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.