Saturday, November 14, 2009

ARTstor's Offline Image Viewer

ARTstor has just released an updated version of the Offline Image Viewer (OIV) for Macs, which is compatible with the new Snow Leopard operating system.  If you are not familiar with ARTstor's OIV, it is a very nice piece of (free) software that allows ARTstor users to present high-resolution images from ARTstor's digital library in combination with personal images.  Akin to PowerPoint, the OIV is a more streamlined program intended for image presentations specifically.  Once you have imported your images into a presentation, you can choose to share them in a very quick and simple mode by double clicking on the first image in the Image Palette section.  Or you may wish to create authored slides with titles and other text, details, side by side comparisons, etc.  In either mode you can choose to zoom and pan on the fly during presentations.  Image groups downloaded from ARTstor into the OIV travel with their descriptive data, which your can refer to and use in different ways when preparing and presenting the images.  You can also import existing PowerPoint presentations into the OIV.  Of course, if you prefer another presentation tool, such as PowerPoint or Keynote, ARTstor does allow screen-sized downloads of the vast majority of its images.

ARTstor users may download the OIV by registering for a personal account in ARTstor.  When logged in go to Tools > Download offline presentation tool.  If you are downloading the updated version for Macs, please note that ARTstor recommends that you uninstall the previous version before downloading and installing the updated version.

For more information about the OIV, have a look at ARTstor's help section.  The VRC also encourages faculty and students in the Department of Art and Art History to ask us questions anytime.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Rhizome's ArtBase

If you're interested in new media art, be sure to check out Rhizome's ArtBase.  This growing online collection currently showcases over 2,500 works dating back to 1997.  Rhizome is the eminent new media arts organization affiliated with the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York.  It defines new media art as "contemporary art that uses emerging technologies in significant ways."  These works include net art, software art, computer games, and documentation of new media performance and installation.

You can browse the latest additions on the ArtBase home page, and also browse the entire collection by artist, title, keyword, or date.  Rhizome is currently working on a redesign for ArtBase, and welcomes suggestions via an online survey.

The ArtBase selection criteria include that works are "of potential historical significance."  The curatorial staff evaluates this by looking at:
  • the work's aesthetic innovation, conceptual sophistication or political impact
  • the work's relevance to the discourse of new media art
  • any discussion of the work itself on or other relevant networks or publications
  • the work's place in the artist or artists' oeuvre
  • the work's provenance, including commissions, exhibitions and collections
ArtBase features work by our department's own Mark Amerika, as well as a number of other artists with ties to the CU-Boulder Department of Art and Art History, such as Rick Silva, Timothy Weaver, Michael Arnold Mages, and Joseph Farbrook.

Image: Scott Hessels, The Image Mill: Sustainable Cinema #1, 2009. Photo by Joel Swierenga.  Featured in ArtBase.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The App Garden at Flickr

The hugely popular photo sharing site Flickr has reconfigured its Services page as the The App Garden, a directory of applications built by external developers.  These applications access Flickr images and features (such as tags and groups), and present them in novel ways.  I've mentioned a few of these before (here, here, and here, for example).   Now you can browse a growing number of these tools in the Apps We've Noticed section, or explore them with tags or keyword searches.  There is also information about developers and for developers interested in creating these third-party applications.

Flickr provides its open API (application program interface) to developers so they can approach Flickr content in new and creative ways.  Some cool examples I discovered in my visit to the App garden are Downloadr, for downloading batches of Flickr images at the largest size designated by their creators; Bookr, for creating photobooks using Flickr images; and Flickriver, for viewing a seamless stream of photos on a black background, without having to hit 'next' to reload the next page.  If you are a Flickr user you'll find it worthwhile to spend a little time poking around The App Garden -- you are sure to discover something useful.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

VideoSurf: New Tools in Video Search Technology

Who hasn't been frustrated from time to time by searching for videos on sites like YouTube, then having to repeat those fruitless searches on other sites?  Text tags are often insufficient for locating the material you seek.   There are frequently duplicate results, not to mention increasing amounts of spam to wade through.  Video searching is a challenge that a number of start-up companies have been attempting to solve.  One exciting example is VideoSurf, which is a metasearch engine that lets you find videos with a single query from a variety of sources (YouTube, Hulu, Metacafe, Yahoo! Video, Fancast, Comedy Central,  and many more).  Still in beta, it's VideoSurf's ability to see inside videos which is its most promising feature.  It can see clips frame by frame, and with its facial recognition technology VideoSurf can return results that a text search alone wouldn't find.  When you conduct a search in VideoSurf, each result is displayed with a sequence of thumbnails from the clip.  You can select a thumbnail to start the video at that point.  It also minimizes duplicate results by recognizing and grouping them, and has the ability to detect spam videos.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Turning the Pages at the British Library

Have you ever been frustrated by the glass separating you and a rare book in a display case? Then you will appreciate that the British Library makes a number of its most important books available online with its interactive Turning the Pages technology. This simulates the experience of actually flipping through the books page by page.  Choose from titles such as Vesalius's famous anatomy treatise, de Humanis corporis fabrica; Simon Bening's fifteenth-century Flemish manuscript, the Golf Book; William Blake's notebook; Leonardo's Codex Arundel; and many more.  The impressive viewing tool offers features that allow you to zoom, pan, rotate, view annotations, and listen to audio information.  Depending on your computer's operating system, you may be prompted to download a free and quick plug-in to use the Turning the Pages software.

The British Library's Turning the Pages software is also used by a increasing number of other libraries around the world, including the National Library of Medicine,  the Wellcome Library, and the Natural History Museum.  Good news for students and scholars, who might have access to much of the content in other formats, but without the cohesive context provided by these virtual book experiences.

Image: Depictions of the noble house Zion with its parterres, ponds, gardens and woods belonging to the well and noble-born lord, the lord of Hogendorp, Receiver General of the United Netherlands, Bailiff and Dikegraf of the town and barony of Steenbergen etc.Dutch Baroque Gardens, 1718-1748.  From Turning the Pages, the British Library.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Request VRC images

Are you a student or faculty member in the Department of Art and Art History in need of digital images?  If you have checked ARTstor and the CU Digital Library to no avail, the Visual Resources Center can help.  We can scan images from published sources such as books and journals under the fair use provision of US copyright law.  Images that we scan are cataloged and made available in our digital image collection.  While the VRC prefers a two-week turnaround with a maximum of 40 images per two-week period, we will do our best to accommodate rush orders.  See our Web site for more information.  If you only have a few images, we can likely help with a day or two's notice.  For the DIY crowd, we also have self-serve scanning stations in our facility, with training available by appointment.

The VRC licenses images from vendors whenever possible.  Purchasing images offers several significant advantages: superior quality, support for the marketplace, and relative ease of in-house processing.  Scholars Resource is a consortium of many vendors who make their images available in a single place -- have a look at their wide variety of content and let us know if you have a purchase request!

Friday, October 16, 2009

University of Colorado Digital Library

The University of Colorado Digital Library (CU-DL) is a teaching and research resource which has evolved from the collaboration of libraries and academic units across the CU system.  The University Libraries provides open access to its growing collections, such as Once Upon a Time: Historical and Illustrated Fairy Tales, Aerial Photographs of Colorado, and the Publishers' Bindings Collection.  The College of Architecture and Planning's Colorado Architecture Collection is also available to all.  Current students and faculty at CU who seek images of other images of art, architecture, and related visual culture may visit the collections provided by the Department of Art and Art History, the College of Arts and Media, and the College of Architecture and Planning.  Due to copyright access to these collections is limited to the CU community.

In addition to the collections created at the University of Colorado, the CU-DL provides access to numerous other collections housed in the same software platform, which is Luna Imaging's Insight.    These include the David Rumsey Historical Map Collection, the Hoover Institution Archives Poster Collection, the John Carter Brown Library Archive of Early American Images, the Estate Project for Artists with AIDS, and many more.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Looking for nice images of contemporary ceramics by recognized artists? Check out the growing collection at accessCeramics. A collaborative pilot project at Lewis & Clark College, it was created by the Visual Resources Collection of Watzek Library and the Art Department. It is "designed for use by artists, arts educators, scholars and the general public, and is intended to fill a void in contemporary ceramics digital image collections on the web." Juried submissions are available through Flickr pages and through the accessCeramics Web site, where access is enhanced by descriptive metadata which allow browsing and searching by artist, glazing/surface, material, object type, technique, and temperature. There are currently 151 artists contributing 2,464 images, numbers which will continue to grow in the coming months and years. Those of you with ties to the Department of Art and Art History at CU-Boulder may recognize the work of Tsehai Johnson and Jessica Knapp. Of course our department boasts many great ceramic talents, both current faculty and alumni, who are all encouraged to submit their work to accessCeramics. This is a fantastic example of academic innovation and collaboration, which over time will only become more useful as a research and teaching tool.

Image: Jessica Knapp, Memorial Wreath (detail), 2007. From accessCeramics, also available on Flickr, some rights reserved under a Creative Commons license.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Every Van Gogh Letter Now Available Online

All 902 surviving letters to and from Vincent van Gogh are now available in a database online at Vincent van Gogh: The Letters. This incredible resource is the result of a collaboration over many years between the Van Gogh Museum and the Huygens Institute. In addition to keyword and advanced searches, one can browse by period, correspondent, place, or by those letters which include sketches. The page for each letter includes two columns, each containing the same set of information for easy comparisons: tabs with the original text transcribed; the option to view the text with numbered line endings; a facsimile with a link to detailed information about its physical description; an English translation; scholarly notes; and artworks by Van Gogh and others referred to within that letter. Clicking on the facsimile opens a viewer window where one can zoom into close detail on each folio.

The powerful advanced search feature allows you to search by some predictable parameters such as date, correspondent, and location. It also provides the opportunity to search by person, literature, work of art, and bible reference mentioned in the letters -- entering the first three letters of a search term prompts a list to appear from which you can select your search term.

The site contains a large amount of contextual information, with biographical and historical backgrounds, a chronology, concordance, bibliography, glossary, maps, and much more. Those wishing to make the most of this resource will want to spend a few minutes with the very useful Quick guide. Anyone with an interest in Van Gogh or digital libraries will be impressed and inspired by this site, which was launched in conjunction with the exhibition Van Gogh's Letters: The Artist Speaks. Kudos to the Van Gogh Museum and the Huygens Institute!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Universal Photographic Digital Imaging Guidelines (UPDIG)

Digital photographers, image managers, artists, instructors who teach with digital images, and various commercial and non-profit entities who solicit digital image submissions all care about the quality and consistency of digital images as they transfer among devices, formats, and platforms. The Universal Photographic Digital Imaging Guidelines (UPDIG) working group maintains excellent information for all of these interested parties. This group, a consortium of digital imaging professionals, related trade groups, and manufacturers, exists to promote international standards and best practices in digital imaging. The UPDIG guidelines are available in PDF or HTML format, and address digital asset management, color profiling, metadata, and photography workflow (note that UPDIG recommends the PDF files for their superior formatting and readability).

The Universal Quick Guide is an introductory overview on color management, monitor calibration, color space, resolution, file formats, file naming, sharpening, embedded metadata, file delivery, CMYK guide prints and verifiable proofs, archiving, and digital imaging workflow. The Photographers Guidelines explore these topics in much greater depth.

The Image Receivers Guidelines exist to address the common problem of inconsistency in digital image submissions. As noted in the "about" section of the document, "while end users usually have specific criteria for image submission, they often lack clear, consistent terminology for communicating those guidelines. As a result, photographers submit digital images in a variety of image formats, with various resolutions, camera types, color profiles, metadata schemas, sharpening and tonal correction." This document intends to help those who accept image submissions establish specific guidelines, with a recommendation for presenting a checklist based on best practices contained in the report.

Image: Dashitnow, Green Photographer, 2008. From Flickr, some rights reserved under a Creative Commons license.

Friday, October 2, 2009

AlternativeTo: Find Free Software Alternatives

Looking for free alternatives to Photoshop, Microsoft Office, or Dreamweaver? The site AlternativeTo makes it easy to find a wide variety of replacements for these and many more commercial software packages.

One can limit searches to programs available for Windows, Mac, or Linux operating systems, or online platforms if preferred. One can also browse by "most views," "most likes," recent additions, or applications waiting for alternatives suggestions. Conducting a search on a specific program yields a description of the key features of that software, accompanied by a list of its alternatives.

AlternativeTo is continually updated with user-generated suggestions, comments, and votes. Alternatives to a particular software selection are listed in order of user community "likes," with links to user comments where available. As a user, you are invited to "get involved" by suggesting your own alternatives to an application or suggesting changes to the application's entry. This is a wonderful and very useful example of the ReadWrite Web!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Localize Your Flickr Images and Search for Others is an easily installed, free bookmarklet "that enables mapping, geocoding and geotagging directly in your Flickr photo page." A bookmarklet is a small program you can keep in your browser's bookmarks or post in a Web page. Geocoding is providing geographic data, such as latitude and longitude or place names, to maps and other items. Geotagging is assigning these kinds of data to files like photographs and videos. combines these technologies with Google Maps' API (application program interface) to let you geotag your images so that others can see where the photographs were taken. The localize bookmarklet is available here. Once you have saved the bookmarklet to your browser, simply:

1) open one of your Flickr photos
2) click on the bookmarklet in your browser menu
3) click on "Search Place"
4) enter a location and voilà, your image is geotagged.

You can also search for everyone's geotagged images in a Google Maps interface at the Web site.

From the developer, here are the key features of the bookmarklet:
  • Place Search: Find your places all around the world.
  • Address Search: Street-level accuracy for US, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Japan.
  • Fast Google Map Interface: Smooth zoom, large controls, map/satellite/hybrid mode.
  • Fullscreen mode: Explore our world with maximum browser space.
  • Link in Description: Let others see where your pictures were taken.
  • Remember location: Your last saved view will be stored for later geotagging.
  • Map everyone's photos: Run the bookmarklet on geotagged photos from your friends.
  • Shortcut GeoCoder: Try searching for "nyc" or "10101".
  • Longitude/Latatide input: Map values like "N 40°45', W 73°59'" or "40.75, -73.98".
  • EXIF data extraction: Auto transform of GPS injected data.
and the key features of the Web site:
  • Tag Cloud: Filter results by specific topics.
  • Find People: See where your or your friends have been.
  • Place Search: Find any place all around the world.
  • Fast Map Interface: Smooth zoom, map/satellite/hybrid mode.
  • Full screen Preview: See your photos in high quality.
  • Shareable URLs: Copy and send dynamic anchors

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

JISC Posts New Guides to Moving Images

JISC has just shared three new video guides: the Basic Guide to Videoing Interviews, the Basic Guide to Videoing Lectures, and the Basic Guide to the Flip. These supplement the materials JISC already provides in its Advice on Moving Images page. Here you will find a wealth of information on creating, managing, finding, and using moving image resources. These include the Basic Guide to Shooting Video and many other sections on topics such as digital video file types, animated graphics, metadata, transcoding, digitization workflow, and online delivery options.

Image: Mika Hiironniemi, Video Shoot, 2008. From Flickr, some rights reserved under a Creative Commons license.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

World Digital Library

The World Digital Library, launched in April of this year, is a project initiated by the Library of Congress in collaboration with UNESCO and a number of international partner institutions, companies, and foundations. An online collection representing cultural heritage from around the world, the WDL seeks to promote cross-cultural awareness and understanding. Over 30 contributing collections provide access to digital materials that include manuscripts, maps, rare books, musical scores, recordings, films, prints, photographs, and architectural drawings.

Navigation tools and content descriptions are provided in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. In addition to open-ended searches, one can browse and narrow searches by place, time, topic, type of item, or contributing institution. Special features include "interactive geographic clusters, a timeline, advanced image-viewing and interpretive capabilities."

Image: Detail from a nara-ehon manuscript, The Origin of Tenjin. Japanese, 1596-1615. From the World Digital Library.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

New Features in ARTstor

ARTstor has recently released some new features. From their announcements:

Save detail to image group
You will now see an icon in the ARTstor Image Viewer that allows you to zoom in and save a particular detail of an image to an image group. With this new feature, full views and multiple details of an image may appear together in any given group, as well as be exported for use in the Offline Image Viewer (OIV) or PowerPoint. This ability to save and share multiple views of the same image helps to meet the many teaching, research, and presentation needs of the ARTstor community. Learn more.

Nested folders
ARTstor has also enhanced the functionality of folders in the Digital Library. Instructor-level users can now create nested sub-folders that can be moved easily from one folder to another by dragging and dropping. For example, you may build draft versions of your image groups in a private folder and simply drag them to a public folder when they are ready to be shared. The addition of nested folders allows you to organize ARTstor content in ways that are meaningful and intuitive to you. Learn more

Export to PowerPoint (Beta)
This feature is currently in Beta. It is only available to Instructor Level users at this time. Learn more about Instructor Privileges.

1. Log into your ARTstor account and open an image group containing 100 or fewer images.
Above the image group thumbnails, towards the right side of the screen you will see the export to PowerPoint button (image:Download_ppt.png). Click this.
3. A window will appear telling you how many images you can download in the current 120 day period. Click Yes to proceed. In Beta testing this will be limited to 1000 images per 120 days.
4. A new window will appear with a progress bar as your PowerPoint2007 presentation file is generated. This may take several minutes, depending on the group size.

5. A new window will appear. Follow the prompts to SAVE the file to your computer. Once you have saved the .pptx file you can open and edit it using Microsoft PowerPoint 2007. Each image will appear on its own slide, with the image data in the notes field below each slide.

For more information about using these new features, please contact ARTstor's User Services team at

Monday, September 14, 2009

New Functionality in Google Image Search

Google has been adding new functionality to its image searches. The "show options" link that appears with search results gives the user the opportunity to restrict searches on size, type, and color. Size now includes a broader range of options, from "medium" and "large," to "larger than" a range of pixel dimensions and megapixel sizes. It also allows the user to search for specific image size and proportion by entering precise pixel dimensions. Type choices comprise faces, photos, clip art, or line drawings. Color options include full color, black and white, or specific colors from a small menu of choices -- this yields image results which prominently feature shades of the selected color. This option, while a welcome development, is still primitive when compared to other online tools (see Idée's Multicolr Search Lab, for example).

The Advanced Image Search repeats most of this functionality (no color menu option), but additionally permits:
  • Content types: allows the user to find images from the news, in addition to faces, photos, clip art, and line drawings.
  • Aspect ratio: returns images with aspect ratios that are tall, square, wide, or panoramic.
  • Filetypes: yields image files formatted as JPG, GIF, PNG, or BMP.
  • Domain: lets one search a particular site or domain.
  • Usage Rights: returns images that are labeled for reuse, including for commercial use with or without modification.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Contemporary Art in the VRC Image Collection

The VRC digital image collection focuses on materials that relate to the curriculum of the Department of Art and Art History. In addition to images of works by our faculty, graduate students, and artists from the Visiting Artist Program, the VRC acquires other images related to our faculty's teaching and research interests -- specifically those that are difficult to obtain in other places. Recent additions to the collection include hundreds of images of contemporary art, with a special focus on sculpture and installations. The artists represented are too numerous to list, but sources for images include vendors and fair-use scans from books. Some examples of recent sources are:
  • Judith Collins, Sculpture Today (2007)
  • Hugh Davies, Blurring the Boundaries : Installation Art, 1969-1996 (1996)
  • Nicolas De Oliveira, Installation Art in the New Millennium (1999)
  • Jiehong Jiang and Saatchi Gallery, The Revolution Continues: New Art in China (2006)
  • La Biennale de Venezia, Think with the Senses, Feel with the Mind: Art in the Present Tense (2007)
  • Whitney Museum of American Art, Biennial Exhibition (1997)
  • Armand Hammer Museum of Art and Cultural Center, Thing: New Sculpture from Los Angeles (2005)
Stop by the VRC if you have questions about how to search for these kinds of materials effectively in our collection. We also welcome suggestions for our image collection from our faculty and students.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Photoshop Video Tutorials

Perhaps you a foreign leader who needs to brush up on your Photoshop skills for some nationalistic propaganda. Maybe you work at the art desk of an advertising agency and would like to curtail your airbrush abuse or avoid unfortunate monstrosities. Or you might simply be interested in learning and experimenting with Photoshop tools. Hongkiat has just posted links to 56 Absolutely Brilliant and Intriguing Photoshop Video Tutorials at The hyperbolic name and some very cheesy images and effects aside, you may find some good material here. These video tutorials are easy to follow, with topics that include How to Apply Texture to Uneven Surfaces, Gritty Photo Effect, Vanishing Objects with Clone Tool, and 53 more! But please use these skills wisely and responsibly. Just because you can simulate water droplets or create a burnt map effect, doesn't mean you should.

Image: Dave Cross, Gritty Photo Effect, from Planet Photoshop

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Welcome, Meredith Kahn, new Art and Architecture Librarian at the University of Colorado

The Visual Resources Center extends a very warm welcome to Meredith Kahn, the new Art & Architecture Research & Instruction Librarian with the University Libraries at the University of Colorado at Boulder. We are thrilled that Meredith, an alumna of our department and of the University of Michigan, has returned to Boulder. Meredith also happens to have been a graduate assistant in the VRC during her studies at CU, so we can personally vouch for her intelligence and dedication to the field. We know that she is going to continue with the tradition of excellence left by her predecessor, Jennifer Parker.

Meredith's position began yesterday (September 1st), and already she is busy with faculty requests for instruction. I asked Meredith to share a few words about her philosophy of reference and instruction, as well as what services and resources she offers to faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students:

"My philosophy of reference and instruction... I see myself as a partner with students and faculty, helping to teach skills that can be adapted to a variety of research needs. I want to empower you so that you feel comfortable approaching both resources you're familiar with and things you've never used before. I also want you to feel comfortable asking for help. I'm here to help you, and I love doing it.

What can I do for...

--Faculty: help you with finding books, articles, and other resources; purchasing books for the collection to support teaching and research; providing in-class instruction to teach your students how to use all of the research resources available to them here at CU;

--Graduate students: helping you find books, articles, and other resources for your coursework, thesis, or project; discussing your research topics to help you find appropriate resources and focus your search for materials; purchasing books for the collection to support teaching and research; providing in-class instruction to teach your students how to use all of the research resources available to them here at CU;

--Undergraduate students: providing an overview of what's available to you here at CU (books, journals, electronic resources, etc.); teaching you how to use these resources effectively to improve your papers and projects; teaching you how to properly cite materials; helping you determine which resources will be most useful for your needs; showing you tips and tricks to save you time and energy.

In a nutshell, if there's something you need, I can help you find it. If we don't already own it, I can buy it. If there's something you don't know how to do, I can teach you. If you've got an idea for a paper or project, but don't know where to start, I'm happy to help.

You can always contact me via email ( or phone (303-492-3966, or 2-3966 on campus). Once I get settled in, I hope to start holding regular office hours. Also, I'll eventually be available via IM."

Meredith is going to be a fantastic resource to all members of our department. We are very fortunate that she is here, and the Visual Resources Center looks forward to further exploring the collaborative possibilities that exist between ourselves and the Libraries.

Welcome, Meredith!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

New York Public Library's Digital Gallery

The New York Public Library provides access to over 700,000 images digitized from the Library's holdings through its Digital Gallery. Items include illuminated manuscripts, historical maps, vintage posters, rare prints, photographs, illustrated books, postcards, and more. Contents may be browsed via the collections guides, broad subject categories (Arts & Literature; Cities & Buildings; Culture & Society; History & Geography; Industry & Technology; Nature & Science; and Printing & Graphics), Subjects, Names, and Library Divisions. Keyword and advanced search options are available.

Scholars and students across the humanities, social sciences, and sciences are sure to find materials of interest in the Digital Gallery. The diverse collections represented are too numerous to list here, but they include:
  • Africana & Black History
  • After Columbus: Four-hundred Years of Native American Portraiture
  • Changing New York: Photographs by Berenice Abbott, 1935-1938
  • Classic Illustrated Zoologies and Related Works, 1550-1900
  • Ellis Island Photographs from the Collection of William Williams, Commissioner of Immigration, 1902-1913
  • Icons and Images of Cultures: Plate Books from the Russian Empire, Early Soviet Russia, and Eastern Europe, 1730-1935
  • Illuminated Hebrew Manuscripts
  • The Luso-Hispanic New World in Early Prints and Photographs
  • Medieval and Renaissance Illuminated Manuscripts from Western Europe
  • The Middle East and in Early Prints and Photographs
  • Nature Illustrated: Flowers, Plants, and Trees, 1550-1900
  • A New Nation: The Thomas Addis Emmet Collection of Illustrations Relating to the American Revolution and Early United States History
  • Ornament and Pattern: Pre-Victorian to Art Deco
  • Pictures of Science: 700 Years of Scientific and Medical Illustration
  • Picturing America, 1497-1899: Prints, Maps, and Drawings bearing on the New World Discoveries and on the Development of the Territory that is now the United States
  • Posters of the Russian Civil War, 1918-1922
  • Russia and Eastern Europe in Rare Photographs, 1860- 1945
  • Samuel Putnam Avery Print Collection and Related Works
  • Turn of the Century Posters
  • William Blake: Illustrated Books
  • Woman Suffrage and Feminism Photographs in the Schwimmer-Lloyd Collection
  • Wonders: Images of the Ancient World
  • World War I Photograph Albums and Postcards
  • Yiddish Theatre Placards: Buenos Aires and New York
  • and much more!
Image: Kitagawa, Utamaro, 1753?-1806. Nibijin ude-zumô (Arm-wrestling between two beauties). ca. 1793. From the New York Public Library, Digital Gallery.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Images from the History of Medicine

The National Library of Medicine's History of Medicine Division has launched its image collection in a new software platform by Luna Imaging. Images from the History of Medicine comprises nearly 70,000 images dating from the 15th through the 21st centuries, with a particular strength in pre-World War II materials. Items include "portraits, photographs, caricatures, genre scenes, posters, and graphic art illustrating the social and historical aspects of medicine." The collection is of interest to a range of disciplines beyond medicine, including the arts, humanities, and social sciences. Materials include:

"portraits of health professionals and biomedical scientists; views of health institutions, such as hospitals and medical schools; fine prints with medically related themes; and images reproduced from the NLM rare book and manuscript collections. There are smaller numbers of illustrations of anatomy, medical techniques, and diseases, chiefly derived from rare book illustrations, such as Andreas Vesalius' De Humani Corporis Fabrica. Subjects include medieval astrology, World War I hospitals, international efforts to overcome drug abuse, and sexually transmitted diseases, among others. Of particular note is the fine prints collection, numbering more than 3,000 items, including several hundred caricatures on medically related subjects by Honoré Daumier, George Cruikshank, Thomas Rowlandson, and Louis Léopold Boilly. The poster collection of approximately 12,000 items includes representative examples of historical and contemporary posters dealing with public health issues, such as AIDS, smoking, illicit drugs, and sexually transmitted diseases, as well as several hundred posters documenting activities at the National Institutes of Health."

See the NLM announcement here for more information.

Image: Hull, Edward. Death saw two players playing at cards.. 1827. From Images from the History of Medicine.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Pathfinder: New Virtual Tour of the Art Institute of Chicago

The Art Institute of Chicago has just launched an interactive floor plan called Pathfinder. This tool allows one to explore the entire floor plan, with links to works of art and their catalog information, panorama views of galleries, and exhibitions and events. Events include daily programming such as gallery talks and tours. Available in both English and Spanish, this is an innovative way to present the museum to those who may not be able to visit in person, as well as those who may be planning visits. The Art Institute plans to include gallery views of its entire collection as the museum's renovations proceed in the coming months.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Can You (or Your Students) Afford Not to Know About Free Photoshop Alternatives?

Yet another profile and assessment of Photoshop alternatives has appeared: Free Alternatives to Photoshop With All the Bells, Whistles, Filters, & Layers, by Jolie O'Dell on ReadWriteWeb. O'Dell reviews 1) Photofiltre, 2) Paint.NET, 3) The GIMP, 4) Aviary, 5) Splashup, 6) flauntR, and 7) FotoFlexer. And here yet another reviewer finds GIMP to be a superior choice. "All things being equal, there's not a lot we can say to criticize GIMP. As an open source app, it is subject to continuous rounds of improvement; there is no free app that will duplicate the Photoshop experience as well as GIMP will."

Even if you already own Photoshop, you may want to keep these resources in mind for your students, who will surely appreciate knowing about free and open source alternatives. A couple of recent and related entries on this blog are worth mentioning, too. One post is about a SitePoint article on 19 Impressive Online Image Editors (many of which are free), and the other post is about GimpShop, a free modification of the GIMP that's intended to replicate the feel of Photoshop.

Via Ellyssa Kroski at iLibrarian.

Image: from Jolie O'Dell, Free Alternatives to Photoshop With All the Bells, Whistles, Filters, & Layers

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Finding Images on Flickr: Advice Document from JISC

JISC (Joint Information Systems Committee) has just released an advice document, Finding Images on Flickr. With hints on using images you find on Flickr, sorting your search results, date searching, finding images using maps, finding photos taken by specific camera models, subscribing to photo feeds, and more, this document contains a lot of useful information. A section on further resources provides related links such as JISC's Photo Sharing Sites and Images in Blogs and Wikis, Flickr's How to get the most out of Flickr, and Creative Commons' Questions for people thinking about using a Creative Commons-licensed work.

Image: johnb/uk, old/cameras, 2009. From Flickr, some rights reserved under a Creative Commons license.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

VRC Flickr Page: New Building and DMB Collective Images

The VRC has posted images on Flickr of our latest tour of the new Visual Arts Complex building (June 30) and of the July 3rd DMB Collective show opening at Vertigo in Denver. Please visit the VRC's Flickr group page to see these snapshots.

To view the latest VAC images as a set, enter "June tour" in the "search this group's pool" field at the upper right. When you get the search results you can scroll through them in "slideshow" mode by clicking on the Slideshow link on the right side of the page. To view the DMB opening images as a set, enter "DMB" in "search this group's pool."

If you are a faculty or staff member, student, or alumnus/a of the Department of Art and Art History, please consider joining the "Visual Resources, Art and Art History, CU-Boulder" group. You need to register for a free Flickr account in order to join the group and contribute content.

Friday, July 10, 2009

ARTstor Celebrates One Million Images

ARTstor celebrates its fifth anniversary and one millionth image this month. ARTstor has come a long way since its launch of 300,000 images in July of 2004. ARTstor's latest newsletter outlines some of the important developments that have occurred in ARTstor, as well as the exciting plans in store.

Subscribers can now download images at screen size for use in PowerPoint. ARTstor now offers over 350,000 images of modern and contemporary art. Scholars can take advantage of the Images for Academic Publishing services at no charge. One of the most promising developments in the works is Shared Shelf, an enterprise cataloging and image management system that works in conjunction with ARTstor, which institutions will use to provide more seamless access to visual resources.

In just a few years ARTstor has become an integral resource for many disciplines at the University of Colorado. Congratulations to ARTstor on an incredible five years, and many thanks to ARTstor for listening and responding so effectively to the user community.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Howard Rheingold: Crap Detection 101

Here's a little more on information literacy. Howard Rheingold's recent article, Crap Detection 101, is full of great tips for wading through online "toxic badinfo" and identifying credible information online.

These tips include for finding out who owns a Web site, for verifying online facts, Newstrust for news literacy tools, and many others.

As one commenter noted, Rheingold's article failed to mention that librarians are excellent at detecting and filtering out bad information. Remember that the Research and Instruction librarians at the University Libraries are experts at helping faculty and students with research questions. In addition to walk-in inquiries at the research desk, their "Ask Us" service offers consultations by e-mail, phone, or chat.

Image: Justin Hall, Howard Rheingold, from Howard Rheingold's Web site.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

ArtBabble: Online Videos About Art

If you are looking for online video content about art, be sure to check out ArtBabble. Launched earlier this spring by the Indianapolis Museum of Art, ArtBabble is "intended to showcase video art content in high quality format from a variety of sources and perspectives."

Now partnering with IMA is Art21, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and the New York Public Library. IMA intends to continue adding content from these and other institutions, hoping that it will become an online destination for videos about art.

Videos on the Web site may be found by keyword searching or by browsing different categories. The "Series" tab includes Shaping the New Century: An International Design Symposium, Behind the Scenes at MoMA, Art21--Exclusive, NYPL: Design by the Book, Roman Art from the Louvre Webisodes, and more. The "Channels" tab contains alphabetically arranged keywords for finding content on the site, each of which is accompanied by the number of relevant videos in parentheses. Examples include Ancient Art (17), Ceramics (4), Contemporary Art (93), Exhibitions (51), Film (5), Painting (10), Talks (23), and Video Art (4). The "Artists" tab contains a list of over 150 artists currently represented by videos on the site. This includes contemporary artists, such as Lita Albuquerque, Dawoud Bey, Chuck Close, Ann Hamilton, Jenny Holzer, Alex Katz, William Kentridge, Kerry James Marshall, Pipilotti Rist, Jessica Stockholder, and Richard Tuttle. It also includes some historical figures, such as Georges Braque, Giorgio de Chirico, Paul Gauguin, and Piet Mondrian. The "Partners" tab enables browsing by the project partners listed above.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Twitter Search in Plain English from Common Craft

Common Craft has recently released a new video: Twitter Search in Plain English. As with their other videos, Common Craft uses charming paper prototyping and plain talk to provide an overview of the topic in a short and concise way. It's a follow-up to their Twitter in Plain English introduction.

I have mentioned Common Craft before -- they have created a range of these videos on technology topics such as social bookmarking, RSS feeds, wikis, and podcasting. See their Web site for more examples.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Tech Overload

While the technology of social networking sites has allowed us to teach and interact in ways that were unthought of a decade ago, there is growing concern that we are spending too much time 'wired' to other humans as opposed to interacting face to face. The health awareness journal Energy Times recently put out an insightful article, Our Rewired Brains, illustrating the pros and cons of using technology as our primary means of connecting to other people.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Web 2.0 ... The Machine is Us/ing Us

Almost all of us have heard the term "Web 2.0," perhaps ad nauseum. If you are not sure what this term means, don't worry -- you are not alone. Here is a must-see short video created by Michael Wesch, Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Kansas State University: Web 2.0 ... The Machine is Us/ing Us. While Wesch released the final version in March of 2007 (eons ago in technology time), it is still remarkably fresh. In less than five minutes, Wesch has captured the essence of Web 2.0 and its social and cultural implications. It's well worth your time!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Data Visualization and Mashups: Tag Galaxy

Data visualization and mashups are both hot technology topics, and we might encounter and use them frequently without even recognizing them. Data visualization is simply the representation of data in visual form. Mashups may be defined very generally to mean the combination of elements to create new entities and services. Among other things, mashups might occur in Web applications, music, or videos. A good example of a Web application that embodies both data visualization and mashup technology is Tag Galaxy. It is one of many Web applications that take advantage of Flickr's open API (Application Program Interface), which allows third parties to access and manipulate images and data within Flickr to create new applications with novel functionality (i.e., mashups). Tag Galaxy invites you to search for a Flickr tag (a keyword that a Flickr user has assigned), and renders the search results of matching Flickr tags and related tags visually like a solar system (i.e., data visualization). This allows a user to observe the relationships among Flickr tags (and their associated images) in a novel and visually compelling way. This might prompt new image searches with previously unanticipated keyword combinations, which may in turn yield unexpected yet valuable search results.

The thumbnails shown here are from a search I conducted in Tag Galaxy with an initial tag query of ruins. The constellation of tag results include the terms temple, Rome, Italy, Mexico, castle, ancient, abandoned, and architecture (first image above). I selected temple, and in the next set of results chose angkorwat. On the following results (second image) I double clicked on the sun-like object representing the combination of tags I had followed, ruins+temple+angkorwat, and arrived at a "planet" comprised of images with these matching tags, which I can rotate with my mouse to observe in its entirety (third image). To see more search results I can scroll through more batches rendered in this "planet" form. I can click on any of the individual images to see a larger version and its title, with a link that take me to its home within Flickr.

Tag Galaxy and Cooliris (which I recently discussed here) are just two applications that use Flickr's API to search and display Flickr data in new ways. Some other useful tools are highlighted in the recent article by Ben Parr over at Mashable, titled 7 Totally Unique Flickr Search Tools.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

35 Basic Tutorials to Get You Started with Photoshop

Over at Six Revisions, Jacob Gube has posted an article with links to 35 Basic Tutorials to Get You Started with Photoshop. While it's geared to beginners, including the most basic "Getting Started" materials, it also highlights some tools that should be of interest to users with a bit more experience, such as manipulating images with scripting.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Online Video

Not sure what copyrighted materials you can safely use in videos you create and post on YouTube? Take a look at the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Online Video
from the Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property and the Center for Social Media at American University.

Released last year, this document provides best practices in the context of common situations such as commentary or critique; illustration or example; incidental capture of copyrighted materials; reproducing, reposting, or quoting in order to preserve, memorialize, or rescue an experience or event; reposting in order to launch a discussion; and recombining elements to make a new work. It also provides a list of common fair use myths.

To further help online video creators keep within the boundaries of fair use, there is now a short video introducing these principles, Remix Culture: Fair Use Is Your Friend. It uses the language of online video to introduce the concept of fair use within the online video medium, and may be an easier-to-swallow introduction for many people, especially students.

Image: from Remix Culture: Fair Use Is Your Friend.

Via Boing Boing.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

(Visual) Information Literacy

Todd Gilman, the librarian for literature in English at Yale University's Sterling Memorial Library, recently wrote an article for the Chronicle which highlights an important misconception about students' abilities to use technology effectively in research. It is too easy to assume that students who were raised with technology are able to use these tools efficiently without training. A 2008 study on the so-called "Google Generation," commissioned by the British Library and JISC (Joint Information Systems Committee), supports Gilman's position: it found that, "although young people demonstrate an apparent ease and familiarity with computers, they rely heavily on search engines, view rather than read and do not possess the critical and analytical skills to assess the information that they find on the web."

Gilman notes the difference between computer-literate and research-literate, and offers tips to faculty members on helping their students enhance their research skills. These include working with librarians to devote a class period to search strategies, taking a tour of the library, and incorporating research skills into assignments.

As with text-based resources, the most effective methods for finding and using the best image resources for research and learning are not always self-evident. Google Images can be a handy tool among a range of options, but many valuable resources are invisible to standard search engines, hidden in the deep Web. Even when students are aware of resources such as ARTstor or the CU Digital Library, they often do not know about the most effective ways to use them. The VRC is happy to help CU Art and Art History students with these resources and skills. We offer on-site VRC orientations; virtual VRC orientations in the classroom; a Web page with an index of selected image resources; and one-on-one training with students and faculty members in image research, image scanning, and image presentation software. Please let us know how we can help you and your students!

Image: by l2oot, from stock.xchng

Monday, May 11, 2009

Steve Bailey's Google Search Tips in Less Than Five Minutes

Steve Bailey, our Arts and Humanities Distributed Academic Technology Coordinator (DATC), has recently posted Google Search Tips: 11 Google search Tips in Under 5 Minutes. This is a short and super sweet video tutorial that will likely teach you something you didn't already know about Google searches.

I've mentioned this before, but Steve is an amazing resource for information about academic technology, whose services are freely available to those teaching in the Arts and Humanities at CU Boulder. It's worth a reminder that Steve has quite a number of succinct and helpful tutorials on his Web site. These include Create a Blog at Blogger.Com; an introduction to Zotero, the Web-based bibliographic management tool; a short how-to on Creating PDFs with Your Mac; and many tutorials on CU Learn, the University of Colorado's software, service and support for enhancing online learning.

19 Impressive Online Image Editors

Check out Sean P. Aune's compilation of 19 Impressive Online Image Editors over at SitePoint. He has done some great investigatory legwork and summarized each of the systems for you. Most of them are free. Some of them are pretty basic for those who don't need or may be intimidated by too many features. A few of them offer some very sophisticated tools that rival the features of desktop photo editing software.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

VRC Flickr Group

The Visual Resources Collection has created a Flickr group, "a new place for sharing images among faculty, students, and staff members of the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Colorado at Boulder." We invite all Art and Art History faculty members, MA and MFA graduate students, studio and art history undergrads, staff members, and alumni to join the group and share images that relate to:

-- creative work and interests;
-- research and scholarship (e.g., photographs from travels);
-- departmental activities and facilities (e.g., show openings, the new Visual Arts Complex, etc.).

We encourage lots of tagging and descriptions; this helps with identification and context, and enhances access for all. To enable sharing of images for educational purposes, the use of Creative Commons licenses is encouraged where appropriate. We would like to see this become a valuable resource both within and beyond the department.

Tip: Cooliris, the free image browser plug-in I discussed a couple of weeks ago, is a really great tool for quickly and seamlessly scrolling through images in Flickr group pools. Try it; you'll like it!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Ultimate Guide for Everything Twitter

If you haven't heard of Twitter, you probably aren't reading this blog entry. It's everywhere, and it's being adopted by more and more people as an indispensable, real time, human driven search engine. I just came across Val Forrestal's insightful and hilarious LISNews blog post, Social Media Snobbery (or, Twitter is a tool, but you don't have to be.), where she links to a very informative page on Twitter from Webdesigner Depot. Whether you already "tweet" or you are wondering what all of the buzz is about, The Ultimate Guide for Everything Twitter is well worth a look. This page contains lots of useful information for just about everyone, except maybe the most knowledgeable Übertweeters. It includes the following sections:
  • Twitter Basics
  • How to get more followers
  • Twitter History
  • Twitter Etiquette
  • Twitter Glossary
  • Twitter in the News
  • Twitter Rank
  • Blogs and News Sites to Follow on Twitter
  • 20 Most Popular Twitter Users
  • Twitter Apps and Services
  • Twitter for the iPhone
  • Twitter for Blackberry
  • All Mobile Phones
  • Twitter Graphics
  • How to Add Twitter to Everything
  • Wordpress Plugins
  • Website Tool and Tutorials
  • Resources

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A Short and Entertaining Video Reminder about the Importance of Digital Preservation

Digital preservation entails more than data backups. While backing up your data is crucial, it's also important to consider the bigger picture concerning the normal degradation of storage media over time (e.g., the relatively short lifespan of CDs), as well as the rapid evolution of technologies that quickly lead to storage media obsolescence (remember floppy discs?).

DigitalPreservationEurope(DPE) has just posted Digital Preservation and Nuclear Disaster: An Animation, a wonderfully humorous, accessible, and succinct (just over three minutes!) introduction on YouTube, accompanied by some simple preservation guidelines. Check it out -- we all need this reminder from time to time. DPE plans to post more of these videos in the near future.

Those interested in more in-depth references to digital preservation may wish to start with DPE's Preservation video training course, Brian Lavoie's and Lorcan Dempsey's excellent article, Thirteen ways of looking at…digital preservation, the Cornell University Library's Digital Preservation Tutorial, and the Reference Model for an Open Archival Information System (OAIS). There are many, many more resources on this topic available online.

The VRC manages our digital image collection with preservation practices that include local image storage on external hard drives; off site storage on a backup server; off site storage on magnetic tape media; and documentation of our practices which includes administrative and technical metadata (also backed up regularly). We invite CU-Boulder Art and Art History faculty to trust us to scan, process, catalog, and preserve the digital images you need for teaching. It's what we do.

Via Resource Shelf

Monday, May 4, 2009

Speaking of Art, Creative Commons, Copyright, and Copyleft...

Copyleft visionary and Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig has just made his book Remix available for downloading free of charge under a Creative Commons license. It is available through the Bloomsbury Academic Press.

This book addresses the copyright war between an old read-only culture and establishment, in which passive consumers buy copyrighted products such as books, music, and movies, and a new, collaborative, and digital read-write era, where materials are freely shared and creatively modified (think YouTube, for example). Lessig believes that this copyright war is unnecessary and counterproductive. He argues that these two models can coexist in a hybrid economy. Without abandoning the idea of intellectual property, we need to encourage stakeholders to reconceive copyright by recognizing and embracing new read-write models that can actually benefit all parties.

Friday, May 1, 2009

30+ Places To Find Creative Commons Media

Have you ever created a video for which you have needed sound effects or soundtrack music? Do you want to find free images that you can use on your Web site? Over at SitePoint, Sean P. Aune has just posted 30+ Places to Find Creative Commons Media. This very useful compilation includes links to CC resources that include audio, images, texts, and videos.

A sign of the times: one of the resources cited is the Usage Rights feature of Google's Advanced Search, which enables Google searches for CC content.

A reminder about Creative Commons: works offered under CC licenses are meant for sharing free of charge. However, there are several varieties of licenses from which creators may choose, each with its own conditions (such as required attribution, noncommercial use, or no derivatives). Don't forget to check out the CC link for these resources if you plan to use them in any way-- part of the brilliance of Creative Commons licenses is that the terms of use are uniformly simple and easy to understand.

Link via Ellyssa Kroski at iLibrarian

Image: The Temple of Heaven, Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests. From, some rights reserved under a Creative Commons license.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Spice Up Your Image Searches with Cooliris

If you haven't yet tried Cooliris to search for images and videos, you are in for a treat. Cooliris is a free and easy to use plug-in for Firefox (Windows XP/Vista, Mac, and Linux), Internet Explorer, and Safari (Mac), which "transforms your browser into a lightning fast, cinematic way to browse online photos and videos." The "3D Wall" interface provides a gorgeous and seamless way to scroll through thousands of search results from the Web or images stored on your own computer.

Cooliris works with hundreds of Web sites. These include image search sites like Google Images, Yahoo Images, and Ask Images; photo sharing sites such as Flickr, Picasa, Photobucket, and deviantART; professional stock photo sites including Getty Images and iStockphoto; video sites like YouTube; social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace, and Bebo; and many others.

After installing Cooliris, there are two ways main ways to launch it. You can visit a supported site directly and perform a search. Here you may mouseover images or videos in search results and click on the Cooliris icon that appears; this takes you to your search results in the Cooliris 3D Wall environment. Or you may simply click on the Cooliris icon on your browser's toolbar and perform a search within Cooliris.

Once in Cooliris, a search box allows you to repeat a search in selected sites like Google, Flickr, Picasa, and YouTube. An option to search "My Computer" is a new and much anticipated feature. A Preferences menu lets you customize Wall and Slideshow settings.
While creating and logging on to a Cooliris account is not necessary, you can e-mail others about images you find and save favorite images for future reference.

There are some features that I hope Cooliris will incorporate soon. A
built-in save function is not yet available. In the meantime, Cooliris provides a quick link to each image's source page, where you can easily save the image to your computer as permitted. An advanced search feature within Cooliris would also be useful. For now, you can conduct a search for large images in Google, for example, and then launch Cooliris to quickly scroll through those results.

More information about features and compatibility can be found here. The Self-Help page also provides six ways to optimize the functionality of Cooliris.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Spreadhseet of TED Talks Available Online

The annual TED conference (Technology, Entertainment, Design) features "the world's most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes)." Over 200 of the best talks are available in streaming form on the TED site under a Creative Commons license to allow sharing and reposting. Just about anyone can find TED talks of great interest (the conference's scope has expanded in the last 25 years include technology, entertainment, design, business, science, culture, arts, and global issues), but with so many eclectic choices, deciding which ones to view first can be daunting.

Here is a handy site I came across via LISNews: a spreadsheet of all TED Talks posted through March of this year, including speakers, titles, summaries, durations, and links to the videos available on the TED site. Who is responsible for this resource? I am not sure; it was published on Google Docs and picked up by LISNews after reportedly being tweeted by @joycevalenza, with who knows how many other intermediaries involved. Thank you, whoever you are!