The problem of how to describe works that have multiple creators or authors is an issue that has been identified several times during our research. The Kultur metadata report of March 2009 talks about how collective and collaborative works can become problematic when you need to assign an individual creator to a record in an institutional repository, particularly with regard to REF. Jon Ippolito, in his essay ‘Death by Wall Label’ in 2008, also identifies the problem of ‘variable authorship’ – where collectives might be anonymous and the group name can “…mask the relationship and interaction of the group participants…” or membership of a group changes over time. He also identified the issue of collectives becoming strongly identified with one member:
I have seen, in the worst cases, the instigator of supposedly “egoless” productions getting all the credit for the work of his nameless collaborators.
There is also the weighting of ‘impact’ of collaborative works to consider when deciding what to deposit in a repository, for example in the context of REF, a solo exhibition might be weighted more heavily than a group show.