Saturday, May 31, 2008

More on Images for Academic Publishing

ARTstor continues to expand the Images for Academic Publishing (IAP) service. The recent addition of 1,700 images from The Metropolitan Museum of Art brings the number of images to over 3,300. IAP "seeks to facilitate scholarship in the arts by reducing the costs associated with publishing images in academic journals and similar publications. Image providers participating in IAP have supplied publication-quality images and agreed to make them available free-of-charge for use in scholarly publications. As a service to the community, ARTstor has developed the software to deliver these publication-quality images to users." Scholars affiliated with ARTstor participating institutions may access the IAP images within the ARTstor digital library by entering "IAP" in their search terms. Those working on a specific publication project but who are unaffiliated with an ARTstor participating institution may register for access to IAP. See ARTstor's IAP web page for more information. With initial content provided by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, ARTstor expects that the IAP program will include content from multiple sources.

This is an encouraging development in the context of the recent dialog about images for scholarly research and publication, as well the role of museums as gatekeepers controlling access to images. Kenneth Hamma's 2005 article, "Public Domain Art in an Age of Easier Mechanical Reproducibility," analyzes the benefits that museums would realize by providing broader access to images of works in their collections. Hilary Ballon and Mariet Westermann's 2006 report, "Art History and Its Publications in the Electronic Age," recommends organizing "a campaign to break down barriers to access and distribution of images, in all media and at affordable prices, for scholarly research and publication." Perhaps, along with the Victoria and Albert Museum's decision late in 2006 to drop reproduction fees for scholarly books and journals, The Metropolitan Museum of Art's move represents the beginnings of a culture shift within the museum community.

Image: "Wang Hui and Wang Shimin: Landscapes after Ancient Masters (1989.141.4)". In Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. (October 2006)

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Scholars Resource: High Quality Images for Teaching and Research

To create a copyright-compliant archive of top-quality images for teaching and research, the VRC buys images whenever they are reasonably available from vendors. Scholars Resource currently offers nearly 100,000 images for licensing at the University of Colorado, with over 25,000 more to be added within the next month. The addition of several new members to this vendor consortium makes purchasing beautiful images more convenient than ever (please note that the thumbnails here are visibly watermarked for public display, but not when licensed).

The VRC purchases images upon request for Art and Art History faculty. To build wish lists of images, visit the Scholars Resource web site, and link to create an account under the Log In for Expanded Features section. On that page, enter your e-mail address and a password of your choice. The next page asks you if you are affiliated with an institution - after choosing yes, enter "Boulder" in the keyword search field. This will generate the correct account for our department: University of Colorado: UCB, UCDHSC, and UCCS Boulder, CO United States. Select the institution, and enter the account information on the next page. Click the create account button, and you are ready to start your wish lists.

Under Orders and Wishlists, link to Manage your Lists (this section can also found in under the My Account link at the top of the page). In the Create New List section, enter the wish list title and any comments your want to share. Please limit each list to no more than forty images (perhaps categorized by theme or lecture). When saving your list, please select an option other than "Private List" so that the list will be visible to VRC staff. Upon finding an image of interest on the Scholars Resource site, open it by clicking on the image title, then simply click on the Add to List link underneath the thumbnail. Repeat for up to forty images per list. Note that when you create more than one list, new items are added to the first list as it appears on the Manage your Lists section. To add images to a previous/different list, simply drag the desired wish list to the top of the sequence of lists before adding images that list.

Please send an e-mail to Elaine Paul with the title of your wish list, or if you have any questions about this process.

Below is an overview of the Scholars Resource members with materials available currently on the web site. Three new vendors will be joining within the next month.  Stay tuned for details. This information is also available on the VRC web site (please scroll down to Commercial Image Providers).

The Archivision Digital Archive is a unique and growing collection of architectural images. The archive is intended for in-depth research & analysis by students of architecture, landscape architecture, urban design, archaeology, art and art history.

The Bridgeman archive includes images from museums primarily from western European collections. Highlights of the archive include the Bayeux Tapestry, the Isenheim Altar, the Ghent Altarpiece, and a wide variety of illuminated manuscripts from the Bibliothèque Nationale and other repositories, as well as more unusual works such as the Aztec Codex Borbonicus.

The Davis archive offers a wide range of works from American museums. Well known paintings like Van Gogh's Starry Night at the Museum of Modern Art and the broad selection of Japanese block prints at the Brooklyn Museum of Art illustrate the wealth and breadth of the archive. The Cuzco School, Mughal painting, and historic photography as well as contemporary works are important components of the archive.

The Hartill archive spans the prehistoric caves of Altamira to the wealth of contemporary buildings of the 20th & 21st centuries. Alec Hartill's photography of architecture also includes sculpture, stained glass, mosaic, etc. and his images range from vernacular examples to grand architect-designed structures.

Kenneth Garrett Collection – National Geographic
Scholars Resource is pleased to welcome a new vendor, Kenneth Garrett, with an initial group of images from Egypt and the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. Included are sculpted figures ranging from scribes to pharaohs, objects from the tomb of Tutankhamen, mummies, steles, and jewelry, as well as archaeological digs, quarries, and on-site tombs.

This archive, with photography by Dr. James B. Kiracofe, presently offers images from Spain and Mexico. Architectural examples from Spain include Roman bridges, theaters, and amphitheaters. Islamic examples include Seville's Alcazar and Granada's Alhambra as well as structures in Toledo, Merida, and Cordoba. From Mexico he offers extensive coverage of the Mayan and Zapotec sites. Spanish Colonial architecture in Mexico is well documented, particularly the churches and their distinctive Retablos.

The Saskia archive is well known for its extensive in-depth coverage of works from the major museums in Berlin, Dresden, Paris, Vienna, Madrid, Florence, and Rome. The core art history content provides a solid basis for building courses over time and the multitude of revealing details illustrating texture and technique are particularly useful to a variety of disciplines as well as to art historians and studio artists alike.

Images (L to R): Ron Wiedenhoeft (photographer), Mandala of Vajramrita, detail, from Ngor Monastary, Tibet, 1st half 16th century, Musée Guimet, Paris, Image Vendor: Saskia, Ltd., Scholars Resource Catalog Number Lte-0001; Ron Wiedenhoeft (photographer), Seated Figure with conical face, from Jos Plateau, Nigeria, 500 BCE-500 CE, Musée du Quai Branly, Paris, Image Vendor: Saskia, Ltd., Scholars Resource Catalog Number Jnc-0001; Ron Wiedenhoeft (photographer), Angkor: Khmer (Angkorean) capital and temple complexes, View of central tower, Main Sanctuary, Angkor, Cambodia, 1080-1107 and 1181-ca. 1220, Image Vendor: Saskia, Ltd., Scholars Resource Catalog Number Kca-0031.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Creative Commons Licensing

Perhaps you are a scholar looking for images to use in teaching, on a web site, or in a publication. You may be an artist wishing to create derivative works based on appropriation. Or, you might create work that you wish to share with others without giving up all of your intellectual property rights. The Creative Commons (CC) licensing system provides an alternative to full copyright; it meets the needs of creators who wish to share their work while retaining the rights of their choosing. Creative Commons, a non-profit 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charitable corporation, provides free licenses that address "the spectrum of possibilities between full copyright — all rights reserved — and the public domain — no rights reserved." The Creative Commons web site offers a simple online tool for creators to define their rights. The conditions they can apply include attribution, noncommercial, no derivative works, and share alike (which allows others to distribute the work only under a license identical to that which governs the work). Those seeking content with Creative Commons licenses may search the CC web site. Flickr also provides a search tool to find CC images available on its web site. The "some rights reserved" movement is an important development in the world of intellectual property. It provides more content to more people, helps build collective knowledge, and preserves the rights of creators who are willing to share their work.

Image: Sheryl Dee, Hirosaki Castle, 2008. From Flickr, some rights reserved under a Creative Commons license.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

16 Billion Pixels

Have you seen the 16-billion pixel reproduction of Leonardo's restored Last Supper? Created jointly in 2007 by the Italian Ministry of Cultural Assets and Activities, De Agostini, and HAL9000 (a high-definition photography company), this image boasts pixel dimensions of 172,181 x 93,611. One can zoom into areas as small as a square millimeter to reveal minute cracks and chips that are invisible to those viewing the painting in situ. While the imaging company's ubiquitous and perhaps unavoidable watermarks may detract a bit from the experience, one can still study the Apostles' toes, the tablecloth, and the landscape in the background in close detail. The Last Supper is the most famous of HAL9000's high definition projects, but the company's web site also features an 8.6-billion pixel  image of Gaudenzio Ferrari's 1513 Life of Christ, from S. Maria della Grazie in Varallo Sesia, and a 9.8-billion pixel image of Andrea Pozzo's Glory of St Ignatius Loyola (1691-1694), from San Ignazio in Rome.

Image: Leonardo da Vinci, Last Supper, ca. 1494-1498, Santa Maria delle Grazie, Milan, Italy.  From Wikimedia Commons.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

QTVR (QuickTime Virtual Reality) Resources for Art, Architecture, and Related Fields

QTVR panorama images allow one to view an environment as if surrounded by it. This interactive technology can be especially useful in teaching disciplines such as art, architecture, archaeology, museum studies, and other fields where the important relationships between space and objects are difficult convey with traditional still images.

ARTstor features over 900 QTVR files depicting a broad range of images. These include contributions from Columbia University's QTVR Panoramas of World Architecture, as well as the Mellon International Dunhuang Archive. The images may be found in ARTstor by using the search term 'QTVR.'  To view the files, click on the blue QTVR letters appearing beneath the thumbnails in your search results.

A number of other web sites offer QTVR files depicting art, architecture, and related materials. These include the World Heritage site from UC Berkeley, the Metis Catalog of ancient Greek sites from the Stoa Consortium, and virtual tours of the Louvre. I have begun to compile a list of links in my account, which can be viewed here.  Please feel free to e-mail me with any other QTVR links you may know about.

Image: Tonio Vega, Façade de la cathédrale de Rouen, 2007. From Flickr, some rights reserved under a Creative Commons license.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Image Management Software

As personal digital image collections grow, the need for image management is key. Whether you are organizing your images for lectures, portfolios, job applications or grad school, a well-organized image collection makes the work much easier. There are quite a few image management software programs available for consumers, a selection of which appears below. Some of these programs offer simple image organization, while others offer more sophisticated image editing and database capabilities. Please explore the following links for more information.

For both Mac and PC platforms:
Microsoft Expression Media (formerly iView Media): $299
Photoshop Elements: $99.99
Photoshop Lightroom: $299
Extensis Portfolio: $199.95

For Mac platforms:
iPhoto (bundled with Mac OSX)
Qpict: Standard $35
Aperture: $199

For PC platforms:
Google's Picasa: free
Windows Media Center: bundled with Windows Vista Home Premium or Windows Vista Ultimate

Some free online options for image sharing and backup:
Picasa Web Albums

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Intro to Second Life and Art Education

You have probably heard of Second Life, but you may be surprised to learn about the magnitude and scope of  this rapidly growing 3-D virtual world. The 2 million residents of Second Life (SL), represented "in-world" by customizable avatars, can buy land, construct buildings, run businesses, and communicate using text or voice. Created in 2003, this multi-user virtual environment (MUVE)  offers just about any activity or service that you can imagine in our "real world." There are daily live concerts and performances, shopping malls, role playing sites, international embassies, dance clubs, art galleries, and sex shops. Among the more intriguing developments for teaching and learning in the arts is the rapid growth of sites within SL devoted to education, art, and librarianship. Many universities are purchasing SL properties and offering courses and other resources to their students and the public. An example is Vassar College's virtual recreation of the Sistine Chapel, which allows the viewer to experience the interior of the chapel in the context of space. To visit, one is first prompted to create a free (basic) SL account, then link to the "sURL" that transports users to the site. A growing number of museums have also created an SL presence, such as the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden's Old Masters Picture Gallery of the Dresden State Art Collections.  Visitors who are unable to travel to Dresden can view the 750 permanent pieces of the collection in a true-to-scale clone of the museum.  But Second Life does not lack controversy and criticism.  Educational administrators are expressing growing concerns about ethics and legal liabilities.  Others long for more innovative and revolutionary ways to articulate space and display visual works, which would not be bound by the limitations of real life physics and practices, nor simply replicate real world places.  The tools are in their infancy - much like film mimicked theater in its early days, these virtual worlds are largely expressed with real-world conventions.  It will be fascinating to see how they develop in the coming years.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Online Image Sources

Mining the Internet for images to use in teaching and learning can be daunting and frustrating.  One of many efforts to streamline this process is a wiki created by  Hollin Elizabeth Pagos for the Visual Resources department of Wellesley College.  The Digital Images Collections Wiki is a "resource of Free- and Fair-Use digital image collections that are available for anyone to use for personal or educational purposes."  It consists of a directory of links to web sites containing images, organized primarily by period and geographic region.  The image quality and size vary by source.  Projects such as this are increasingly common, and search results will improve over time as technology provides new tools.  Professional organizations, such as the Visual Resources Association and the Society of Architectural Historians, are working toward shared image resources for academic use.  The VRC maintains a page of image resources for teaching and research, with links to directories, guides, search engines, selected digital image collections.  Suggestions for links are welcome!

Image: Pellegrino di Mariano Rossini, Death of the Pharaoh, ca. 1450, © Kathleen Cohen,

Saturday, March 29, 2008

ARTstor: Images for Academic Publishing (IAP)

To help reduce the expense of publishing images in academic journals and similar publications, ARTstor has initiated the Images for Academic Publishing (IAP) service.  The initial release of nearly 1,700 IAP images comes from The Metropolitan Museum of Art.  They can be found within the ARTstor Digital Library by including "IAP" within search terms.  Participating image providers have agreed to make IAP images available free of charge for qualifying publications, while ARTstor has developed the software to deliver the publication-quality images.  Scholars working on a specific publication but who are unaffiliated with an ARTstor participating institution may register for the IAP service by contacting

With the hope that the IAP initiative will promote scholarship and learning and that early success will encourage widespread participation and support, ARTstor and its partners expect that the IAP will include images from multiple sources over time.  For more information, please see ARTstor's Images for Academic Publishing page.

Image: Terracotta neck-amphora (jar), Greek, Attic, black-figure, Archaic, ca. 540 B.C., Attributed to Exekias, H. 18 1/2 in. (47 cm), diameter 9 3/4 in. (24.8 cm), Rogers Fund, 1917 (17.230.14a, b); Gift of J. D. Beazley, 1927 (27.16) (17.230.14a, b),

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Steve Bailey's Online Tutorials for CU-Boulder Faculty

CU-Boulder faculty members who are not already aware of the great resources available to them on Steve Bailey's web site should take a moment to have a look.  Steve, the Distributed Academic Technology Coordinator for Arts and Humanities at CU, has posted some very helpful tutorials he created, as well as some useful links on his 'references' tab.  The tutorials currently cover topics related to CULearn, CUConnect, CULink, Web Design, and more.  Steve is an excellent source of information for the enterprise software systems at CU, as well as all kinds of academic technologies.

Plain English: Social Bookmarking from Common Craft

The folks at Common Craft are genius at introducing the concepts behind the various facets of Web 2.0 technologies by using short videos.  This example presents social bookmarking in a concise and inspiring way.  Other videos from Common Craft include RSS in Plain English, Social Networking in Plain English, and Wikis Described in Plain English.  Watch them, then go to the web site, create an account, and bookmark the Common Craft site. (with thanks to Meghan Musolff, who shared this resource on the VRA listserv - a daily source of really great information!)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

On the Topic of Flickr...

Check out this groovy application by Jim Bumgardner called Colr Pickr, which searches for Flickr images based on color.  I can click on the thumbnail images and be taken directly to their Flickr pages.  A quote from the web site:  This is either something that designers and photo editors have been waiting their whole lives for, or one of those "I've created this because the Web lets me do it" kinds of things.-- Alex Soojung-Kim Pang

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Library of Congress Slideshow from Flickr

From the LOC's 1930s-40s in Color set. Working on our blogger skills...

Library of Congress on Flickr

In January of this year, the Library of Congress initiated a pilot project on Flickr with two image sets: 1930s-40s in Color photographs were created for the United States Farm Security Administration (FSA) and later the Office of War Information (OWI) between 1939 and 1944, while News in the 1910s images were photographed by the Bain News Service in about 1910-1912.  As of this writing these collections comprise just over 3,200 images, with plans for regular augmentation occurring in batches of 50.  The images were selected for this project in part because existing records about them are minimal, and LC hopes to gain a better understanding of how social tagging and community input might benefit both the Library and users of the collections.  The public is invited to tag these photos, and the response has been phenomenal.  Tens of thousands of tags have been added, and in some cases users have provided LC with valuable information that had been lacking in the scant LC records.  The LC blog reports that as of March 20, they have modified 68 of their bibliographic records thanks to this project.  One example of how the promise of social tagging theory is becoming reality!  LC neither grants nor denies permissions for the use of these images; they present no known publication or distribution restrictions, although privacy rights may apply.  While this project is exciting for the potential of social tagging and the current and possible technical interfaces that a service like Flickr provides, the LC Prints & Photographs Online Catalog still offers access to around a million images on its web site. 

Image: Jack Delano, "Backstage" at the "girlie" show at the Vermont state fair, Rutland, September 1941. From 1930s-40s in Color.

Monday, March 24, 2008

ARTstor Image Downloads

Exciting news from ARTstor: more than 95% of ARTstor's images are now available at a download size of 1024 pixels on the long side.  Additionally, users may zoom and pan to create details of ARTstor images that may also be downloaded at this size.  These screen-sized images may then be used in the presentation software of your choice, such as Keynote or PowerPoint.  Of course, ARTstor's easy-to-use Offline Image Viewer (OIV) software still provides streamlined image presentation tools, with the ability to pan and zoom on the fly during presentations.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

This Page is Under Construction

Come back soon! Maybe not tomorrow, but soon.  Obviously, we are a little short on content at the moment.  We are busy with our new digital image collection!  See our web page for more information.  In the meantime, enjoy this photo of Toni the dog, taken by Elaine in July 2007 at Uxmal, in the Yucatán.  We had encountered him the evening before at our hotel and worried about him, wondering where this poor, sweet, homeless guy slept at night.  The next day, as we stood in the Nunnery with our guide, Jorge Mex, the dog reappeared.  Jorge said, "That's Toni - he lives here.  The guides here named him after our dear friend Antonio, because he is such a kind dog."  We felt much better knowing that Toni had a name and loved ones, and later that afternoon we were happily surprised to find him snoozing inside the temple at the top of the Great Pyramid.  

Image: Elaine Paul, Toni the Dog at the Top of the Great Pyramid, Uxmal, Yucatán, Mexico, July, 2007.