SILS student wins Gerd Muehsam Award for paper relevant to art librarianship

January 26, 2016

Meredith Hale, a master’s student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Information and Library Science (SILS), has received the Gerd Muehsam Award for her master’s paper, which investigates how visitors to art museum Web sites search for art in online collections.

The Muehsam Award is given annually by the Art Libraries Society of North America (ARLIS/NA) to recognize excellence in a graduate student paper or project on a topic relevant to art librarianship. The award includes a $500 prize, one-year membership to ARLIS/NA, and support to attend the ARLIS/NA+VRA Joint Conference from March 8-12 in Seattle.

Hale, who is earning a dual degree in information science and art history with the intention of becoming an art librarian, analyzed search log data from the Ackland Art Museum's online collection search system to determine what words and search categories were most commonly used for querying the system. The study also broadly aims to bring attention to user search behaviors so that systems can be adapted to make it easier for visitors to museum Web sites to find the art records they need.

Hale said she is excited to present her paper at the conference and visit the Pacific Northwest. “I'm really looking forward to exploring Seattle for the first time and getting to know and learn from professionals that love art as much as I do,” she said.

SILS and the UNC Art Department will be well represented at the 2016 conference. Kimberley Henze, another information science/art history dual-degree student, will present a poster that examines work she completed in October for the Learning from Artists' Archives fellowship. “We held an ‘Archiving for the Artist’ workshop at the North Carolina Museum of Art, educating and empowering artists to build, curate, and preserve their own personal/studio archives,” Henze said. More information can be found at

Recent dual-degree graduate Morgan McKeehan ('15) will also deliver a presentation titled “Symmetrical Web Archiving with Webrecorder: High-Fidelity Archiving of Born-Digital Artworks and Other Complex Web Objects.”