Using Giphy, the GIF Database We’ve Been Waiting For

Being based in Champaign-Urbana, I often chat with my long-distance friends over email and social media when we don’t have time for those long, three hour phone calls that will leave you with a sore throat and warm feelings. When you’re trying to communicate the inexpressible over email or text, the easiest way is through the use of GIFs. Needless to say, our GIF-based conversations end up being silly, and at times nonsensical. However our display of pop-cultural savvy and image-based rhetoric provides entertainment throughout the longest days.

My clear ‘need’ for GIFs is why I’m so thrilled to write about Giphy! Giphy is both an archive, search engine, and hub designed to help you find the perfect GIF for whatever you’re trying to express or convey to the digital world. Giphy is a great resource not only for personal use, but in terms of research, is an excellent database for anyone doing research on New Media, internet culture, fandoms, or time-based media.

Giphy even has a page dedicated to a curated selection of talented GIF artists, if you’re interested in the field of internet art. The variety of designs and topics shared on GIPHY are truly incredible, and also serve as a great resource for anyone studying digital communications.

Giphy fills a need for GIFs of your favorite fandom (can you guess mine?):

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GIFs expressing your successes (and your childhood):

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and of course, your frustration:

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If you’re not exactly sure what type of GIF you’re searching for, check out GiphyTV, a full-screen randomized selection of GIFs from every edge of the digital sphere. If one of your talents is creating GIFs, you can upload your work onto Giphy to be used and shared by people all over the world!

You can search Giphy not only by artist, but also by category, and when you find a GIF that seems to understand you more fully than your high school friends, you can save it to your favorites for easy access. All GIFs on Giphy can be shared easily to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr.

While Giphy is treasure trove of stimulation, it is also a really well organized search engine. All GIFs have the option to be tagged to make them more easily searchable, and most also include a link to the original source of the GIF. Searches are also enhanced by Giphy’s use of metadata sorted via hashtags.

For example, the GIF below, featuring Bette Davis, is tagged as: #yes, #agree, #bette davis, #amen, #approve. While this is a somehwat silly example, it’s pretty awesome that affirmative gestures can be shared and expressed in so many ways! (Right, Bette?)

giphy (2)

Audubon’s “Birds of America” comes to life on the new Audubon digital library

Birds of America, John James Audubon’s survey of America’s winged wildlife, is now available online to the public through a revamped digital library from the National Audubon Society.

This version of Birds of America is from an 1840 ‘First Octavo Edition’ of Audobon’s comprehensive seven volume text. This archive presents both his illustrations and original, un-modified textual descriptions. Their reference not only to his encounters with birds but chronicling his travels makes this archive invaluable to those researching the life of Audubon as well.

With over 435 watercolors of North American birds, made from hand-engraved plates, access has never been so easy to the text that is now considered the archetype of wildlife illustration. Excitingly, each print is available as a free high-resolution download for personal use.

Plate 397, "Scarlet Ibis" John J. Audubon's Birds of America.

Plate 397, “Scarlet Ibis” John J. Audubon’s Birds of America.

The new website allows you to sort the images chronologically, alphabetically, or by endangered species. Accompanying each plate is a full analysis of the species, including quantitative data such as average height, weight, and wing length. This collection, however, really comes to life with Audubon’s qualitative observations about the species. The descriptions include visual identifiers of particularly species, but also the charmingly-written passages from the original publication of Birds of America. These passages not only identify the species depicted, but also discuss Audubon’s travels as he made his way across America to record his images. From these passages, interesting details such as who his traveling companions were, details of collaborative illustrations, and environmental descriptors further animate the already vivid paintings.

On plate 112, “Downy Woodpecker,” Audubon writes, “If you watch its motions while in the woods, the orchard, or the garden, you will find it ever at work. It perforates the bark of trees with uncommon regularity and care; and, in my opinion, greatly assists their growth and health, and renders them also more productive. Few of the farmers, however, agree with me in this respect; but those who have had experience in the growing of fruit-trees, and have attended to the effects produced by the boring of this Woodpecker, will testify to the accuracy of my statement.” Telling passages such as these clearly convey Audubon’s unending desire to know and understand these creatures.

Plate 112, "Downy Woodpecker," John. J Audubon.

Plate 112, “Downy Woodpecker,” John. J Audubon’s Birds of America.

Of Plate 342, Columbian Owl, Audubon writes of their behavior based on his personal interactions with them, ” The burrow selected by this bird is usually found at the foot of a wormwood bush (Artemisia), upon the summit of which this Owl often perches, and stands for a considerable while. On their being approached, they utter a low chattering sound, start, and skim along the plain near the ground for a considerable distance. When winged, they make immediately for the nearest burrow; and when once within it, it is impossible to dislodge them.”

Plate 432, "Burrowing Owl, Large-headed Burrowing Owl, Little night Owl, Columbian Owl, Short-eared Owl," John J. Audobon's Birds of America.

Plate 432, “Burrowing Owl, Large-headed Burrowing Owl, Little night Owl, Columbian Owl, Short-eared Owl,” John J. Audobon’s Birds of America.

Regardless of whether or not you are an Audubon scholar, these illustrations are a beautiful preservation of North American Birds, and are truly a joy to look through due to their unique character and capturing of details rarely seen by the eye.

Plate 93, "Sea-side Finch" John J. Audubon's Birds of America.

Plate 93, “Sea-side Finch” John J. Audubon’s Birds of America.

 

To see Audubon’s illustrations in person, stop by the reference room on the second floor of the Main Library to see plates from Abbeville Press’ 1985 facsimile.

Open Buildings: A digital archive of the World’s Built Environment

One of my favorite things to do in the summertime is take a train into Chicago and stroll around the city. I am constantly in awe of the skyscrapers that tower above me. While I can recognize such buildings as the famous Lake Shore Drive Apartments by Modernist architect, Mies van der Rohe, many of the buildings that surround me, not only in Chicago, but even here in Champaign-Urbana remain anonymous (for more information on C-U architecture, check out the architecture tours in ExploreCU). This is unfortunate, as all buildings carry a history. Accessing this history has become incredibly easy, however, with the use of a website called, Open Buildings, an online archive and forum showcasing existing buildings and conceptual architecture.

Not only is Open Buildings an excellent resource to learn about the origins of everyday buildings that surround us, but it’s also a great tool to connect with other architecture fans, firms, and professionals. Open Buildings is both an archive of architectural structures, as well as a directory of architects.

Open Buildings allows you to search for specific buildings, architects, particular building functions, and even browse through collections. Each day, the website features a different building to explore, from Airspace Tokyo to a house built for skateboarders. Open Buildings features both well-known landmarks and innovative, lesser-known designs. In addition to searching through their featured housing, Open Buildings has curated collections for users to browse as well. Collection categories range from building function (Contemporary Religious Buildings), material use (Bamboo Architecture), to groups of architectures (Architects Under 40).

Open Buildings Homepage displaying Featured building.

Open Buildings Homepage displaying Featured building.

Open Buildings also has a map feature that lets you search for buildings of interest nearby (click the image below for some landmarks in Champaign-Urbana!) but even internationally. The website keeps records of existing buildings, structures that have since been destroyed, and conceptual or unrealized architectural projects. Because of Open Building’s comprehensive survey of architectural design, this website can be of use not only to working as an architects, but student designers, urban planners, and scholars alike.

Landmark Buildings in Champaign-Urbana, IL.

Map View of Landmark Buildings in Champaign-Urbana, IL.

Users can edit building profiles to add more information and images, and connect with other users to discuss design issues. There is even a directory feature that lists over 14,000+ working professionals. After creating a free account, you can upload your own portfolio, comment on designs, and contact professional architects.

A mobile app is even available, perfect for the next time you find yourself on city streets wondering, “What is this beautiful building?”

Fair Use in the Visual Arts: College Art Association publishes “Code of Best Practices”

On Monday, February 9th, the College Art Association published a comprehensive guide to proper practices concerning copyrighted visual materials. The final product, the “Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for the Visual Arts,” is a document designed to outline instances when fair use can be applied to the utilization of copyrighted materials in making art, archiving, museums, and academic scholarship. The need for a document like this is great, as most of the art work referenced in scholarship, classrooms, art-practices, and archives is copyrighted.

The project began in 2012, led by Professor Patricia Aufderheide in communication studies and Professor Peter Jaszi in law at American University, with instruction from CAA’s Task Force on Fair Use. The project, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, addresses five situations that centrally involve the use of copyrighted materials:

  • Writing about Art
  • Archives and Special Collections
  • Making Art
  • Exhibitions
  • Teaching about Art

This 20 page report not only introduces the idea of “fair use,” but also summarizes the guidelines for fair use involving each of the five categories in which copyrighted materials are used. So, what is fair use?

Generally speaking, fair use is a provision to the Copyright Act that allows certain use of copyrighted works without permission. Typically this pertains to contexts surrounding education or scholarly contexts.

The CAA also developed a clear and engaging infographic outlining both why the field of visual arts requires a fair use code, how this code was created, and the best ways to make use of this information. The infographic argues that many scholars, museum employees, and artists avoid engaging with certain material because it is copyrighted, creating a loss of potential scholarship, online exhibitions, and digital artwork. For particular questions or concerns about fair use, CAA has also provided a helpful FAQ.

Fair use has become especially important in the digital age as access to images has become easier than ever. As written by Aufderheide and Jaszi in the “Code of Best Practices,” “The goal of US copyright law is to promote the progress of knowledge and culture. Its best-known feature is protection of owner’s rights. But copying, quoting, recontextualizing, and reusing existing cultural materal can be critically important to creating and spreading knowledge and culture.”

Overall, the CAA’s development of a “Code of Best Practices” is an exciting one. Go forth and share these guidelines with your peers, and make use of them to further your scholarship, education, or artistic practice!

Codex Mendoza: The Historic Resource on Pre-Columbian Mexico is Now Digitally Available to the Public

A major primary source documenting the daily life of Aztec society has been recently digitized and made available to the public. This document, the 1542 Codex Mendoza is a detailed guide to Aztec life created under the orders of Viceroy Antonio de Mendoza twenty years after the Spanish conquest of Mexico. According to the introduction to the archive, it was created to “evoke an economical, political, and social panorama of the recently conquered lands.” Since 1659, it has been stored in the collection of the Bodleian Library at Oxford University.

Mexican codices are both image and text-based documents that many pre-Hispanic cultures created to record and share knowledge and information. Codices are of special interest as, according to Dr. Baltazar Brito and Dr. Gerardo Gutierrez:

“…the knowledge contained in most of them is not actually recorded in a language that represents a language, as in the case of modern languages. Codices are part of a different communication system…They are composed of images and icons that work in tandem with memory, voice, and knowledge of individuals able to read them.”

Codex2

Illustrations found within the Codex Mendoza manuscript. 

This digitized document represents the first online in-depth study of a Mexican codex, created by National Institute of Anthropology and History with the aid of the Bodleian Library and Oxford’s King’s College in London. Their overall approach is highly innovative in its means of sharing and analyzing a complex document of this nature. The high-resolution scans also feature three different tabs for analyzing the document, “Transcription,” “Hypermedia,” and “Materiality.” These tabs allow for three varied means of understanding the scanned pages before you. The transcription tab provides both a clear English and Spanish translation of the text, which appears in a text box hovers over the portion of the text your cursor is on (see screenshots). Viewing the document via the hypermedia lens adds additional information that is useful for depicting border decorations and drawn images within the text. The Materiality function allows a zoom feature to further explore the object. Hyperallergic author Allison Meier looks at this digitization in the long term, in her article about the Codex Mendoza, “A Historic Manuscript on Aztec Life Is “‘Virtually Repatriated.'” Meier writes that ideally, the National Institute of Anthropology and History plans for this to be just the first in a series of archived and digitally available Mexican codices.

Detail of illustrated Codex Mendoza, shown with text hovering over images to highlight the interactive interface of the platform. 

This interactive and intuitive website design is unique and allows for the use of this primary source to be not just of academic/scholarly interest, but to anyone with interest in this important piece of Mexican history. You can access this digitized version of the Codex Mendoza here.

Super Bowl Sunday! (not commercial-free)

Super Bowl Sunday is a fixture in American culture. For some, it’s a day when the two top performing teams in the National Football League come together for an epic bout. For others, it promises hours of adorable puppy antics, eating plenty of buffalo – themed snacks, and getting a heavy dose of pop-culture during the halftime show. However, perhaps the biggest spectacle keeping viewers tuned in is the ongoing saga of the Budweiser Clydesdale horse and its unbearable cute puppy friend (and the other ads, too).

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Budweiser billboard, 1922. 1st and Ocean, Asbury Park, NJ

Advertising during the Super Bowl is big business, being one of the few events on American television that viewers of almost all demographics watch. According to ABC, the average thirty second commercial during the big game can cost as much as $4.5 million.

Advertising from 1850-1920 looked slightly different. Duke University’s David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library has made over 9,000 images about the early history of advertising in the United States available online, providing researchers and interested users an invaluable perspective on the evolution of modern American business and culture. This collection is known as The Emergence of Advertising in America: 1850 – 1920 (or EAA). Accompanying EAA is a research guide, illustrating a curated set of illustrations from eleven different categories, including advertising cookbooks, billboards and outdoor advertising, and tobacco.

Previously, we’ve written about the Ad*Access project. Materials from Ad*Access also come from Duke University’s Rare Book & Manuscript Library, but contain materials from 1911 to 1955 covering subject categories such as beauty & hygiene, transportation, radio, television, and World War II.

The two projects together present over 16,000 images covering a span of over a century of advertising history. Users can search for a specific advertisement, or browse by company, product, date, format, publication, subject, medium, or headline. If you appreciate Super Bowl advertising, you’ll also enjoy its print-based precursor.

 

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.

CA174831L0252_preview

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!

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/

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.

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! 

 

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.

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

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

Wellcome Images Releases Over 100,000 Historical Images Online With CC-BY License

Wellcome Images, developed by the Wellcome Library in London, England, has announced the release of over 100,000 images now freely available under Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license. Users can download high resolution images to be used for personal or commercial purposes, with an acknowledgement to the Wellcome Library.

While Wellcome Images focuses mainly on images related health, medicine, and biomedical science, the content found in its vast collection spills into numerous other disciplines such as the arts and humanities. More information about the collection and Wellcome Library’s open access policy can be found below.

A woman diving off a bathing wagon in to the sea.

Venus getting ready for Summer Olympics 2016

From the Wellcome Library blog:

The images can be downloaded in high-resolution directly from the Wellcome Images website for users to freely copy, distribute, edit, manipulate, and build upon as you wish, for personal or commercial use. The images range from ancient medical manuscripts to etchings by artists such as Vincent Van Gogh andFrancisco Goya.

The earliest item is an Egyptian prescription on papyrus, and treasures include exquisite medieval illuminated manuscripts and anatomical drawings, from delicate 16th century fugitive sheets, whose hinged paper flaps reveal hidden viscera to Paolo Mascagni’s vibrantly coloured etching of an ‘exploded’ torso.

Other treasures include a beautiful Persian horoscope for the 15th-century prince Iskandar, sharply sketched satires by RowlandsonGillray and Cruikshank, as well as photography from  Eadweard Muybridge’s studies of motion. John Thomson’s remarkable nineteenth century portraits from his travels in China can be downloaded, as well a newly added series of photographs of hysteric and epileptic patients at the famous Salpêtrière Hospital

Simon Chaplin, Head of the Wellcome Library, says “Together the collection amounts to a dizzying visual record of centuries of human culture, and our attempts to understand our bodies, minds and health through art and observation. As a strong supporter of open access, we want to make sure these images can be used and enjoyed by anyone without restriction.”

If you are using Internet Explorer, just clear your browser cache to ensure that you’re directed to the updated site with the high resolution content.

Should you need any more information about the launch of these historical images, please don’t hesitate to contact the Wellcome Images team.

Google Open Gallery and Web Publishing

Google Open Gallery

Google Open Gallery

Many of you may already be familiar with the work of the Google Cultural Institute, such as the Google Art Project and numerous historical exhibitions. Yesterday, Google announced on it’s Europe blog that that technologies behind it’s Cultural Institute projects would be available to anyone wanting to organize and publish an exhibit.

Valentina Palledino, a writer for The Verge, describes Google Open Gallery as the love child between Flickr and Behance. Offering a clean, streamlined look with zoom capabilities, users many simply upload images and video and add Street View imagery and text to create engaging exhibitions.

Users must currently request an invitation to start creating exhibitions. Content is hosted on Google servers, and so users would be wise to create a backups exhibitions in the scenario that Open Gallery joins the list of retired Google services.

Current exhibitions have been produced from institutions such as the Belgian Comic Strip Center, Fort Collins Museum of Discovery, and the Museum of Bad Art.

In addition, for those lucky few traveling to Paris this winter break, Google has also opened the Lab at the Cultural Institute. This physical space is “where the worlds of culture and technology are brought together to discuss, debate and explore new ideas. It’s also where [Cultural Institute Employees] don our white coats and test out things like 3D scanners, million pixel cameras, interactive screens and more, working with museums to try them out inside their spaces to get their feedback. (Google Blog).

Online exhibition publishing for the masses isn’t a terribly new idea, however. Omeka is still a leader in this field, offering robust options for those wanting to host content on their own servers and also for those wanting to simplify with a hosted version. The University of Illinois Library maintains an institutional subscription to Omeka.net (the hosted version) for current students, faculty, and staff.

Scalar is a new, open source web publishing platform available, and is still in development. However, users may access the beta version, which is still fairly robust. This tool also has growing support at the University of Illinois; a series of workshops about Scalar occurred this past semester, and there may be more to come in the future.

Image group download in ARTstor

If you use images from the ARTstor digital library to teach, you might already be familiar with the export to Powerpoint tool. Recently, ARTstor has added another tool to help users utilize images from its database.

The image group download tool allows users to batch download images organized into image groups, rather than downloading images one at a time.

For reference, ARTstor has created an instructional video with step-by-step instructions.

New collections available in ARTstor

If you’re a frequent user of the ARTstor Digital Library, you might have noticed a few new institutional collections become available – specifically Landscape Architecture from the Bob Riley Collection and Modern and Contemporary Art from the Jonathan Fineberg Collection. 

Robert B. Riley graduated from the University of Chicago with a degree in philosophy, and subsequently went on to study under Mies van der Rohe at MIT where he received his Bachelor of Architecture. After a decade of private practice, he entered Imageacademia, teaching at the University of New Mexico, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, the University of Melbourne, and Harvard University. He has served as chair of the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture, the Environmental Design Research Association, and the Board of Senior Research Fellows at Dumbarton Oaks/Harvard University. He has been associate editor of Landscape and editor of Landscape Journal.

The images from his collection are drawn from his extensive collection amassed over fifty years of teaching and travel. While some are pulled from secondary sources, many are original to Professor Riley. The strength of this collection is its breadth and diversity, including the last three decades of professional landscape design from around the world, townscapes and landscapes from Hangzhou to St. Petersburg, classic European and Asian gardens, aerial views of settlement patterns and landscapes, and the popular and vernacular landscapes of North America.

ImageModern and Contemporary Art from the Jonathan Fineberg collection contains approximately 1,500 images of post World War Two art. Fineberg amassed a large personal collection of slides, predominantly in European and American art since 1850 but also including a broad range of other interests including child art, African art, architecture and pre 1850 European art. The University Library made a small selection for ARTstor consisting of original slides taken in certain artists’ studios and on several of the major temporary projects of Christo and Jeanne-Claude.

Jonathan Fineberg is Edward William and Jane Marr Gutgsell Professor of Art History Emeritus at the University of Illinois, Urbana and Trustee Emeritus at the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C. where he was founding director of the Center for the Study of Modern Art. http://www.jonathanfineberg.com He received his B.A. (1967) and Ph.D. (1975) from Harvard University and an M.A. from the Courtauld Institute of Art (1969) and studied psychoanalysis at the Boston and Western New England Psychoanalytic Institutes (1970-75, 1979-81). He received the College Art Association’s Award for Distinguished Teaching in the History of Art in 2001. He created the 2 hour PBS documentary Imagining America: Icons of 20th Century American Art (with John Carlin) and his major books include: Art Since 1940: Strategies of Being (Prentice-Hall 2010), The Innocent Eye: Children’s Art and the Modern Artist (Princeton 1997), Christo and Jeanne-Claude: On the Way to the Gates (Yale and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2004), Imagining America: Icons of 20th Century American Art (with John Carlin, Yale 2005), When We Were Young: New Perspectives on the Art of the Child (University of California Press, 2006); Alice Aycock: Drawings, Some Stories Are Worth Repeating (Yale, 2013); and A TroubIesome Subject: The Art of Robert Arneson (University of California Press, 2013). Forthcoming in 2014: Disquieting Memories: The Art of Zhang Xiaogang (Phaidon) and The Language of the Enigmatic Object: Modern Art at the Border of Mind and Brain – The Nebraska Presidential Lectures (University of Nebraska Press).

While these wonderful collections represent only a portion of the work and achievements of these two University of Illinois scholars, the contents are sure to be invaluable to researchers.

“Can I use this?” and Other Questions about Digital Image Access

Zucker, Steven. “Barbarini Faun, Beth’s ipad.” October 18th, 2012. Web. Flickr. Accessed 16 September 2013 from http://www.flickr.com/photos/profzucker/8214231791/.
CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

There are a number of online discussions about the challenges involved in obtaining high-quality digital images for educational purposes. These discussions bring up questions like, “These days we’re not trying to preserve Archimedes’ intellectual property. When do you think a piece of art or text becomes the property of the public, as opposed to belonging to the author or the artist?”, from The wide open future of the art museum: Q&A with William Noel.

It can be very frustrating to tango between free but poor-quality images with little to no attached metadata and expensive digital image services that control access to a harmful degree. Dr. Beth Harris & Dr. Steven Zucker ask, “Is the discipline of art history (together with museums and libraries) squandering the digital revolution?”, in their blog post, “Can I Use This?” How Museum and Library Image Policies Undermine Education.

In his article, “How Art History is Failing at the Internet”, James Cuno ponders the unanticipated observations and interpretations of open access projects like Ghent Altarpiece Web application. The application contains 100 billion pixels, and the images and metadata are available free of charge.

Kenneth Crews, the Director of the Columbia University Copyright Advisory Office explores copyright claims made by museums and concepts of ownership surrounding art in “Museum Policies and Art Images: Conflicting Objectives and Copyright Overreaching.”

While these articles offer much food for thought, it is often difficult to determine if an image can be used for your immediate scholarly needs. Other sources to reference include Stanford University’s “copyright and fair use” page, the Visual Resources Association’s statement on fair use, the Digital Image Rights Computator, and Peter Hirtle’s “copyright term and the public domain in the United States” chart.

The University Library is also offering a workshop on September 20th at 11am in room 314 that will cover where to find images online as well as basic copyright considerations. Hope to see you there!

Welcome Home, Illini / the Noun Project

As we start the Fall semester, the Pixels team would first like to welcome incoming freshman as well as returning students and faculty. This semester promises to be an exciting one, kicking off with events such as Ellnora at the Krannert Center and new campus initiative such as the Center for a Sustainable Environment and the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning. In addition, the University Library has been strengthening its services with more subject resources guides and instructional workshops (oh look, a guide to Ellnora!).

noun_project_14313

“Images” designed by Khanh Linh from The Noun Project

Campus happenings aside, there is a lot to be excited about in the digital collections realm as well. One such thing is The Noun Project, an online library consisting of symbols and representational icons. As described on its website, “The Noun Project is building a global visual language that everyone can understand. We want to enable our users to visually communicate anything to anyone.”

Users can search for various things (images, or tree) or concepScreen Shot 2013-09-03 at 11.51.48 AMts (running late, waking up) and then either download or purchase. Symbols uploaded to The Noun Project by various designers are licensed under Creative Commons licenses, allowing designers creative rights to own and share their own work while also promoting global collaboration in the creation of a common language. Read more about using symbols from The Noun Project here.

Recently The Noun Project hosted an “iconathon” with the Metropolitan New York  Library Council (METRO) to develop design cultural heritage symbols intended for use in institutions like libraries, archives and museums. More information about this, as well as a sampling of some of the symbols that were developed during the workshop, can be found here. These symbols are available to use under a Creative Commons public domain license.

If you’re not as excited about a symbol for digital preservation as I am, browse by collection or category to find your favorite.

Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) Launches Today

“It’s a great day for education and progress, as if the Ancient Library of Alexandria had met the Modern World Wide Web and digitized America for the benefit of all,” said Doron Weber, Vice Chair of the DPLA Steering Committee.

The DPLA is the first national digital library in the world with 2.4 million objects that are currently available. Executive Director, Dan Cohen, explains DPLA in three major points:

  • First, an easy-to-use portal where anyone can access America’s collections and search through them using novel and powerful techniques, including by place and time.
  • Second, a sophisticated technical platform that will make those millions of items available in ways so that others can build creative and transformative applications upon them, such as smartphone apps that magically reveal the history around you.
  • Third, along with like-minded institutions and individuals the DPLA will seek innovative means to make more cultural and scientific content openly available, and it will advocate for a strong public option for reading and research in the twenty-first century.

Digital copies of some objects are available for download, based on the content provider and the individual rights status of the object. The copyright status of items in the DPLA varies. Many items are in the public domain. For individual rights information about an item, please check the Rights field in the metadata or follow the link to the digital object on the content provider’s website for more information. The Harvard Crimson wrote, “Under the current copyright laws, the DPLA can only publish works 70 years past the author’s death, which makes the bulk of the twentieth century production still unavailable. The staff of the DPLA, however, is working to overcome this obstacle.”

Library Journal also has an article in celebration of the DPLA launch that highlights the collaborative efforts made along the road.

We hope you enjoy this exciting new collection!

Paris 3D: An Exraordinary Interactive Journey through Time

Dassault Systèmes has developed an online 3D model of the city of Paris, and they invite users to play the 3D experience on their website. Users may explore Paris by time period: Gallic period, Gallo-Roman period, the Middle Ages, the French Revolution, and the World’s Fair. Users can also explore the virtual city by historical monuments, and see how the city was built piece by piece with the help of historical expertise.

The Bastille in Paris as it looked around the time of the French Revolution, according to a multimedia rendering by Dassault Systèmes.

In his article from the NYT, Eric Pfanner, writes, “The core of the project is the interactive modeling, now available as an application for tablet computers. At the touch of the screen, you can zoom through two millennia of urban development, visiting the famous landmarks of Paris, including some that no longer exist.”

“Building Paris 3D took a team of 20 experts two years to assemble. Dassault, whose software is more commonly used by architects to design buildings, or by car companies to simulate the effects of crashes, worked with specialists from the Carnavalet and consulted old maps, archaeological drawings and other records in a quest for historical accuracy.”

ARTstor & Java Update

ARTstor is pleased to announce an update that will eliminate the need for Java in the ARTstor Digital Library. In the near future, single image downloads will be delivered in zip files.

ARTstor has been using Java for downloads of individual images, but recently the U.S. Department of Homeland Security began recommending that Java be disabled due to security concerns. After our update, users who download single image files will receive a zip file that contains a JPEG image and an HTML file with the associated metadata. In addition to removing the need for Java, using zip will allow ARTstor to pursue other feature enhancements, such as additional options for image group downloads.

For some users, mainly those on PCs, it will be necessary to install software such as 7Zip to unzip their downloads. ARTstor will be providing updated help documentation.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact ARTStor’s User Services team at userservices@artstor.org.

“Arts Organizations and Digital Technologies” A report by the Pew Internet and American Life Project

The Pew survey considered how arts organizations are using the Internet, social media, and other digital technologies to connect with the public. Digital technologies help art organizations to engage with the community, increase their audiences, and promote the arts among other positive outcomes.

The majority of participants voiced concern that cost and staffing budget posed the biggest challenges in adopting digital technologies. Other concerns for digital technologies included the negative impact on audience members’ attention spans for live performances, and unfiltered public criticism via social media outlets.

On a purely practical level, digital technology, the internet, and social media are powerful tools, giving arts organizations new ways to promote events, engage with audiences, reach new patrons, and extend the life and scope of their work. “We can reach more patrons, more frequently, for less money,” said one respondent. “That’s been a huge change in the 30 years I’ve been in the business.”

Figure 5

View the entire report at the Pew Internet website.

Your Paintings: Putting the UK’s entire national collection of over 200,000 oil paintings online

In an article from The Guardian, art correspondent Mark Brown wrote, “The Public Catalogue Foundation [PCF], announced that it had succeeded, in partnership with the BBC, in its mission to put images of every publicly owned oil painting in the UK online – that means every painting, good or bad, on display or in stores, and whether owned by museums, galleries, councils or universities. Those held by police stations, zoos and a lighthouse are also included.”

site-1024.jpg

The online collection recently made the news when an art historian using Your Paintings identified a previously unknown painting as the work of 17th Century master Van Dyck.

The PCF will continue to work on Your Paintings as there are still nearly 30,000 paintings which are unattributed and it wants to correct that. It is also planning a similar exercise for publicly owned sculpture.

You may browse the collection at Your Paintings’ website, and there is also a Tagger Project that invites users to participate and help to make Your Paintings more searchable.

Help us tag the Nation's Art Collection

Images from the History of Medicine

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).

The collection includes portraits, photographs, caricatures, genre scenes, posters, and graphic art illustrating the social and historical aspects of medicine dated from the 15th to 21st century.

Vein man

Anatomy of a SkeletonStop Aids

Several subgroups within the database are interesting as separate entities. A collection of 6,000 wood engravings of prominent European physicians, purchased in Amsterdam in 1879, was the Library’s first graphic arts acquisition. There are illustrations from landmark medical treatises, such as Vesalius’ De humani corporis fabrica and William Harvey’s De motu cordis. Among the fine prints are several hundred caricatures on medical subjects by Daumier, Cruikshank, Rowlandson, and Boilly. There are patent medicine advertisements from the late 19th century and posters on contemporary issues, such as AIDS, smoking, and illicit drugs.

(Text and images from Images from the History of Medicine at the National Library of Medicine’s website.)

Painting Show @Figure One Gallery, February 22nd 2013

Normally at pixels we like to post information related to digital content, but we’re making an exception to highlight the show of a very talented former VRC graduate assistant  who’s work you’ll be able to go see in real life! 

The MFA students here at the U of I produce amazingly creative bodies of work, and Dan is no exception. Dan received his BFA in painting from Indiana University Bloomington and is currently an MFA candidate (expected 2013) at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. His new body of work will be shown at Figure One in Champaign IL, with the closing reception this Friday, February 22nd,  from 6-9pm.

 

Who:

Dan Gratz: Holoscapes/Moving Mountains

Where: 

Image

2012
Oil on Canvas
24″x36″

Figure One Gallery

116 North Walnut

Champaign, Illinois 61820


When:

Wed: 11:00 am – 3:00 pm

Thu – Sat: 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm 

Friday, February 22, 2013. 6:00pm until 9:00pm. (Closing Reception)

 

Exhibition runs February 13 – March 01, 2013

Reception: Friday, February 22, 2013 6-9PM

Through Frida’s Lens

Photo of Frida Kahlo

Frida and furry friend

Frida Kahlo is a perennial favorite, and her portraiture has made her face as familiar to many of us as that of an old friend. Still, there is something very satisfying about a recently revealed collection of Kahlo’s personal photos. A handful of them were taken by Kahlo, but she is often in front of the lens. Serious, composed – engaging with the world around her: one can imagine what it would have been like to be in her staggering presence. NPR’s Daily Picture Show blog has posted 13 of the approximately 6500 photos that Kahlo had in her collection. They were only released to the public in 2007, her husband Diego Rivera had requested that they be kept private.

The voyeur in me is thrilled, like finding a box of photos of my parents and their friends when they were young. These photos reaffirm the mystique, while simultaneously humanizing an art legend.

The Artisphere in Arlington, VA is currently displaying some of these photos.

Ringling Collection: Portraits of Actors 1720-1920

Ringling Collection

Portraits of ActorsThe Ringling Collection is comprised of cabinet cards, postcards and photographs of American and British actors and actresses.  The Collection is one of several housed in the Belknap Collection for the Performing Arts in the Smathers LibrariesDepartment of Special Collections on the campus to the University of Florida (Gainesville, FL). This glorious assemblage of images traces the history of stagecraft through Shakespearean prints, 18th, 19th and 20th century European and American handbills, posters and heralds, souvenir photographs and prints of the legendary performers of the past three centuries, numerous production and publicity stills of 20th century plays and films, and hundreds of individual photographs of the legendary and the now forgotten stars of minstrel, vaudeville and burlesque.

The Ringling Collection is important not simply for its images of the idols of a bye-gone era but for its depictions of period clothing and hair styles.  Aside from clothing and hair styles, something of the period’s social mores and attitudes can be seen among the poses taken; those taken by men can be distinguished from those taken by women and, alternately, by children.

trial access to Material ConneXion database until February 16th

Are you trying to invent the next big thing, but struggling to find a material that’s fire

"Crazy Lace" Applications include packaging, and interior wall coverings in retail, hospitality and commercial spaces

“Crazy Lace” Applications include packaging, and interior wall coverings in retail, hospitality and commercial spaces

resistant, biodegradable, and translucent? By searching the Material Connexion database, you’re sure to find something that meets your needs.

To access the trial database, click on this link.

Material ConneXion self-describes as “the world’s largest resource of new materials.” The Library houses over 7,000 advanced, sustainable and innovative materials representing eight categories: polymers, naturals, metals, glass, ceramics, carbon-based materials, cement-based materials, and processes.  It features truly cutting-edge materials and applications, including the world’s only collection of Cradle to Cradle sustainable materials.  Material ConneXion researches materials for all design disciplines: aerospace design; architecture; art; automobile design;  fashion design; graphic design; industrial design; interior design; landscape architecture; package design; product design; textiles; etc. While Material ConneXion has offices all over the world, the closes to Champaign-Urbana is in New York City. Fortunately, their online database provides material aficionados and researchers invaluable information from anywhere in the world.

The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Library is currently offering its users a trial subscription, ending February 16th, 2013. While we hope to subscribe to this fantastic resource in the future, we need to first generate enough interest. Please tell us what you think.

Screen Shot 2013-02-05 at 12.22.44 PMUsers can search for materials by keyword or MC# (if known), or can filter materials by properties such as sustainability, physical properties, and processing in the advanced search area. The search results provide images of the materials along with detailed material descriptions, usage characteristics, and manufacturer and distributor contact information, all written and compiled by the Material ConneXion staff of material specialists.

To learn more about the study of materials, enjoy the videos at the links below!

A library of new materials

Future Tech – Material ConneXion

Interactive Images with ThingLink

I love images. I love links that let me know more about an image. I may love ThingLink, but it is too soon to tell. How would you use it?

ThingLink

ThingLink

ThingLink lets you embed images with everything from text to a YouTube video to a link to your Etsy shop. Hovering over an image activates icons on the image, hovering over an icon gives you a preview of the annotation.

ThingLink will ensure that you will not miss out on any opportunity to share your online presence. Let us know how you are using ThingLink!

New Year, New Site!

The Visual Resources Center is pleased to announce the launch of their new website!

Image

Find images!

Discover tools for editing, presenting and preserving visual materials!

Get help and further resources!

The new website contains much of the same content as the old, but we’ve moved things around in the hopes of making it more streamlined and easier to find what you’re looking for. Please send us any comments or suggestions you may have!

Instructional images will continue to be available via ARTstor.

a Thanksgiving special: images from the Farm Security Administration

While The Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information photograph collection

Detroit (vicinity), Michigan. Girls harvesting medicinal(?) plants

has been part of the Library of Congress’s collection since the 1940’s, only recently the black and white negatives were digitized and made available online.

The Farm Security Administration began as a result of the New Deal as part of the Department of Agriculture. In an effort to document the work of the Department’s programs, photographers traveled throughout the United States and Puerto Rico to observe and capture a changing America. The project initially documented cash loans made to individual farmers by the Resettlement Administration and the construction of planned suburban communities. The second stage focused on the lives of sharecroppers in the South and migratory agricultural workers in the midwestern and western states. As the scope of the project expanded, the photographers turned to recording both rural and urban conditions throughout the United States as well as mobilization efforts for World War II.

Well-researched and trained in documentarian techniques, they were encouraged to photograph everything and anything relevant to their assignment. The byproduct of this effort included jobs for artists and a rich archival record. The photos document everything from farm communities to the development of early suburbs. The collection includes images from photographers such as Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, and Russell Lee, among others.

This collection consists of a bounty of over 100,000 images. Feast your eyes on this slice of American heritage!

Family harvesting milo maize

Material (in a Digital) World

Rocco from MateriaWhile a completely tactile web might still be a long ways off, materials are finding a new home in digital interfaces. As learning, shopping, and other interactions are increasingly encountered through screens, how does the design, architecture or fine arts student encounter materials?

One answer is Materia. It is a freely-accessible, online material explorer. Anyone can scroll through emerging and green materials or use a faceted material, sensorial or property search. This Netherlands-based site makes it a little bit easier for students and practicing professionals to imagine the tactile-effect of raw building materials.

For something beyond a faceted online search, Material ConneXion might be of interest. They are an international group providing in person experience with sustainable and cutting edge building materials and textiles as well as a subscription-based database. While they have a US-based materials library in New York, they also have a service for academic institutions to lease or buy a curated selection of items to have on-site. The cost and rate of innovation of new materials is high, having an expert’s insight into what is worthwhile is invaluable. Check out the video over at ArchDaily for a whirlwind tour!

Discovering art on Art.sy

 Art.sy is an online art repository whose mission is “to make all the world’s art freely accessible to anyone with an Internet connection”. Art.sy works with galleries and art institutions to collect art across many different movements and genres, and then users can peruse the collection.  This resource is compared to Internet radio Pandora, Pinterest, or Netflix in its ability to browse the content on Art.sy. The site was launched on October 8th, 2012, and has over 17,000 artworks posted so far.

Art meets technology through the Art Genome Project, an organization that codes the characteristics of an artwork and creates relationships between different pieces to make searching for similar art a possibility. Users can manipulate the search filter to bring up results based on the medium. color, or size of the piece. Users may not download any of the images.

Art.sy is a good place for art appreciators to discover new art. For more information on how Art.sy is mapping art on the web, check out this article by The New York Times.

ARTtube: videos about art and design

Welcome back to the start of a new semester. We hope you’ve all had fun and relaxing summers, and are ready to start the year fresh.

To ease you into your scholarly pursuits, we present you with ARTtube. Like Youtube, ARTtube is a collection of short videos that you may find fun and addicting. Unlike Youtube, however, the videos are strictly related to art and design, and are educational in nature (sorry, no keyboard cats here).

For ARTtube, five Dutch museums (Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam,Gemeentemuseum, The Hague,Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, M HKA, and De Pont)  have partnered to create videos that contain interviews with leading artists, designers, and curators, sneak peaks into exhibitions, and an inside look into art restoration. The videos posted to the site are a great way to learn about the museums and their collections. To learn more about ARTtube, click here.

Europeana on Pininterest

Europeana on PininterestIf we’ve got you hooked on Europeana Exhibitions, you might also want to check out the visually striking collections that have resulted from Pinterest collaborations with Europeana partners. According to the June 2012 Europeana Newsletter,  Europeana has recently  teamed up with five leading European galleries, libraries, archives and museums to curate Pinterest boards using content available through Europeana. “Together with the Biblioteca de Catalunya, Varna Public Library, the Swedish National Heritage Board, The Swedish Royal Armoury and the University of Barcelona, Europeana has explored diverse themes that range from posters from the Spanish Civil War and picturesque postcards of the Black Sea, to stunning illustrations from primatologist Jordi Sabater Pi.”

ImageSearch from the University of Illinois Library: Federated search for images

EasySearch, from the University of Illinois Library,  is a component of Search Assistant, a resource discovery path for users which allows for searching across multiple electronic resources in a subject area. The Library recently added an image search function by which you can limit search results to images only.  The image search functionality searches and returns results for images from across 25 extensive online resources:  Google Images; Library of Congress Image Search; National Portrait Gallery; Flickr; USA.gov Images; V&A Images; NASA Images; Earth Science World Image Bank; Fish & Wildlife Digital Library; Getty Images; David Rumsey Map Collection; SpringerLink Images; UIUC ContentDM Digital Collections; CARLI Digital Collections; Illinois Harvest; World Digital Library; Europeana; National Park Service; National Archives; Smithsonian Institution; Emilio Segre Visual Archives; AGSL Photo Archive; Animal Science Image Gallery; and VADS.  From the EasySearch screen, select “Advanced Search,” enter your search terms, and click the box to limit the search results to images, then click “Perform Search.”

ImageSearch

Search results with links to found images will be displayed:

ImageSearch results

Europeana Exhibitions

Europeana Exhibitions is the virtual exhibition space for Europeana, Europe’s digital library, museum and archive.  Europeana enables people to explore the digital resources of Europes museums, libraries, archives and audio-visual collections. This virtual exhibition space showcases the content available on Europeana. Provided with extensive curatorial information, the virtual exhibits allow the user to learn and discover even more about the displayed items. All exhibitions are available in English. Translations into other languages are done with the help of volunteers, contributing partners, and sometimes professional translators. The eclectic exhibitions include Untold Stories of the First World War; Explore the World of Musical Instruments; From Dada to Surrealism; and Yiddish Theatre in London, among others.

Back from the Dead: The NYT’s Photo Archive Tumblr

Here at the Visual Resource Center we find ourselves up to our necks in close-to-forgotten images everyday. We are in good company. The Lively Morgue, the New York Times photo archive tumblr, is giving new life to images taken for the paper since 1896. They have over one hundred years of archives to work from, documenting New York City and the world throughout the twentieth century and beyond.

The Lively Morgue

A glimpse into the NYT’s photo editing process

The best part is one click on a photo flips the photo over. You get to see the back of each physical image. Giving you a glimpse into the NYT’s photo selection process and insight into how these images were created and used (or almost used). Each time a photo was considered for publication it was stamped with the date it was pulled from the archive. The photographer’s name and a description of the image are inscribed on the back. Any caption that was published alongside it is pasted on the back as well.  It is fascinating look into the process of photo editing.

They just started posting this February, so we are eager to continue watching yesterday’s news unfold with the Lively Morgue.

A walk on the wild side

Cat pictures are fun and all, but sometimes they leave a bit to be desired.

Dali and his Ocelot

If only Dali’s ocelot was a LOL(wild)cat…

We think we have found what that something is. In honor of the end of the semester and last-minute procrastination we present: Wild Pets! Who cares how easy it is to confuse a cat with a laser pointer when you can see Audrey Hepburn grocery shopping with her pet deer! a snake on a leash! or a toucan taking a bath!

We found the Wild pets photo collection on Retronaut. Organized by decade from the 1800s to WWII there is a collection of (completely decontextualized) images around nearly every theme you can think of.

Warning: this site is enough to keep even the most looming final paper at bay.

The Biodiversity Library’s Online Presence Grows

The Missouri Botanical Garden has received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to digitize natural history illustrations for the Biodiversity Heritage Library.

Bird from the BioDivLibrary Flickr account

Bird from the BioDivLibrary Flickr account

The immediate connection between the NEH and the Biodiversity Heritage Library was not clear to me, but it is strong. These images (in addition to being sumptuous displays of flora) are the history of science. They are the documentation of the past that tells a story about how we have come to understand the world.  This is the place where science and the humanities meet.

Currently the collection is housed and manually managed on Flickr, but the grant will enable the library to build a more sophisticated collection management tool. There will now be multiple access points to this freely available resource. We can’t wait!

The biodiversity library includes images of birds by John James Audubon. If you are around the University of Illinois campus be sure to check out the Audubon display case on the second floor of the Main Library.

Personal Digital Archiving with the iLibrarian

ILibrarian

iLibrarian Blog

How many of us still have photos from our first digital cameras? Can you locate the paper you wrote on your desktop computer five years ago? Maybe your migrations between laptops and phones, across platforms and formats have been seamless, but for the rest of us there is some help. The iLibrarian blogger Ellyssa Kroski has been leading workshops

on personal archiving, and has graciously made some of her techniques available online.  Unfortunately, we can’t throw everything in a shoebox and know that it will be there twenty (or even two!) years down the line. Today’s effective personal archiving is not quite as easy as putting everything on an external hard drive either, but the extra effort is worthwhile.

She covers storage, organization and guidelines for thinking about file formats, in addition to a myriad of other concerns. Be a good steward of your own data with the iLibrarian!

Note: If you are on campus and interested in personal archives you may be interested in the Personal Digital Archiving conference on Thursday, April 12. Jeff Ubois, founder and frequent chair of the Personal Digital Archiving conference held at the Internet Archive will begin at 4 pm in Room 126 LIS (501 E. Daniel, Champaign).

WikiPainting: A place to put your art history skills to work

Still in beta mode, with room to grow, it is surprising the WikiPainting did not exist before. The good news is: it exists now and is growing quickly.

Senecio

Paul Klee's 'Senecio' from WikiPainting

Faceted searching by artist and artworks among other things let you wander the halls of this virtual museum on your own initiative. Explore the evolution of a personal style or the favored subject of an artist throughout time.

This non-profit, online repository for fine art has the ambitious goal of covering all of art history. And we aren’t talking just the canon here, everything from natural pigments on a stonewall in a cave to something a bit beyond MS Paint. Contribute content to WikiPainting if you can. Help it become a community tool for enriching our collective knowledge of art history.

Expanded Google Art Project: or How I Learned to Stop Worrying about Finding High Resolution Images

When Google introduced its Art Project last year, it made a big splash amongst art aficionados, educators, artists, curators, and researchers. There were 1,000 images available from 17 different institutions worldwide, enabling views to zoom in to view incredibly close details. However, almost all of these images were those from Western masters, which invited a flurry of critique to the project. Many of these same art aficionados, educators, artists, curators, and researchers offered ideas on how to enhance the project, and Google listened.

Today, the Art Project includes over 30,000 images from 155 institutions worldwide (street view for 46) , with more on the way. All sizes and types of institutions are embraced, including the White House in Washington D.C. to the National Gallery of Modern Art in Delhi, India.

In addition to adding 29,000 new images to the Art Project, Google has been busy enhancing the tools used to discover and share art. Amit Sood from the Art Project writes:

“Here are a few other new things in the expanded Art Project that you might enjoy:

  • Using completely new tools, called Explore and Discover, you can find artworks by period, artist or type of artwork, displaying works from different museums around the world.
  • Google+ and Hangouts are integrated on the site, enabling you to create even more engaging personal galleries.
  • Street View images are now displayed in finer quality. A specially designed Street View “trolley” took 360-degree images of the interior of selected galleries which were then stitched together, enabling smooth navigation of more than 385 rooms within the museums. You can also explore the gallery interiors directly from within Street View in Google Maps.
  • We now have 46 artworks available with our “gigapixel” photo capturing technology, photographed in extraordinary detail using super high resolution so you can study details of the brushwork and patina that would be impossible to see with the naked eye.
  • An enhanced My Gallery feature lets you select any of the 30,000 artworks—along with your favorite details—to build your own personalized gallery. You can add comments to each painting and share the whole collection with friends and family. (It’s an ideal tool for students.)”

The Art Project works under the auspices of the Google Cultural Institute, which is “building tools that make it simple to tell the stories of our diverse cultural heritage and make them accessible worldwide.” For those of you not so interested in art, the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, Yad Vashem Commemoration of the Holocost, Digitized Dead Sea Scrolls, La France en relief, and Le Pavillion de l’Arsenal projects may interest you.

While the Art Project is without a doubt exciting, some of you may be wondering how this competes with your other favorite high resolution database: ARTstor. The main difference is that while Google’s Art Project may be fancier to look at and the images an even higher resolution, viewers are still not able to download images for in class presentations. If you want to show your students what Van Gogh’s brushstrokes looked like, you’ll have to take a screenshot and add it to a PowerPoint (or whatever presentation software you use). ARTstor, however, is much more educator friendly. With tools to share your image collections that don’t involve social media and presentation tools such as the Offline Image Viewer, you’re still bound to ‘wow’ your students. Additionally, ARTstor boasts over one million images in its database verses the 30,000 in the Art Project. That’s about 34x the amount of images (or something, I didn’t go into math for a reason)!

So, to sum up: Google Art Project is now more amazing. ARTstor is still amazing. Happy viewing!

NGA Images

Copyright can seem like a real quagmire sometimes. What images can I use without messy repercussions? Is someone going to sue me? What is open access? What is fair use?

Rubens Peale with a Geranium

Rubens Peale with a Geranium by Rembrandt Peals

Well, I’ve got good news. The National Gallery of Art has a collection of images you can reproduce without fear, for any use. Over 20,000, high-resolution, open access images are at your disposal. For free! You can be sitting pretty like our pal over here, with your polished, professional, and perfectly legal presentation.

Copyright currently covers a work until 70 years after the creator’s death. That is the simple version though. I mean, really simple. A more nuanced approach to copyright can be found on April 9 at the Savvy Researcher Workshop titled: Practical Copyright: Considerations for Teaching and Research.

In addition to being open access, NGA Images allows users to browse, search, share, save, and download images. The user-friendly site has also set up it’s own featured image collections, including a folder of “frequently requested” images such as Vermeer’s “Woman Holding a Balance.”

You’re probably thinking that this can’t possibly get any better. But it can. NGA also includes a reproduction guide in it’s help section for those of you publishing with images. Including this document when you send images to you publisher will help to ensure maximum image quality, making you and your publication shine.

Explore and enjoy!

Historic Detroit

While I’ve never visited Detroit, browsing through the 180 galleries of buildings and monuments on Historic Detroit makes it seem as familiar to me as my own hometown.

The Alexander Macomb Monument is unveiled in 1908. Photo from the Burton Historical Collection.

 

Founded in June 2011 by Dan Austin, author of “Lost Detroit: Stories Behind the Motor City’s Majestic Ruins” and former writer, photographer, researcher and webmaster behind the Detroit history site BuildingsofDetroit.com, Historic Detroit serves as a collaborative platform for users to share images and memories of Detroit’s architecture.

Visitors to the site can either search or browse through by place, or sort their results by architect. All contributors to the site maintain full rights on their submissions.

Closer to Van Eyck: Rediscovering the Ghent Altarpiece

If you liked Google’s Art Project but found yourself disappointed that it didn’t include the Ghent Altarpiece, you may have a psychic connection with the Getty Foundation. Like the Art Project, “Closer to Van Eyck…” offers users extreme close up views of the work. The website presents the results from “Lasting Support,” an interdisciplinary research project aiming to assess the structural condition of the Ghent Altarpiece. In addition to high resolution images, users may also view the surface beneath the paint via infrared reflectography (IRR) and x-radiography. Read more about project Lasting Support here.

T. Enami and Japanese photography in the Meiji / Taisho Era

T. Enami. The Tea Pickers. ca. 1905-1920

While cleaning out the Visual Resources Center this past summer, I came across a gorgeous set of  hand-painted lantern slides. The subject matter was Japanese landscapes and everyday scenes, but beyond that there was no information about who the artist was, when these slides were created, or where they may have come from. I wanted to digitize them, but first I needed more information. These slides remained in the back of my mind for the better part of 6 months, until yesterday when I used Tineye and stumbled upon a goldmine.

Flickr user Okinawa_Soba has digitized and made available hundreds of images made by

T. Enami. Mount Fuji and Boatmen in the Early Morning Light. On the Shore of Lake Yamanaka. Ca.1907.

T. Enami, a Japanese photographer active ca. 1892-1929. Scanned from original lantern slides, prints, stereoviews, and postcards, the collection is organized into sets by either medium (stereoviews, halftone, etc.) or subject matter (post 1923 Japan, squatting geisha, etc.). While the Flickr site is informative, with each set and image accompanied by a description, Okinawa_Soba points viewers to a website he created focused on the life and work of T. Enami. A lot of the text from the Flickr collection is duplicated from the website (or visa-versa), though the website seems to be more comprehensive in terms of information about Enami’s life and studio. One caveat is that it is difficult to determine the source of this information.

If you’ve gone through both the Flickr collection and website and still find yourself wanting more T. Enami, Okinawa_Soba directs users to collections at the bottom of the T. Enami collection on Flickr. It is explained, however, that many of the images are not posted on line or may be wrongly attributed.

All images are available for non-commercial use, with proper attribution. If you’d like to see some of the lantern slides in person, stop by the Visual Resources Center in 210a architecture!

Wiki Loves Art Nouveau

the interior of the Museum of Applied Arts in Budapest taken by Csaba Attila Kontar

Wiki Loves Art Nouveau is a collaboration between Wiki Loves Monuments and Europeana, in which crowd-sourced photo submissions are paired with informational content to create an interactive online exhibition that explores the Art Nouveau movement. Europeana sponsored an Art Nouveau category in the Wiki Loves Monuments photo contest, and from a pool of 2,600 submissions viewed 16,000 times by 700 voters, the winning image of the interior of the Museum of Applied Arts in Budapest taken by Csaba Attila Kontar was selected. The winning image along with forty other highly ranked photographs and an additional ten selected by a panel of European editors have been combined to create this online exhibition.The exhibition explores the Art Nouveau movement through four thematic micro exhibits, three of which are format based and one that features supplemental images and thematic exploration selected by the editors. The formats explored include exteriors, interiors, and details creating an over-arching emphasis on the way that technological innovation enabled artists, architects and designers to pursue unified exteriors, interiors, and decorative elements. Attention is paid to recurring design motifs drawn from nature and the gravitation towards undulating non-linear elements as a rejection of the existing neoclassical conventions.

The exhibition is smartly structured – it provides a thorough introduction to the style with ample illustration that explains the movements theoretical substance while allowing users unfamiliar with Art Nouveau to grasp its aesthetic execution. At the same time, the structured presentation of the images and text creates a systematic argument for the cohesiveness of the style and the thoroughness with which it was applied in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The exhibition focuses on Art Nouveau as a stylistic break with tradition and a reaction against convention visible in everything from its non-geometric architecture to the use of gold decoration and lighting to evoke a whimsical other-worldliness. The exhibition manages to stress the hallmarks of the style in a structured and systematic way without reducing it to a formula. For a more comprehensive history and exploration of the style, see Europeana’s other Art Nouveau virtual exhibition

.