Halloween and TMA Air Photos

Last night, I had started mentally outlining a post about a wonderful new free resource that enables users to assess image quality based on calibration targets included in their images. But then I remembered that it’s Halloween, and I should instead pull together a post based on a spooky Halloween themed collection. Cliffhanger.

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CA174831L0252

While I came across a lot of great Halloween related material, including this collection from Wellcome Images, this 1903 film directed by Georges Méliès, and some charming children’s costumes via DPLA , what I decided to write about chilled me above all else. It is not a Medieval monster or menacing mummy, but rather a reminder of the very real Midwest winter to come. Specifically, it is the Antarctic Air Photography collection from the University of Minnesota.

Developed by the Polar Geospatial Center (PGC) at the University of Minnesota, this collection is comprised of more than 330,000 air photos, which were collected and scanned by the USGS EROS Data Center. The collection contains trimetrogon aerial photography, which is a method of taking three photos at one time: one vertical (in this collection, designated by a “V” in the filename), along with left and right obliques (at a 45° angle off nadir; designated by either “L” or “R”) taken along a single TMA flight line.

The easiest way to find Antarctic TMA photos, digitized flightline index maps, and approximate photo centers is through the PGC’s TMA Flightline Viewer, a web app that runs in your browser. The application allows users to browse and download Antarctic air photos digitally rather than having to search through rolls of film in the USGS archives. We even have camera calibration information here for those who need it.

Additionally, the PGC provides TMA flightline and photocenters data in two GIS formats: ESRI shapefiles (.shp) and Google Earth KMZ files. The files are separated by Antarctic region, such as Marie Byrd Land or Ross Island.

Users may also look up photos manually, rather than browsing by flightline or geographic region. A breakdown of USGS naming conventions is provided in order to help one navigate the data.

Have a happy and safe Halloween, and bundle up!

Posted in Maps, Photos, Science, Tools, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

New Getty images added to the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA)

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Albert Smith’s Mont Blanc and China : Egyptian Hall., [ca. 1859]

Last year, the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) was launched in order to bring the special collections of numerous cultural heritage institutions across the county together on one platform. The New York Public Library, the Smithsonian Institution, Harvard Library, and our very own University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign are counted among DPLA’s twenty three partners. Among the over 8 million items included in DPLA are about 100,000 newly added items from the Getty Research Institute.

The Getty Research Institute and DPLA are both committed to making American society’s digitized cultural heritage as openly accessible as possible, and furthermore offers tools such as geo-mapping and timeline options to encourage users such as software developers and researchers to use content transformatively. In addition to partnering with institutions in the United States, DPLA is also collaborating with its European counterpart, Europeana, to provide unified access to collections in both portals through a single search.

The Getty Research Institute’s contribution to DPLA includes items from the 15th century to the present, with highlights being photographs from architectural photographer Julius Shulman’s archive, the Jacobson collection of Orientalist photography, Edouard Manet’s letters, ledgers of art dealers, and painting inventories.

According to Allison Meier, “The Getty Research Institute will continue to add more in the partnership, and also this month, the Medical Heritage Library and the US Government Printing Office contributed thousands of items to the DPLA. The collection’s ultimate worth will, of course, come from how these resources are used, but the DPLA is quickly becoming essential for the growing digitized archives.”

Sources:

Meier, Allison. (2014). Getty adds thousands of art historical images to growing digital library. Retrieved from http://hyperallergic.com/150092/getty-adds-thousands-of-art-historical-images-to-growing-digital-library/

Salomon, Kathleen. (2014). 10,000 digitized art history materials from The Getty Research Institute available in DPLA. http://blogs.getty.edu/iris/100000-digitized-art-history-materials-from-the-getty-research-institute-availble-in-dpla/

Posted in Architecture, Art, European history, History, Photos | Leave a comment

Happy International Literacy Day!

September 8th was declared International Literacy Day by UNESCO in 1965, and has since been celebrated worldwide every year. Its aim is to call attention to the importance of literacy to individuals, families, societies, and sustainable development. Today, approximately 775 million adults lack basic literacy skills, and over two thirds of them are women.

Literacy is often defined as the ability to read and write. If you are fortunate enough to have had the opportunities to develop this skill and now find yourself at an academic institution, you also be familiar with other types of literacies. Some examples include digital literacy, financial literacy, computer literacy, media literacy, information literacy, multicultural literacy, and visual literacy.

This being a visual resources blog, I’d like to focus on visual literacy for a moment. The

two kittens sitting side by side wearing top hats

Kittens and Cats: a book of tales (1911

Association of College & Research Libraries defines visual literacy as “a set of abilities that enables an individual to effectively find, interpret, evaluate, use, and create images and visual media.” The authors of ACRL’s Visual Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education go on to say that the pervasiveness of images and visual media in contemporary culture has changed what it means to be literate. Individuals must develop visual literacy skills in order to engage capably in a visually-oriented society. Visual literacy empowers individuals to participate fully in a visual culture.

ACRL has outlined seven visual literacy standards, each including performance indicators and learning outcomes, to help develop a framework in teaching visual literacy skills. These standards include competencies ranging from being able to identify what type of image one needs for his or her research to assessing the ethical and legal issues surrounding use of visual media.

Throughout the fall 2014 semester, the University Library will be conducing a workshop series focusing on visual literacy competencies. These workshops will be available through the Savvy Researcher program, and will start October 10th with “Finding and Selecting Images.”  Following that will be Interpreting Images, Creating and Incorporating Visual Materials into your Research, and Applying Copyright to Visual Material.

Posted in Copyright, Education, Visual Literacy | Leave a comment

Summer Educational Institute for Visual Resources (SEI): June 10-13th at UIUC!

Image

The Summer Educational Institute for Visual Resources and Image Management (SEI) is a joint project of the Art Libraries Society of North America (ARLIS/NA) and the Visual Resources Association Foundation (VRAF). It is an intensive three and a half-day workshop will feature a curriculum that specifically addresses the requirements of today’s visual resources and image management professionals. Expert instructors will cover:

  • Intellectual Property Rights
  • Digital Imaging
  • Digital Preservation
  • Metadata and Cataloging
  • Project Management
  • Professional Growth and Development 

Since 2004, SEI has produced almost 400 alumni, many of whom are working as image professionals. It is open to professionals, para-professionals, and graduate level students in visual resources, library science, the visual arts and related humanities fields, museum studies, and other image information disciplines. Participants may include:

  • Librarians or information professionals responsible for managing image or digital collections
  • Visual resources professionals and art librarians who want to update their knowledge of current practices
  • Individuals currently in the profession who seek focused training
  • Students seeking an important visual resources component to complement their graduate education.
  • Professionals working in cultural heritage fields where digitization and digital collection management is or will be a priority

As SEI continues, its goal remains constant: to provide visual resources professionals with a substantive educational and professional development opportunity focused on digital imaging, the information and experience needed to stay current in a rapidly changing field, and the opportunity to create a network of supportive colleagues.

Past Institutes have been attended by visual resources professionals new to the field, those currently enrolled in library schools who wish to augment their experience with image management training, and more experienced professionals eager to update their skill sets in response to fast-changing technological advancements. Each year’s Institute has been very successful, and we look forward to continuing that tradition each year at SEI.

Fortunately, this year SEI is going to be held on the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus! The institute has been generously sponsored in part by two campus units: the University Library and the Graduate School of Library and Information Science. In addition, participants will benefit from expertise of several local professionals as well as several other instructors well-recognized in their professions.  Faculty, staff, and students at UIUC enjoy a discounted rate (and don’t have to travel!), and there are also several scholarships available. 

Sarah Walkington, copyright guru at the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning, attended last year’s SEI at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, and had this to say about her experience: 

I was excited to discover that the Summer Educational Institute for Visual Resources & Image Management (SEI) would be on my home campus, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, this summer.  But while SEI will be a short commute for me, I encourage anyone from near or far to come to this terrific professional development opportunity.

 

I attended the 2013 SEI Conference and left knowing that anyone in digital assets management, especially in the uses of images, would benefit from attending in 2014.  The sessions are aimed at a spectrum of experience, from not-quite-beginner to expert.

 

 While I am in copyright, an extremely wide range of visual resource specialties, from preservation to imaging to cataloging, are included in the workshops.  Often one takes notes at workshops and then the notes sit on a shelf.  I refer constantly to the notes I took at SEI!  I’m still in touch with new friends I made there.  Not only do these long-distance colleagues share up-to-the-minute happenings in our field, they also—I notice on LinkedIn—inspire all of us in how they are progressing in their careers after SEI.

 

The Institute’s organizers know how to make attendees comfortable—snacks and yoga!—and facilitate that informal networking that makes thoughtful discussion with peers easy.

 

I know you will love the SEI 2014 Conference and will find Champaign-Urbana fun, too.  It’s nestled in the Illinois cornfields, but you’ll get to enjoy two downtowns for the price of one and find good restaurants, coffee hangouts, and evening entertainment in what we like to call a micro-urban environment.  See you there.

 

As Sarah mentions, this is a fantastic professional development opportunity in a fun and affordable location. There are a few spots still available, so register soon! 

 

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Banishing Dissention

The ARTstor digital library is a subscription based database of over 1.6 million digital images in the arts, architecture, humanities, and sciences. It also includes an accessible suite of software tools for teaching and research, such as the ability to save images into groups, export them to powerpoint, save image citations, and add personal or instructor notes.

Banishing Dissention, a supplement given away with the Weekly Freeman and National Press

Banishing Dissention, a supplement given away with the Weekly Freeman and National Press

Content in ARTstor is comprised of contributions from international museums, photographers, libraries, scholars, photo archives, and artists and artists’ estates. Including…the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign! The University Library has contributed over 3,700 images from its digital collections, including collections such as the Portraits of Actors and the Motley Collection of Theatre and Costume Design. Images in the library’s digital collections are sources from its own collections, including material from the Rare Book and Manuscript Library.

The most popular image from the University Library’s collection in ARTstor is “Banishing Dissention,” from the Collins Collection of Irish Political Cartoons. Over thirty institutions have accessed this image for use in scholarship. Or, just to enjoy its subtle nuances.

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ARTstor’s collections are continuously growing, with more and more content contributed by cultural heritage institutions. Institutional collections based on local curriculum have also increased. Through a product called Shared Shelf, the University is able to manage and make accessible its own material. This material is searchable alongside content from the ARTstor digital library, or can be browsed from the homepage under “shared shelf collections.”

If you or your department is interested in learning more about ARTstor or Shared Shelf, please contact Sarah Christensen, Visual Resources Curator.

Posted in ARTstor, UIUC Digital Collections | Leave a comment

On stock photography

Stock photography is a common means of providing visual content brochures, magazines, advertisements, etc. in order to enhance a textual point and engage viewers. The advantage of stock photography is that it is less expensive than a photo shoot, and it is instantly available through a number of vendors such as Getty Images and Corbis Images. For more stock photo options, check out the finding and using images subject guide.

Salad Woman

cable knit + salad = unstoppable!

Recently, Leanin.org and Getty images have announced a collaboration aimed at changing the way women are portrayed in stock photography. Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook executive and author of “Lean In,” is hoping that providing an image collection depicting alternative views of women and families will undermine current stereotypes.

“When we see images of women and girls and men, they often fall into the stereotypes that we’re trying to overcome, and you can’t be what you can’t see,” Ms. Sandberg said in an interview (Miller 2014). As described in Miller’s article, Sandberg is referencing the stereotypes of women multitasking with briefcases and babies, wearing dated “power suits,” or cheerfully attending to children. The Lean In collection features women as “surgeons, painters, bakers, soldiers, and hunters. There are girls riding skateboards, women lifting weights and fathers changing babies’ diapers. Women in offices wear contemporary clothes and hairstyles and hold tablets or smartphones” (Miller 2014). Sandberg is not alone in recognizing stereotypes prevalent in stock photography; Emily Shornick and Edith Zimmerman have pulled together stock photography memes such as women laughing alone with salad.

“The initiative is particularly important right now, said Jonathan Klein, co-founder and chief executive of Getty, because of the surge of image-based communication that has arisen from smartphone cameras and sites and apps like Pinterest and Instagram. Imagery has become the communication medium of this generation, and that really means how people are portrayed visually is going to have more influence on how people are seen and perceived than anything else,” Mr. Klein said” (Miller 2014).

With three of the most searched terms in Getty’s database being “women,” “business,” and “families,” this new collection of 2,500 images will quickly become relevant. Getty subscribers can search for relevant terms and see these images alongside the current collection, or they can specifically search Getty’s Lean In collection.

References:

Miller, Claire Cain. (2013, February 9). Leanin.org and Getty aim to change women’s portrayal in stock photos. New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/10/business/leaninorg-and-getty-aim-to-change-womens-portrayal-in-stock-photos.html?_r=0

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Fair Use Anxiety

The College Art Association has just released a new report titled “Copyright, Permissions, and Fair Use among Visual Artists and the Academic and Museum Visual Arts Communities: an Issues Study.” This report is phase one of a four phase project originally motivated by “concerns about how the actual and perceived limitations of copyright can inhibit the creation and publication of new work in visual arts communities.” The ultimate goal of this project is to develop and disseminate a Code of Best Practices for Fair Use in the Creation and Curation of Artworks and Scholarly Publishing in the Visual Arts.

While Colleen Flaherty provides an  excellent summary of the report for Inside Higher Ed, the more ambitious may choose to read the full report.

The Visual Resources Association published a statement on the fair use of images for teaching, research, and study in late 2011 which was endorsed by the College Art Association. For additional readings, Christine Sundt has aggregated numerous readings and codes of best practices in relation to fair use here.

Boudewijn de Groot

Boudewijn de Groot, probably thinking about fair use

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