Art and Archaeology Technical Abstracts (AATA) is a major reference work for the conservation field, published semiannually by the GCI in association with the International Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (IIC). The 35 and one-half volumes of AATA published from 1955 to the present are being transferred into an electronic database that will be available online in 2002. This new electronic resource will retain the characteristics that have assured the excellence of AATA, including high-quality abstracts for all citations, the fervent participation of professionals in the field of conservation, and strong editorial control.
The production of AATA has been made possible over the last 46 years by an international network of volunteer abstractors who survey the conservation literature and provide abstracts of relevant journal articles, books, patents, technical reports, theses, and audiovisual resources. Much of this literature is unpublished or published in sources with limited distribution and would be unknown to many conservators if not referenced in AATA.
Currently, over 100 volunteers around the world contribute abstracts covering the technical study, materials, methods of conservation, and management of the worlds artistic, archaeological, and architectural heritage. These volunteers are conservation professionals in private practice, museums, art galleries, universities, and conservation institutions. Many have contributed to AATA throughout their careers through changes in editorial offices, managing editors, and the publishing schedule. Their conscientious efforts and dedication have provided an invaluable service to their colleagues in the field.
The changes in the delivery system of AATAfrom a hard-copy publication to an electronic databasewill in no way alter its reliance on the commitment and skill of the abstractors who have always formed the heart of the publication.
Over the past five volumes of AATA, 26 volunteer abstractors have contributed regularly, missing only two or fewer issues; of this group, 10 have contributed to every issue. Three abstractorsBarbara Niemeyer, Elisabeth West FitzHugh, and Ralph Lewis (recently deceased)have not only contributed to every issue but have submitted numerous abstracts for each issue.
"I started abstracting for AATA 10 years ago because German conservation literature was absolutely underrepresentedand still is," says Barbara Niemeyer, a conservator at the Antikensammlung of the Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin. "Any colleague who has ever worked on a specific conconservation project has probably needed the information AATA provides. To maintain and to increase the value of AATA for all professionals, every conservator should be interested in contributing to it." She notes that "for me as an abstractor, searching for AATA-appropriate conservation literature has helped keep me informed on the most recent professional developments."
"The importance of an abstracts journal to the conservation field cannot be overestimated," observes Elisabeth West FitzHugh, who served as editor of IIC Abstracts, the predecessor to AATA , for several years in the 1960s. "Conservation and conservation science overlap extensively into so many fields that only a widely distributed group of volunteer abstractors can be counted on to cover all possible sources. I view the job of abstracting as a professional responsibility." Ms. FitzHugh, a research associate in the Conservation and Scientific Research Department of the Freer and Sackler Galleries of the Smithsonian Institution, has been an AATA abstractor for over 45 years.
Recent Frequent AATA Abstractors
Curt W. Beck
Christopher J. Brooke
Mary M. Brooks
Elisabeth West FitzHugh
M. M. Khan
Maria Pilar de Luxán
Arno P. Schniewind
Joyce Hill Stoner
Joyce H. Townsend
Ian N. M. Wainwright
Kay D. Weeks