Between 2014 and 2018, I worked as a software developer at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. The Getty is a world-class art museum that also houses a research library, conservation laboratories, a publishing operation, and a philanthropic trust. The museum’s collection houses some of the most important works of European art history, from Antiquity to the Renaissance.
I worked on the Digital Publications team within the Getty’s Publication Department, and was the only full-time developer on this team. One of our main projects was to develop and then implement a plan to publish the museum’s collection catalogues in a digital format.
The Web was invented as a tool for academic publishing. But in spite of these origins, “digital publishing” has long struggled to catch up to the feature-set of the printed books and journals that came before — especially in the academic world, where long-term persistence and cite-ability are crucial.
Working closely with curators in the museum’s Antiquities Department, we created a series of digital art catalogues which were able to take advantage of the possibilities of modern technology without sacrificing the design, academic quality, and long-term availability of the print editions.
Show some images of the publications here
- Beautiful reading experience
- Interactive features (maps, image viewer, search)
- Cross-platform output
- Public source-code and revision history
- Breaking down disciplinary boundaries leads to exciting new results
- The work done in these projects led to the the creation of a new digital publishing framework based on this approach, Quire, which is still under active development.