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ADAM: Art, Design, Architecture & Media Information Gateway

Project web site

Programme area
Access to Network Resources

Contact details
Tony Gill, Project Manager,
Surrey Institute of Art & Design, Falkner Road, Farnham, Surrey GU9 7DS,
Phone: 01252 722441 Fax: 01252 712925

Project description

as of May 19th 1997


ADAM, the Art, Design, Architecture & Media Information Gateway, is a service being developed to help you locate useful, quality-assured information on the Internet in the following subject areas:
  • Fine Art, including painting, prints and drawings, sculpture and other contemporary media including those using technology
  • Design, including industrial, product, fashion, graphic, packaging and interior design
  • Architecture, including town planning and landscape design, but excluding building construction
  • Applied Arts, including textiles, ceramics, glass, metals, jewellery and furniture
  • Media, including film, television, broadcasting, photography and animation
  • Theory; relevant historical, philosophical and contextual studies
  • Museum studies and conservation
  • Professional Practice related to any of the above
ADAM helps you find the relevant information by providing a searchable on-line catalogue describing Internet resources such as web sites or electronic mailing lists, in much the same way as a library catalogue describes bibliographic resources such as books and journals.

In this way, a 'virtual library' of digital art, design, architecture and media resources can be created to benefit the UK Higher Education community.

The records in the ADAM catalogue are created by a team of professional librarians, who evaluate the quality of each resource against our selection guidelines and then use the traditional tools and skills of librarianship (such as cataloguing rules for keyword indexing, classification and controlled terminology) to create a detailed description for any resources that:

  • are relevant to ADAM's subject scope
  • are accurate
  • are authoritative
  • are reasonably current
  • contain a significant amount of unique information
Catalogued resources are regularly checked to ensure that they are still accessible, and that they are still of a sufficiently high quality.


Acknowledged standards are being applied wherever possible in the development of the service, to help protect the investment of time and resources against premature obsolescence:
  • Cataloguing: Cataloguing Rules based on the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rule (2nd Edition) and Nancy Olsen's 'Guide to Cataloguing Networked Resources'
  • Terminology: the Art & Architecture Thesaurus and the Union List of Artistís Names
  • Classification: Dewey Decimal System (21st Edition)
  • Resource Description: IAFA Templates, Dublin Core Metadata Element Set
  • Technical: HTML 3.2, WHOIS++, Z39.50

Helping us to help you

Our aim is to produce a service that best meets the needs of the relevant academic communities. In order to accomplish this, we are conducting a continuous consultation and evaluation process so that we can focus our efforts on the areas of most importance to the community.

Although we use a number of methods in the evaluation of ADAM (for example focus group discussions, user surveys, user testing, and automatically-generated service usage statistics), the easiest way for you to help us is to use the service and let us know what you think using the feedback form on our web site.


ADAM is committed to collaborating with other relevant initiatives, to help promote and develop standards that make information on the Internet easier to find, and has already forged a number of significant strategic partnerships:
  • Pavilion Group: The Pavilion Group consists of an informal collective of projects and initiatives whose broad aims are to support and enhance teaching and learning in art and design in Higher Education through the application of information technology. The current members are ADAM, CTI Art & Design, DeLiberations on Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, ECSTASY, and GLADNet.
  • Visual Arts Data Service: The VADS, one of the 5 service providers of the Art & Humanities Data Service (AHDS), is ADAM's sister project, and is directed and managed by the same personnel.
  • Access to Network Resources: ADAM is one of 10 ANR projects within the Electronic Libraries Programme.
  • UK Office for Library and Information Networking: ADAM is participating in two UKOLN initiatives, ZEXI & MODELS.
  • Technical Advisory Service for Images, a JISC-funded service.
  • Knowledge Gallery, a Smart Isles and Private Finance Initiative development project with part-funding from JISC.
  • On-line Computer Library Center: ADAM is actively participating in the development of the Dublin Core Metadata Element Set, an initiative managed by OCLC.

ADAM's organisation

The development of ADAM is directed by a Steering Group made up of representatives from the ADAM Consortium Partners, who successfully applied for funding from the Electronic Libraries Programme (or eLib for short) to create the service over a 3-year period. The Consortium Partners are:
  • The Surrey Institute of Art and Design (lead organisation)
  • The University of Northumbria at Newcastle (hosting the WWW server)
  • The National Art Library (a department of the Victoria & Albert Museum)
  • Glasgow School of Art
  • The University of the West of England
  • The Tate Gallery
  • Middlesex University
  • Winchester School of Art
  • Birkbeck College
  • Coventry University
The day-to-day development and operation of the ADAM service is carried out by the ADAM Project Team, who are based at four of the Consortium Partnersí institutions:
  • Tony Gill, ADAM & VADS Programme Leader
  • Rebecca Bradshaw, ADAM Project Development Officer
  • Ann Lennon, ADAM Resource Officer
  • David Buri, ADAM Resource officer
  • Lara Whitelaw, ADAM Assistant

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