Developing a Digital Collaborative Research Environment: the Getty Scholars' Workspace®


  • Murtha Baca
  • Marissa Clifford


Building on decades of experience in the digital realm, leveraging its unique capacity to develop new tools and methods for conducting, publishing, and sharing art-historical research, and recognizing the importance of digital tools for the future of art history, the Getty Research Institute (GRI) established a Digital Art History1 (DAH) program in 2009. The newly-formed program at the GRI was fortunate to benefit from years of experience digitizing primary source materials, using principles of information science, and fostering a collaborative, interdisciplinary approach that has characterized the Getty since the early days of the Art History Information Program (AHIP), later re-named the Getty Information Institute2 (GII); when the GII dissolved, its key staff with experience in the use of technology for art and cultural history transferred to the GRI. As the GRI’s DAH program has evolved, its work has been increasingly informed by an emphasis on project planning and project management, an awareness of the issues and challenges surrounding publishing humanities resources online, and a prioritization of apparatuses for thinking critically about the intersections of the digital and the traditional in humanities scholarship.

Author Biographies

Murtha Baca

Murtha Baca holds a Ph.D. in Art History and Italian Language and Literature from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and is Head of the Digital Art History Program at the Getty Research Institute. She is an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Information Studies at UCLA, where she teaches graduate seminars on descriptive metadata and thesaurus construction.

Marissa Clifford

Marissa Clifford is a member of the Getty Research Institute’s Digital Art History team, and served as project manager for the Getty Scholars’ Workspace version 1.1. As a researcher and artist, she is concerned with issues of access and ethics in art and technology.




How to Cite

Baca, M., & Clifford, M. (2018). Developing a Digital Collaborative Research Environment: the Getty Scholars’ Workspace®. Uncommon Culture, 7(1/2), 17–25. Retrieved from