C. Smith is the Program Head for the Aga Khan Documentation Center at MIT where
she is responsible for creating, developing, and leading a full array of services
and programs in support of faculty, students, and researchers of the Aga Khan
Program for Islamic Architecture and the larger community. Since 1 January
2102, Dr. Smith also serves as Co-Director of Archnet, a globally-accessible,
intellectual resource focused on architecture, urbanism, environmental and
landscape design, visual culture, and conservation issues related to the Muslim
Dr. Smith earned her Ph.D. from the Graduate Program in
History and Theory of Art and Architecture at Binghamton University. Her areas
of specialization include the history of art and architecture of the Middle
East and of Early Modern Italy. Dr. Smith sits on several boards, including
Middle East Outreach Council, and was recently named a Fellow of the Institute,
Tangier American Legation Institute for Moroccan Studies. In addition, Dr.
Smith is the image editor for Muqarnas: An Annual on the Visual Cultures of
the Islamic World. She has lectured widely on issues of documentation,
digitization, and the dissemination of knowledge, as well as on art historical
topics primarily focused on visual and material culture in the Early Modern
See more, including her CV, on Dr. Smith's academia.edu page.
مصاحبهای با شارون اسمیت دربارۀ مراکز اسناد معماری مصاحبه و ترجمه از محمدمهدی طاهری (Sharon Smith's interview about architectural documentation centers, interviews and translations of Mohammad Taheri) Written interview, published by University of
Tehran, "Iran Architectural Studies Students", December 2016. Available on-line at http://koubeh.com/sharon_smith/
The published interview following a request from architecture students at the University of Tehran to the Program Head of the Aga Khan Documentation Center at MIT, Dr. Sharon C. Smith.1 The Iran Architecture Studies Student Community sought information on establishing a
digital archive of Iran architecture at the University of Tehran.
were translated into Farsi (Persian)2 to be published in koube, the magazine
of Iran architectural studies.
The original interview questions are listed here:
are Architectural Documentation Centers and what are the uses of them?
kind of documents can be archived in such centers? Are books, essays,
thesis and dissertation suitable stuffs for document centers?
is the history of architectural documentation centers? Which one was the
first and how did they develop?
you please write about your progress in Aga Khan Center, How did it begin
and how did you collect your documents and after all, how is Aga Khan
Center now? What does it have, What is it doing, and what are your plans
referring to your documents, how is it possible? How does copyright rules
involve documentation centers?
do you evaluate the accuracy and correctness of your documents, for
example in cases like heritage plans?
do you evaluate other centers that archive architectural documents?
are the documents selection methods?
are new technologies in documentation?
ways are the best for easy access and well/easy management to such
inventories with that huge amount of data?
kind of detail or data each document should have in an appropriate
Aga Khan Archive have any rule for archiving documents, such as quality
or point of view of picture? Or should there be any kind of rule or
disciplines for donated or collected documents?
to Aga Khan’s importance in architecture studies, do you have any plan to
ameliorate other countries document centers and inform its proficiency in
order to make a worldwide center?
are some architectural centers in Iran, they are not complete and most of
them still use paper or hardcopy books and documents. Accessing to their
documents is hard and needs physical presence at their place, university
recommendation, sometimes with taking money and even worse with a limit
for sharing documents. This limit in such cases is 4 paper at most! How do
you criticize them and what are the consequences of such acts in your
do you see the future of archiving in modern world or information era? Is
it possible that their importance or their usability reduce?
eventually, what are your guidelines for making a good, useful,
appropriate and accurate data center?
1. Original email to Dr. Smith (email@example.com) from M.M. Taheri, 3 October 2016.