“ISEA Symposium Archives: Innovative Archive Development and Content Acquisition” presented by Mitchell, Searleman and Plas


Presentation Title:

  • ISEA Symposium Archives: Innovative Archive Development and Content Acquisition



  • ISEA International has a mission to maintain an archive of the content presented at its symposia. Over the past few years, the ISEA archive team has been developing a new archive which enables the data to be interconnected in a multitude of ways. This innovative infrastructure is populated with the contents of the classic archive with the addition of images and additional documentation, and the ability to add video and sound. The archive contains a new visual design and interaction interface enabling researchers, educators, students, artists and community members to access the information efficiently. The newest functionality is the ability for artists to access the data to create custom visualizations of the amazing achievements of ISEA contributors over the years. The archive has been the result of an international collaborative team of volunteers and students and furthers the mission of ISEA as well as creates one of the world’s largest archives of electronic art.

    ISEA International has three mandates: oversee the continuing occurrence of the symposia, create an ongoing dialog with the community and maintain an archive of the symposium materials. An international team of volunteers has been working on building the online interactive archive, collecting materials, adding data and coding advanced functionality in an effort to create a valuable resource documenting the ideas, innovations and artworks in the electronic art field from 1988 to present.

    The initial development of the Classic ISEA Archive began in 2012 with a conversion of the original archive and a focus on building an information architecture and entering the information. Wim van der Plas, a co-founder of ISEA, has been accumulating and digitizing artifacts and adding them to the Classic Archive. After building and populating this archive, we realized that we needed a more robust system to handle thousands of images and the interconnectedness of the data. Therefore, we embarked on building an innovative system which resulted in the new ISEA Symposium Archives which is housed on the SIGGRAPH server.

    The new system was constructed using custom PHP, PODs, and CSS code built upon a WordPress front-end. The programming of the advanced features was overseen by Jan Searleman and Bonnie Mitchell with students from Bowling Green State University (BGSU). The process of populating the archive by taking data from the Classic Archive was massive and students from BGSU and the University of West Florida led the effort. The new ISEA Symposium Archives enables free and easy access to an amazing wealth of material, enabling the next generation to benefit from and be inspired by the creativity and innovative research of the past.


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