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 voilĂ , 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