Friday, December 30, 2011

Fall 2011 Commencement Images

The VRC has posted our images from the Department of Art and Art History's fall 2011 commencement ceremony on our Flickr page. Congratulations to all, our very best wishes for the future, and please stay in touch with the department. Our Alumni Newsletter and Facebook are easy ways to let  us (and your classmates) know where life is taking you.

Do you have images from this or other departmental events? Please help us document our departmental history by joining the department's Flickr group and sharing them there.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Garrison Roots, We Will Always Miss You

Garrison,Visual Arts Complex Dedication Ceremony. Sept. 2010

The Department of Art and Art History is mourning the passing of Garrison Roots. He was our chair, a professor of sculpture, an active practicing artist, and all around sterling human being. While his death was not entirely unexpected, the loss we feel today is very deep.

Garrison guided the department as we moved from an amorphous program plan to our newly constructed Visual Arts Complex. While our fabulous new state-of-the-art home is a physical monument to his achievements, Garrison's less visible contributions to the soul of our department were even more important. He was a unifying force who chose to see the best in every human being. He gave everyone a forum to speak and the agency to act, which made us all feel like invested members of a community, even part of a family.

Personally, I appreciate so much the kind support and great humor he always shared with me. I tried not to abuse the open door policy in his office, but his approachability made it so easy to just drop by to say hello or bring up any issues on my mind. And while it's pretty unusual for anyone to look forward to staff meetings, we always did because they were productive yet full of laughter and good cheer.

Garrison was a humble person who always insisted on sharing credit whenever he was praised. I wish he were here now to protest, saying that our new building was the result of the work of many people, and that our department is where we are today because the faculty and staff have made it that way. True, true, Garrison, but these things do not happen without great leadership. We thank you, and we will always remember you with much love, respect, and gratitude.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Historic Advertisements from Duke Library: Ad*Access and Emergence of Advertising in America: 1850 - 1920

Looking for visual inspiration from advertising? Check out two collections from Duke Library: Ad*Access, which offers over 7,000 images of U.S. and Canadian advertisements dating between 1911 and 1955, and  Emergence of Advertising in America: 1850 - 1920, featuring over 9,000 images relating to the early history of advertising in the United States.

The main categories are Beauty and Hygiene, Radio, Television, Transportation, and World War II Propaganda. You can also browse and search by Company, Product, Date, Publication, Subject, Medium, Headline, and Audience.

Note the section on Copyright and Citation. Most of these advertisements were published after 1923, which means they are still protected by copyright. Under the fair use exemption to copyright, Duke makes them available to you for use in research, teaching, and private study, on the condition that you provide proper attribution of the source in all copies. You must seek permission for other uses. Detailed information on how to properly cite and seek permission to use these images is provided on this page.

Emergence of Advertising in America: 1850 - 1920
Browse the collection by Company, Product, Date, Format, Publication, Subject, Medium, and Headline. 

As with Ad*Access there is a Copyright and Citation page, with an explanation that these images are available for your use in research, teaching, and private study. While it's arguable that Duke cannot claim copyright to these pre-1923 images, and therefore cannot require permission for other uses (such as publication), it is certainly good form to contact them before doing so.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Little Guides from JISC Digital Media

JISC Digital Media has created a series of Little Guides in response to frequently asked questions. Perhaps of most interest to our readers is The Little Guide to Finding Digital Media Resources (PDF). This guide includes links to JISC's online tutorials on searching the Internet for images, audio resources, and video and moving images, as well as links to general sites with a focus on free-to-use and low-cost media resources.

Other JISC Little Guides address Copyright, Cloud Computing, Podcasting, and Screencasting.

In general, JISC Digital Media provides a wealth of helpful information for those in higher education anywhere, but do keep in mind that JISC is a service aimed at a UK audience. Some of the resources cited here are slanted in this direction.

Image: Ryan Thompson (Warmest Regards), consulting the guide books, 2010. Available from Flickr under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic License.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Copyright, Fair Use, and Online Images

A recent conversation with someone in the Art and Art History department reminded me that confusion over the online use of copyrighted images persists, even among some faculty members. This really comes as no surprise. Copyright is complex, the parameters of fair use are murky, and the fair use of digital images require us to consider elements that didn't exist when the Copyright Act of 1976 was passed. It's a mystifying topic for most of us. Over at the Social Media Examiner, Sara Hawkins has written a very helpful piece, Copyright Fair Use and How it Works for Online Images. As an attorney, Hawkins is well versed on this subject, and here she provides an excellent overview of the issues that we should consider before using others' images online.

While brief, the article does a great job of introducing this complicated subject. After discussing key points about copyright and fair use, Hawkins outlines "5 Things to Think About Before Using Copyrighted Images":
  1. Do you understand the term fair use?
  2. Why are you using the image? 
  3. Have you transformed the image?
  4. How much of the image are you using?
  5. Are you willing to risk your site being taken down, getting a cease and desist/bill/DMCA or being sued?
In summary Hawkins notes,"When it comes to photos, when in doubt, assume it’s subject to copyright and don’t use it without the appropriate permission." Check out the article -- it's rare to find such a straightforward and clear introduction to this topic.

Image: Jason Pettus (jasonpettus), mytatt.jpg, 2007, available from Flickr under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic license.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Historical Medical Images Online

A graduate student recently asked me about where she might find historical medical images online. I am posting these resources here because this is a recurring topic of interest among faculty and students in both art history and studio arts. Do you have other suggestions? Please share them with us.

Wellcome Images

Over 40,000 current and historical medical images; "Wellcome Images is one of the world's richest and most unique collections, with themes ranging from medical and social history to contemporary healthcare and biomedical science." Explore Wellcome images here.

Images from the History of Medicine (IHM)
"Provides access to nearly 70,000 images in the collections of the History of Medicine Division (HMD) of the U.S National Library of Medicine (NLM)." Search for IHM images here.

Pictures of Science: 700 Years of Scientific and Medical Illustration (New York Public Library)
"Hundreds of images from the thirteenth through the early twentieth century, in the fields of astronomy, chemistry, geology, mathematics, medicine, and physics, as represented by manuscript illuminations, engravings, lithographs, and photographs." Discover Pictures of Science images from the NYPL Digital Gallery here.

Historical Medical Poster Collection (Yale's Cushing/Whitney Medical Library)
"The collection ranges from large size posters meant to be pasted on the sides of buildings and viewed from afar to small glossy placards designed for store windows...The collection focuses primarily on public health communications, but also has examples of medical product advertising, recruiting, and aid and relief solicitations." Find images from the Historical Medical Poster Collection here.

Image: Clemente Susini, Wax anatomical figure of reclining woman, 1771-1800, Florence.Science Museum, London, Wellcome Image. Available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic license.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Christian Iconography from Augusta State University

Who's that woman holding the cloth depicting an image of Christ? If you have ever found yourself wondering who is featured in a particular scene from a medieval or early modern work of art , Christian Iconography could be a valuable resource. From Augusta State University, this work-in-progress is intended "to support the study of Christian iconography at the beginner's level." Its taglines are "Learn how to identify the saints in medieval and renaissance art. Read the stories that the paintings refer to. Find out the 'why' behind traditional elements in paintings of scriptural events."

You can enter a keyword to search for a particular iconographical element, or you can explore links on specific saints, topics, or selected scriptural events which are divided alphabetically. Each of these is illustrated by one or more images. There are also links to other sites useful in the study of Christian iconography, as well as a bibliography of recommended readings.

Image: euthman (Ed Uthman), Hans Memling: St. Veronica, c. 1470/1475, 2009. Available from Flickr under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic License.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Delicious: A Resurrection Ahead for Social Bookmarks?

If you've seen the VRC's bookmarks over at Delicious you know that we have assembled over a thousand bookmarks from Web sites pertaining to art, architecture, archaeology, museums, images, and related information resources. We have tagged these links with labels to help you navigate through them and find sites of interest. And more importantly, we are not alone -- over 5 million other individuals and organizations have bookmarked and tagged almost 200 million sites. Pick just about any topic and Delicious can lead you to new online resources, and to other users with similar interests who have publicly shared their bookmarks.

So far so good. But a troubling development came to light last year. A leak at Yahoo!, which had acquired Delicious in 2005 and had done little since to develop its potential, indicated that the service was to be "sunsetted," which many interpreted as "to be shut down." Yahoo! publicly declared that this meant that they would be selling Delicious, rather than ending it. But many users by now had decided that investing time in social bookmarking at Delicious was a risky endeavor. Many accounts, including the VRC's, were left in a holding pattern until the dust settled.

Ashes to ashes and dust to dust aside, Delicious was acquired in April by AVOS Systems, a company founded by the creators of YouTube. As reported in a New York Times piece today, these entrepreneurs are now using their expertise to breath new life into Delicious. Among their goals is greater ease of use and broader adoption. These will be fueled by the collective desire for better control of the torrential flow of information that we all experience. As Chad Hurley states, “We want to simplify things visually, mainstream the product and make it easier for people to understand what they’re doing." We look forward to watching the developments at Delicious, and resuming our bookmarking activities soon. Stay tuned!

Image: Daniel Andrlik (mointrigue), Delicious Is Dead, 2010, available from Flickr under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

VRC Bombay TV 2 Video

To illustrate some of the ways we help our faculty and students, and also to show that we do our jobs with humor while striving for excellent services and products, the VRC has created a very short and hopefully entertaining video about our scanning services. We used Bombay TV 2, a site offering a selection of clips from vintage Bollywood movies, which you can choose, arrange into a sequence, and provide subtitles to create your own movie. See the video here:

But seriously, if you are faculty member or student in the Department of Art and Art History, please ask us how we can make your life easier. Scanning? Training? Equipment? If you are in need of a service or equipment item that we don't currently offer but which fits within our mission -- to provide and facilitate access to images, imaging, and related information resources for teaching and research -- we would like to hear about it.

Disclaimer: No faculty members, students, or Bollywood stars were harmed in the making of this video. All characters are fictional; any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidence and unintended (except the guy who gets thrown through the plate glass window -- that really happened!). The VRC welcomes discourse about the representation of American academic problems as expressed through the representation of an Other culture, namely that of upper-class 1970s Mumbai, which itself is represented here through the lens of 1970s Hindi cinema. Similarly, we invite the discussion of any post-colonial ethical issues that may be called into question by framing this presentation with humor, or questions arising from the androcentric positioning of an aggressive male protagonist who is assisted entirely by female characters -- especially if these discussions occur over lattes.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Are Your Images Safe?

The VRC has returned from our all-too-short summer break -- welcome back! I'd like to kick off the new school year with a cautionary tale. This July my brother's and sister-in-law's home was flooded, destroying the family computer. They did have an automatic backup system in place, saving regularly to an external hard drive. However, the hard drive was also destroyed in the flood. Fortunately, they periodically saved data to DVDs and stored them elsewhere, but the family lost all of the information on the computer that had been created since the last backup.

Many of us invest a significant amount of time, energy, and money in creating, collecting, and storing our images: they support our professional activities and function as an archive for our most treasured memories. Have you thought carefully about the ways that yours are vulnerable? 

I have written about backup strategies before. Backups are a very important aspect of ensuring the ongoing safety and accessibility of your images. But there are other factors to consider, such as methods of organizing, file naming, migrating, and monitoring both your collection and developments in technology, products, and standards. is a nice site that provides a layperson's introduction to developing a strategy for curating your collection of personal images. Its main categories are:
  • Learn (hardware; software; other factors)
  • Prepare (plan; create categories; label photos; manage photos)
  • Protect (transfer to storage; make backup plan; how to backup)
  • Recover (camera card failure; hard drive crash; virus attack)
  • Resources (provides lots of links, organized into categories, to important sources for more information)
The VRC is always happy to discuss issues, share resources, and learn about new resources to better serve the needs of our faculty members' and students' personal image collections. Drop us a line and tell us what's on your mind!

Image: Rachel Zack, Mom, 2007. From Flickr, available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic license.

Monday, June 13, 2011

YouTube Now Lets You Search for and Assign Creative Commons Licenses

Creators and remixers now have have a great new option to share and play with content, without worrying about copyright. YouTube has introduced a feature in its Video Editor that allows users to assign a Creative Commons license (CC-BY) to their videos. To mark videos with a CC license, simply click the radio button labeled "Creative Commons Attribution license (reuse allowed)" at the time of uploading, or go to My Videos,  select edit for the video for which you wish to assign the CC license, scroll down to Broadcasting and Sharing Options, and select the CC option.

Those wishing to find content they may use under a CC license can find it in the Video Editor by simply clicking the CC tab at the top of the page. You can conduct a keyword search, with only CC-licensed videos appearing among the search results. To add a video to your storyboard, click on the 'plus' symbol (+) and remix away!

For more information, including important details about the rights and responsibilities involved, see YouTube's page on Creative Commons. You can view the terms of the CC-BY license at the Creative Commons Web site.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Internet Archive: A Rich Source of Video, Audio, Text, and More

Have you gotten lost in the Internet Archive yet? It's non-profit "digital library of Internet sites and other cultural artifacts in digital form," which features a huge array video, audio, text, and other items of potential interest to both artists and scholars alike. The site offers so much that it's difficult to do justice to it in a brief blog post. Its main offerings are divided into the Wayback Machine (over 150 billion archived web pages), Moving Images, Texts, Audio, and Software. You can conduct keyword and advanced searches across the entire archive, or browse by various sub-collections. Explore the reviews, spotlight items, most downloaded items, and staff picks. Below is a brief overview of each of the main Internet Archive areas.

Wayback Machine
"Browse through over 150 billion web pages archived from 1996 to a few months ago. To start surfing the Wayback, type in the web address of a site or page where you would like to start, and press enter. Then select from the archived dates available. The resulting pages point to other archived pages at as close a date as possible."

Moving Images
"This library contains thousands of digital movies uploaded by Archive users which range from classic full-length films, to daily alternative news broadcasts, to cartoons and concerts. Many of these videos are available for free download." The sub-collections are Animation & Cartoons, Arts & Music, Community Video, Computers & Technology, Cultural & Academic Films, Ephemeral Films, Movies, News & Public Affairs, Prelinger Archives, Spirituality & Religion, Sports Videos , Television, Videogame Videos, Vlogs, and Youth Media.

"Contains a wide range of fiction, popular books, children's books, historical texts and academic books." This comprises almost 3 million digitized items, including a lot of great vintage and historical texts. These can be read online or downloaded to your computer. The sub-collections are American Libraries, Canadian Libraries, Universal Library, Community Texts, Project Gutenberg, Children's Library, Biodiversity Heritage Library, and Additional Collections.

"Contains over two hundred thousand free digital recordings ranging from alternative news programming, to Grateful Dead concerts, to Old Time Radio shows, to book and poetry readings, to original music uploaded by our users. Many of these audios and MP3s are available for free download." The sub-collections are Audio Books & Poetry, Community Audio, Computers & Technology, The Grateful Dead, Live Music Archive, Music & Arts, Netlabels, News & Public Affairs, Non-English Audio, Radio Programs, and Spirituality & Religion.

"The Software Archive is designed to preserve and provide access to all kinds of rare or difficult to find, legally downloadable software titles and background information on those titles. The collection includes a broad range of software related materials including shareware, freeware, video news releases about software titles, speed runs of actual software game play, previews and promos for software games, high-score and skill replays of various game genres, and the art of filmmaking with real-time computer game engines." The sub-collections are Game Patches,, DigiBarn, CD Bulletin Board Software Archive, Infochimps, Open Source Software, and Tucows Software Library.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Europeana: 15 Million Images, Videos, Audio Files, and Texts

If you have not yet visited Europeana, here's your chance to "study abroad." Europeana is a an impressive digital library of over 15 million items from 1500 museums, archives, libraries, and other organizations representing the cultural and scientific heritage of Europe. As described on their about us page, these items include:
  • Images - paintings, drawings, maps, photos and pictures of museum objects
  • Texts - books, newspapers, letters, diaries and archival papers
  • Sounds - music and spoken word from cylinders, tapes, discs and radio broadcasts
  • Videos - films, newsreels and TV broadcasts

After conducting a basic or advanced search, search results are presented as a mix of all of these object types, but you can choose from  Images, Videos, or Sounds tabs to examine those types in particular. You can also refine your search by provider, country, language, type, dates, or rights.

If you register for an account you can save your searches, save particular items, or save tags.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Safeguard Your Wireless Security

Do you use wireless Internet connections at coffee shops, airports, hotels, or at home? If so you should be concerned about about the security of your personal information. Hacking is getting much easier, and new tools, such as the free Firefox add-on Firesheep, allow people with comparatively little expertise to very easily observe your online movements. A recent article in the New York Times, New Hacking Tools Pose Bigger Threats to Wi-Fi Users, provides a great overview of both the threats to your private data and the actions you can take to protect yourself. I encourage you to read the article for more detailed information, but here are some important points:

HTTPS is an encryption method offered by many Web sites, but many do not provide "end-to-end" encryption, meaning that while your password may be protected as you enter a site, your privacy is vulnerable thereafter. The article points to another free Firefox extension, called HTTPS Everywhere, which makes HTTPS the default on Web sites that offer HTTPS as an encryption method. However, this only works with sites that offer HTTPS. A small lock visible in the corner of your browser or within the address bar ensures that your connection is encrypted.

A good rule of thumb noted in the article is to avoid doing anything online with sensitive data in public places. One should also take steps to bolster the security of your home wireless network, which is susceptible to hackers with inexpensive Wi-Fi antennas that can detect signals from home networks two to three miles away. It's wise to select a long and complex alphanumeric password and change the default router name of your home wireless network.

VPN (Virtual Private Network) can encrypt all wireless communications at home or in public places. There are both subscription-based and free versions, although the latter tend to provide more limited protection. If you are a member of the CU-Boulder community, you may freely use the campus VPN service. It encrypts your traffic as it is routed to the campus VPN server, and is unencrypted after that. If you are sitting in a coffee shop and connect through the CU-Boulder VPN, you have some protection from nearby prying Firesheep eyes. This is better than nothing -- it's worth noting that over a million people have downloaded Firesheep since its release just over three months ago.

Image: David Pham, iStillness, 2006. Available from Flickr under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Once Again, Privacy Settings on Facebook

As you may know, Facebook's privacy settings have changed from time to time in recent years. Do you know exactly what information you are currently sharing with whom, both within and outside of Facebook? If you haven't reviewed your settings for a while, it's worth spending just a few minutes looking them over and make adjustments as necessary. Over at Mashable, Stan Schroeder just shared a must-read post on privacy for Facebook users: Facebook Privacy: 10 Settings Every User Needs to Know.

The topics that Schroeder covers, accompanied by screen shots and easy, step-by-step instructions, are:

1. Sharing on Facebook
2. Existing Photos
3. Checking In to Places
4. Connecting on Facebook
5. Apps You Use
6. Instant Personalization
7. Info Accessible to Your Friends
8. Public Search
9. Friend Lists
10. Enabling HTTPS

Image: Jeremy Brooks, Private, 2008. Available from Flickr under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic License.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Google Art Project: 'Street View' for Museums Plus Artworks in High Resolution

Today Google announced the launch of Google Art Project, an exciting development for anyone interested in art or art museums. From the Official Google Blog: "You’ll find a selection of super high-resolution images of famous works of art as well as more than a thousand other images, by more than 400 artists—all in one place. And with Street View technology, you can take a virtual tour inside 17 of the world’s most acclaimed art museums."

To get started,  just choose a museum from the home page and then select ‘View Artwork’ or ‘Explore the Museum'. From there you can use the drop-down menus at the upper left of the page to select a museum (box on left) or choose among the artworks within a given museum (box on right). You can virtually explore selected portions of museum spaces in 'Street View' mode with the ‘Explore the Museum' option -- note that the resolution in this mode is not particularly high. But in the ‘View Artwork’ mode you can zoom into lovely detail views, and even enjoy truly magnificent, super-high resolution, gigapixel details among selected images (indicated by a 'plus' symbol on the list of artworks).

Note the 'i' button at the top right of the page, which provides valuable information about the selected museum (Web site, floor plan, Google Maps location, museum history, and more works in the museum) or the selected artwork (such as viewing notes, additional artwork information, artwork history, tags, artist information, more works by the artist, and more works in the museum).

Finally, you can also ‘Create an Artwork Collection,’ where you can save and share specific views and comments on any of the 1000+ artworks included in Google Art Project. Note that FAQs can be found here.

The participating museums currently are:
  • Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlin - Germany
  • Freer Gallery of Art, Smithsonian, Washington DC - USA
  • The Frick Collection, NYC - USA
  • Gemäldegalerie, Berlin - Germany
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC - USA
  • MoMA, The Museum of Modern Art, NYC - USA
  • Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid - Spain
  • Museo Thyssen - Bornemisza, Madrid - Spain
  • Museum Kampa, Prague - Czech Republic
  • National Gallery, London - UK
  • Palace of Versailles - France
  • Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam - The Netherlands
  • The State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg - Russia
  • State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow - Russia
  • Tate Britain, London - UK
  • Uffizi Gallery, Florence - Italy
  • Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam - The Netherlands

While it current state is impressive, the relatively small number of museums and artworks is immediately obvious. It is exciting to imagine what this could become in time, with more contributions from these and other institutions around the world. While you can't beat viewing artworks in person, it is not possible for most of us to visit all of the museums that pique our interest. Further collaboration between Google and museums will make more cultural objects accessible to many more people, which will ideally inspire more museum visits and overall support for museums.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Get More Out of Your Digital Camera

Do you have a new digital camera?  Have you been using your digital camera for a while but feeling like you could get more out of it? Darren Rowse's compilation of 21 Settings, Techniques and Rules All New Camera Owners Should Know is a great place to start. Even if you are an experienced photographer, there are tips here worth reviewing. Included are Aperture and Shutter Priority Mode, Introduction to White Balance, Automatic Exposure Bracketing, How to Take Sharp Digital Images, How to Get Shallow Depth of Field in Your Digital Photos, Understanding Exposure, The Rule of Thirds, and many others. If you think "histograms are scary," this article is for you -- it will demystify your camera and help you create much better images.

Image: Kris Krüg, kim cathers, 2007. Available from Flickr under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic License.