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)

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