Monday, March 30, 2009

Flickr Commons

You may recall that the Flickr Commons launched last year with a very successful partnership between Flickr and the Library of Congress. A little over a year later, the Commons now includes 23 participating cultural institutions. The institutions post photographs which they have "reasonably concluded" are free of copyright restrictions under a new Flickr usage guideline called "no known copyright restrictions."

Flickr describes the two main objectives of the Commons program:
  1. To increase access to publicly-held photography collections, and
  2. To provide a way for the general public to contribute information and knowledge.
User-generated tags help enable broader access to these photographs. For instance, a search on "artist" yields 175 results, "world's fair" results in 104 matches, and "vote" yields 54 results. Visit some of these collections to see if they include images that you might wish to use in your teaching and research. While you're there, use your expertise and unique perspective to add tags and enhance access for all.

You may conduct a search across all Commons collections, or within specific collections. The current Commons participants are:

The Library of Congress
Powerhouse Museum Collection
Brooklyn Museum
Smithsonian Institution
Bibliothèque de Toulouse

George Eastman House
Biblioteca de Arte da Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian
National Media Museum
National Maritime Museum
State Library of New South Wales
The Library of Virginia
Musée McCord Museum
Nationaal Archief
Australian War Memorial
Imperial War Museum Photograph Archive
National Library of New Zealand
New York Public Library
National Galleries of Scotland
State Library of Queensland
State Archives of Florida
Oregon State Archives
Nantucket Historical Association
The Swedish National Heritage Board

Saturday, March 28, 2009

7 Things You Should Know About...

The EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI) offers an informative monthly series on emerging learning technologies and related practices called 7 Things You Should Know About... Each 2-page brief is provided as a PDF document and features a concise, jargon-free explanation of a specific technology or practice. The series is very helpful if you are interested in keeping abreast of new technologies or seeking models for quickly and clearly sharing information about these topics with students, colleagues, or administrators.

All previous briefs are available on the ELI Web site, with topics including Lecture Capture, Flip Camcorders, Second Life, Skype, RSS feeds, Twitter, Data Visualization, Creative Commons, Google Earth, Mapping Mashups, Virtual Meetings, Blogs, Clickers, Wikis, Collaborative Editing, Social Bookmarking, and much more. Accompanied by an introductory scenario to illustrate an educational application, each brief is presented with the following sections:

1) What is it?
2) Who's doing it?
3) How does it work?
4) Why is it significant?
5) What are the downsides?
6) Where is it going?
7) What are the implications for teaching and learning?

Other resources on teaching, learning, and technology issues are available at the main ELI Resources page.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Idée Multicolr Search: Creative Commons Images from Flickr

Forced to leave campus due to one of our typical Colorado March blizzards, I am sitting on my couch catching up on the backlog of e-mails in my inbox. There I rediscovered a recent e-mail thread from the always informative VRA listserv (and the always informative Susan Jane Williams). It concerns a fun and potentially quite useful tool from Idée, the people who created TinEye. It's called Multicolr Search, and it lets you pick up to 10 colors from swatches on its site, matching the colors in images from 10 million Creative Commons-licensed images in Flickr. The results are returned as batches of thumbnails, each of which you can click on to be linked to its Flickr page. Graphic and fine artists can probably imagine all kinds of interesting ways to use this application. And since the "some rights reserved" terms of use are easily located on the Flickr page, one can quickly determine the ways in which the image can be used. For more and related information see the Idée Blog.

Google Earth Prado

The Prado Museum and Google Earth have partnered to provide a virtual tour of the museum which features 14 of the museum's paintings in ultra high resolution. These images have a resolution of 14,000 megapixels, about 1,400 time the size of a photograph taken with a standard 10-megapixel camera. They were stitched together from more than 8,000 high-resolution images of the paintings. While there is no substitute for seeing the original works, the details that one can observe are incredible. In many cases they are impossible to see in person.

The featured works are Artemis by Rembrandt, Self-portrait by Dürer, The 3rd of May by Goya, The Nobleman with his Hand on his Chest by El Greco, The Cardinal by Raphael, Descent from the Cross by Rogier van der Weyden, The Emperor Carlos V on Horseback by Titian, The Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymous Bosch, Jacob’s Dream by Ribera, The Immaculate Conception by Tiepolo, The Annunciation by Fra Angelico, The Crucifixion by Juan de Flandes, Las Meninas by Velázquez, and The Three Graces by Rubens.

To see these photographs, you must have Google Earth installed on your machine (you can download it here). The Google Earth User Guide is a good place to start if you are new to the software. The pictures can be found in the preview section of the geographic web part of the layers menu.

Monday, March 23, 2009

TinEye: Reverse Image Search Engine

Imagine that you have a poor quality image for which you seek a better quality version to use in your teaching or studies. Perhaps you have explored local databases, ARTstor, Google Images, or other search engines that locate images using keywords, tags, and other metadata, but have not been able to locate the right image. You may want to try a search using TinEye, a freely available reverse image search engine that uses image identification technology to find images on the Web. It allows you to search for images that are visually similar to an image you submit to TinEye. TinEye creates a unique and compact digital signature on your image and retrieves matches by comparing it to all other images in its growing index. At the time of this writing, TinEye has indexed 1,016,014,242 images from the Web. While TinEye can find partial matches, including images that have been resized or edited, it cannot locate similar images based on subject matter.

The Web site lists a few of the many reasons you may wish to use TinEye:
  • Find out where an image came from, or get more information about it
  • Research or track the appearance of an image online
  • Find higher resolution versions of an image
  • Locate web pages that make use of an image you have created
  • Discover modified or edited versions of an image
You can conduct a search on TinEye's Web site by temporarily uploading an image to the site or by entering a URL of another Web site containing an image of interest. There are also browser plugins for Firefox and Internet Explorer which allow a simple right-click to quickly and easily launch a "Search Image on TinEye" option. TinEye's FAQ page provides a wealth of information for those wanting to know more.

Image: from TinEye's Cool Searches page.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Art and Art History Visual Resources Image Collection

The Art and Art History Visual Resources Collection invites all current CU faculty and students to explore our digital images with the Luna Insight Java software, available in the VRC. Come by room 82 of the Fleming Building and pick up a CD, load it onto your machine, request a username and password, and begin exploring our growing collection. It includes images of works from the department's MFA thesis exhibitions since 2000, the Visiting Artist program, contemporary art, and much more. You can search by title, date, artist, artists' CU affiliation, subject, style/period, media, location, and many more criteria. You may export high resolution images for use in teaching and learning at CU.

Art and Art History faculty and graduate students are encouraged to request images for inclusion in the collection. Please contact Elaine Paul for more information.