Joseph Shubitowski is our Legacy Award honoree for lifetime career achievement. After earning his bachelor’s in fine arts from WMU in 1979, Shubitowski worked on a variety of high-profile cataloging and data management projects, melding together of the fine arts, art history and digital technology during his over 33-year career.
While pursuing his MA in History of Photography at University of Arizona, Shubitowski was a principal cataloger and researcher in the photography archives. He worked with the Smithsonian on rudimentary data rules and processes, and utilized the university’s mainframe computer for this data. After graduation he was chosen by Ansel Adams to be the research assistant for his autobiography. He sifted through Adams’ archives and provided the basis for the chronology and bibliography in the book.
Shubitowski’s work at the Canadian Centre for Architecture established both the cataloging rules and practicum, the interim systems, and the eventual new systems for the permanent museum and archives in Montreal. No off-the-shelf software existed in the mid-1980’s to catalog and describe art collections so Shubitowski helped develop the programs while working as head cataloguer.
From 1990 to 2016 Shubitowski worked for the Getty Research Institute. There he focused on development and support of the technology platforms for the Bibliography of the History of Art.
Other major projects that he led or heavily contributed to include The Getty Provenance Index, which tracks the history of collecting and provenance/ownership of art objects, The Getty Vocabularies, such as the Art and Architecture Thesaurus, which are standards in the field of art and art history.
Get to know Joseph Shubitowski in the interview below: