tool: for writing, editing, and annotating texts
Forum: for recording and storing project-related correspondence in a centralized location
Image tool: to upload, crop, and annotate images, and create image comparisons
Manuscript presentation tool: to upload a manuscript or other archival document and record transcriptions and translations
Timeline tool: for creating an illustrated list of relevant dates in chronological order
Getty Scholars’ Workspace Screenshot

The project was led by Murtha Baca, Head of the GRI’s Digital Art History program, with support from the J. Paul Getty Trust Web Group, the GRI’s department of Information Systems, and the GRI’s Digital Art History team. The development and advancement of the Getty Scholars’ Workspace would not have been possible without the generous support of the Seaver Institute, which provided partnership grants to the GRI for this project in 2014 and 2015.

“The Getty Scholars’ Workspace has the capacity to animate the archive, the foundation of art-historical research,” said Baca. “This project addresses the possibilities of art historical research in the future. At the GRI, we have already used the Scholars’ Workspace to great effect, as have our colleagues at the French National Art History Institute (INHA) in Paris; now we are excited to see what users from other institutions will do with it. As we’ve seen in the past, when we make content, data, and software open to the research community, the work generated quickly exceeds what we could have imagined.”

After the projects by the GRI and INHA that resulted in digital critical facsimile editions of previously unpublished primary source materials, which were conducted in an early version of the Getty Scholars’ Workspace, the next institution committed to using the collaborative environment is the Avery Library at Columbia University. Carole Ann Fabian, Director of the Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, stated: “The Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library at Columbia University is thrilled to be implementing the Getty Scholars’ Workspace for work on our “Digital Serlio” project. The Scholars’ Workspace will allow our international team of scholars to collaboratively conduct textual and visual analysis using high-resolution images of Sebastiano Serlio’s Tutte l’opere d’architettura, Libro VI, the unpublished sixteenth-century manuscript held in the Avery’s collection. The Workspace provides an online platform for our scholars to leverage innovative digital tools to advance research and inspire scholarship on this singularly important and foundational masterwork of architectural history. We see the Getty Scholars’ Workspace as an essential element in the suite of tools that Columbia University will be using to advance our research and dissemination in the digital age.”

The Scholars’ Workspace was built in version 7.21 of Drupal, an open-source content management system. It is expected that the open-source community will generate significant support and new creative uses and features for the system.

A project conducted in the Getty Scholars’ Workspace could result in an exhibition, a seminar, a digital or print publication, a scholarly talk, or something else entirely. While it is not designed to produce these outcomes itself, the Scholars’ Workspace helps research teams organize their materials, such as texts and images, and facilitate collaborative analysis and investigation.

The Getty Scholars’ Workspace can be used with digital content from any museum or archive of any person or institution. It does, however, require technological expertise and will work best for users who have technical support in their own institutions. An installation guide and user manual are downloadable from the Scholars’ Workspace web page.

For instructions on how to install the Getty Scholars’ Workspace, go to:
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The J. Paul Getty Trust is an international cultural and philanthropic institution devoted to the visual arts that includes the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Getty Research Institute, the Getty Conservation Institute, and the Getty Foundation. The J. Paul Getty Trust and Getty programs serve a varied audience from two locations: the Getty Center in Los Angeles and the Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades.

The Getty Research Institute is an operating program of the J. Paul Getty Trust. It serves education in the broadest sense by increasing knowledge and understanding about art and its history through advanced research. The Research Institute provides intellectual leadership through its research, exhibition, and publication programs and provides service to a wide range of scholars worldwide through residencies, fellowships, online resources, and a Research Library. The Research Library—housed in the 201,000-square-foot Research Institute building designed by Richard Meier—is one of the largest art and architecture libraries in the world. The general library collections (secondary sources) include almost 900,000 volumes of books, periodicals, and auction catalogues encompassing the history of Western art and related fields in the humanities. The Research Library’s special collections include rare books, artists’ journals, sketchbooks, architectural drawings and models, photographs, and archival materials.

Additional information is available at
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