Stiftung Sitterwerk St. Gallen – Sitespecific Vocabulary: The Catalogue

20 May 2021

Searches in libraries or archives usually begin with a term entered in a search field. We thus search for a topic in a targeted manner or narrow this search. The result depends not only on the accuracy of the terms entered, but also on the keywords that are linked with objects. The collections of the Sitterwerk Foundation can be searched in the online catalogue using keywords, but also offer the possibility to search in the shelves and/or drawers. The two sorts of searches lead us to different discoveries. What do we learn from searching in the shelves with respect to conducting research in the catalogue and vice versa? With which search terms do we find which contents? What does this vocabulary depict, and what does it not depict? What categories is it based on? Can we come up with new categories and keywords that are characteristic for the site and its collections?

The series of workshops “Kunst Produktion Sprache” (Language of Art Production) wants to think about a site-specific vocabulary for the Art Library and the Material Archive, amend it, and thus supplement the standard keyword abstracting in the Sitterwerk catalogue. The prevailing structures will be interrogated and a vocabulary that is supposed to flow into the catalogue will be compiled in cooperation with users and invited guests. This vocabulary should be based on the holdings of the collections of materials and books and on the production processes of the Kunstgiesserei St.Gallen, emphasize the specificities of the Sitterwerk and its collections, and create new points of access. We will also examine the function of the catalogue as a research tool that underlies the structures of order and hierarchies.

This third workshop in the series Language of Art Production and builds upon the vocabulary developed in workshops 1 and 2 and embeds the vocabulary in a discourse on structures of order and hierarchies.

Introduced and moderated by Lucie Kolb with contributions by Philipp Messner, Axelle Stiefel, Eva Weinmayr, Jasna Zwimpfer.