Networking the Archive: The Stories and Structures of Thos. Agnew's Stock Books

Laura Noble, Valentina Vavassori, Alan Crookham, Stuart Dunn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This paper reflects on the recent collaboration between the National Gallery Research Centre and the Department of Digital Humanities at King's College London (NG/DDH). Using the stock books located in the archives of the art dealers Thos. Agnew & Sons as an example, NG/DDH sought to address the potential that such archival sources might have in the world of digital research and Digital Asset Management. Building on this research, NG/DDH participated in the Getty Advanced Workshop on Network Analysis and Digital Art History, which encouraged us to think particularly about the role and nature of network analysis in the field of Digital Art History. In this paper we briefly describe the technical process of digitization, and the possibilities opened up by converting the transactional information contained in the stock books into structured data. We then set this in the historical context of network structures, as embodied by the World Wide Web and social media, and especially the distinction that these types of network have entrenched between objects (or persons) and topics (or other abstract entities). We conclude with an argument that problematizing this distinction - which is enshrined in the whole concept of networks and network analysis - is key if this method is to be applied to art history research.

Original languageEnglish
Article number12
JournalACM Journal on Computing and Cultural Heritage
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022


  • Archives
  • cultural heritage
  • digital art history
  • network analysis
  • social media


Dive into the research topics of 'Networking the Archive: The Stories and Structures of Thos. Agnew's Stock Books'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this