Preservation and Documentation Strategies
Museum Collections

Kunsthalle Bremen: The collections of Herbert W. Franke, over 1000 items including pioneering digital prints. Numerous other works, mainly given by artists. One curator is responsible for the focus in their work on "early digital art". K. Bremen also has a collection of early media works by Nam June Paik, John Cage, Otto Piene and others. Online documentation is currently limited, but a review of past shows can be found here:

Victoria and Albert Museum: Computer Arts Society (CAS) collection of early works. The Patric Prince Collection. A computer art curator and computer art project curator on staff. Some printed materials cataloged online.
Some early digital works:
Digital art and design:
Search the V&A library for "computer arts society" or "patric prince."
The Collections database:

Block Museum, Northwestern University: a growing collection of digital prints, many by pioneering artists, including about 80% of the works exhibited in Imaging by Numbers and 40 works by Colette and Jeff Bangert.
Contact the Block Museum to visit the collection (


Ars Electronica archive

Tate Intermedia Project, with a links to the Tate Net Art Archive and Intermedia Art website.

FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology) Archive.

Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art, Cornell University. (indexed but not linked in Ruth Goldsen Archive)

Rhizome Artbase (curated archive)

Research Databases (in all stages of construction)

compArt Database of Early Computer Art

Database of Virtual Art

Media Art Histories Archive

CACHE Computer Art Context History Etc

Media-Art-Database (M.A.D.) Has a home page but no access, currently.

Media Art Net

Ludwig Boltzmann Institute, main site and links by theme not responding

Rewind, focused on the first two decades of artists' works in video in the UK

British Artists Film and Video Study Collection

AHDS Performing Arts Collections. See Digital Performance Archive and related databases in Live/Performance Art Resources 502 error

Furtherfield's featured artists and reviewers

Intersections of Art, Technology, Science & Culture (Stephen Wilson's list, not a database. Wide-ranging, last revised 2010)

Leonardo/OLATS Pioneers and Pathbreakers (not a database, but a useful starting point).

Online Exhibition Databases

Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie, Karlsruhe (ZKM)

I Am Still Alive

Bit International (at ZKM through January 2009)

Laboral, Centro de Arte y Creación Industrial. Gijon, Spain. Many downloadable catalogs.
Feedback Exhibition with catalog

Telematic Connections: The Virtual Embrace, curated by Steve Dietz at Walker Art Museum online. Documentation linked to the Timeline page includes a transcript of Roy Ascott's La Plissure du Texte. The "Timeline" Flash applet did not load for me (YMMV). Telematic Connections Timeline

Exhibition Projects


International Center for Art and New Technologies (CIANT) )projects)

Computer Art and Technocultures (projects)

Whitney Museum Artport
Martin Wattenberg's Net Art Idea Line, at the Whitney Artport
If the Net Art Idea Line Java applet doesn't load, here's a list in text format.

RunMe Software Art

Java Museum

Net Art Commissions on Turbulence

Museum of the Essential and Beyond That YMMV, many broken links

Digital Art Museum, seems eternally "under construction," but with some useful materials on pioneers. Associated with a commercial gallery specializing in digital art.

Standards and Gateways

OASIS Consortium (standards)

GAMA Gateway to Archives of Media Art (gateway)

Daniel Langlois Foundation (archive, research projects)

Media Art History

Publications and Proceedings

Media Art History Archive


Artist and Computer, many CG pioneers, published in 1976, edited by Ruth Leavitt

Computer Graphics and Art, August 1976 to November 1978, in the CompArt database.

CompArt also has three numbers of the journal Computers and Automation, 1967 to 1969, with images from its early computer art contests.

PAGE, 1969 to 1985, newsletter of the Computer Arts Society.


Database structure (schema) conditions research: are diverse and idiosyncratic data structures necessary to adequately represent the scope of new media? Are "universalizing" gateways and standards going to reduce the variety of opionions?

Art, technology and culture represent distinct areas of research, distinct orientations and techniques--but media art seems to have its greatest potential where they intersect. How can we capture these overlapping viewpoints?

How do we avoid creating new canons?

How do we capture the context of new media art--can it be done? By what forms of documentation?

How do we capture or preserve unstable media?

Scientific research is notable for standards and gateways (cf. Sloan Digital Sky survey, International Virtual Observatory Alliance, the Human Genome Project, or the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment). Can databases of media art history follow this example? Would standards and gateways push idiosyncratic methods aside? What would they impose?