Visit to the Getty Research Institute: February 2016


In February this year Valerie Scott (Librarian) and Alessandra Giovenco (Archivist) were invited by Murtha Baca, Head of the Digital Art History Program at the Getty Research Institute (GRI) to spend ten days in Los Angeles as Project Researchers to investigate a new digital platform, the Getty Scholars’ Workspace.

Murtha and her research team designed this tool to help art historians publish their digitised documents or manuscripts and associated research online. Have a look at their first project using this platform, Pietro Mellini’s Inventory in Verse, 1681, edited by Murtha.


On arrival at the Getty Scholar Housing we were greeted by one of the scholars (from the British Museum) who invited us to a Pizza party held every Monday by the residents where, to our surprise, we met Will Wootton from the Department of Classics, King’s College, London and his young family. Will has a three-month scholarship and is working at the Getty Villa in Malibu, where the antiquities Museum, built by J. Paul Getty, is situated.

Every day we took the shuttle bus to the GRI for meetings with Murtha and her team who helped us get to grips with the platform and generously dedicated their time to assisting us in every way. Our proposal for a pilot project to use the platform to publish one of William Gell’s notebooks in our Library collection was greeted with enthusiasm by the team.

Meetings with other members of the Senior Management staff were arranged for us and we discussed the possibility of the BSR contributing to the Getty Research Portal and the Getty Vocabularies as well as discussions with Joan Weinstein, Deputy Director of the Getty Foundation and tea with Thomas Gaehtgens, Director of the GRI.


Left to right: Murtha Baca, Marissa Clifford (Research Assistant), Alessandra, Valerie, Thomas Gaehtgens, Joe Shubitowski (Head, Library Information Systems), Anja Foerschner (Research Specialist) and Vincent Martens (Graduate Intern). Image credited to the Getty Research Institute, 2016


The J. Paul Getty Museum

We spent a day at the Villa and the Museum visiting Claire Lyons, Curator of Antiquities and her colleagues. We discussed the Getty Provenance Index Database which fits perfectly with another current BSR project, the John Marshall Archive Research Project. We discovered many interesting overlaps and they are looking forward to accessing the website which will be launched together with the publication of the John Marshall Colloquium papers.


Our last evening looking out over the Pacific – we were sorry to leave.

We are very grateful to the Getty Research Institute for inviting us and providing accommodation at the Getty Scholar’s Housing Complex and to Tim Llewellyn for generously supporting our trip.

Valerie Scott (Librarian) and Alessandra Giovenco (Archivist)

Unless otherwise stated, all images taken by Valerie Scott.