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.