The Internet can be a Wild West environment, and it can be frustrating to locate related visual resources on a given topic when those resources reside on hundreds of different websites. The Opening History web portal seeks to make this task less onerous by providing organized access to digital resources pertaining to United States history and culture. Within this aggregation of resources is a growing body of visual images from a wide range of libraries, museums, and archives. Currently, images are being aggregated from over 600 digital collections on the Internet. Through a single subject search, you can locate related images from dispersed collections. Opening History is an extension of the IMLS Digital Collections and Content (IMLS DCC) project, a collaboration among the University of Illinois Library, the Graduate School of Library and Information Science (Center for Informatics Research in Science and Scholarship), and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, a Federal agency that fosters innovation, leadership, and a lifetime of learning.
The University of Illinois Library and the College of Fine and Applied Arts have partnered with ARTstor, the Society of Architectural Historians and seven other colleges and universities on a new initiative called “Shared Shelf” to support the use of digital images in teaching, learning, and research. The other institutional partners include Colby College, Cornell University, Harvard University, Middlebury College, New York University, University of Miami, and Yale University. The project intends to make it practical for institutions to combine images created by individuals, those held by the institution, and those in ARTstor’s database—and to do so without the need for local on-site infrastructure and storage.
Shared Shelf’s functionality will support the ingest, description, retrieval, and display of images, and enable libraries and scholars at participating institutions to share those images across their own campuses, with other Shared Shelf institutions, and with geographically distributed groups of scholars. Images are accessed by users through ARTstor’s search and discovery environment, which makes it easy to find, collect, save, share, and send digital images. Individual users will also be able to submit image content from personal collections to institutional collections in ARTstor.
UI librarians and faculty and staff from FAA and the History Department are currently testing the first beta release of the Shared Shelf software. The final release of the software is expected in summer 2011. Click here for more information about this initiative.
(Image from ARTstor.)
John Bradley, Senior Analyst for Humanities Computing at King’s College, London, visited the University of Illinois’ Graduate School of Library and Information Science on July 20 and 21 to discuss, share, and demonstrate Pliny—a free, publicly available, open source software for note-taking and annotation of both digital and non-digital materials. Below is a screenshot illustrating how Pliny can be used to annotate a digital image. You can find instructions for downloading and installing Pliny here.
“The image is the frontispiece of Giambattista Vico’s Scienza Nuova, and Vico points out in his introduction that the image can be interpreted as an allegory of the topics he covers in his text. In our figure the user has used Pliny to label parts of the image that refer to several of those topics, and has also included a couple of comments about the significance of this image for his/her own study.”
The University of Illinois’s subscription to ARTstor, a nonprofit digital library of more than one million images, serves users in a wide variety of subject areas, including art, architecture, music, religion, anthropology, literature, world history, American Studies, Asian Studies, Classical Studies, Medieval Studies, Renaissance Studies, History of Medicine, and more. You can view a complete list of subjects, and download subject guides in PDF format here.
ARTstor authenticates users by their IP (Internet Protocol) addresses when you enter from a campus computer. If you access ARTstor for the first time from your home computer, start with a search for “ARTstor” at the Online Research Resources page on the Library’s website. You will then be directed through the proxy server and prompted to enter your University NETID and password. Once in ARTstor, sign up for a Registered User account.
Users with Instructor Privileges have access to even more features and tools than a Registered User. After logging in, click on the “Edit my profile” link in the upper right corner of the page. Click the “Instructor Privileges” tab. Type in the Instructor Privileges authorization code and password, which you can request from the local ARTstor contact listed in the window. When finished, click “Submit.” You will see a confirmation of your registration. (Images from ARTstor)
The Visual Resources Association offers a handy web tool called The Digital Image Rights Computator to “assist the user in assessing the intellectual property status of a specific image documenting a work of art, a designed object, or a portion of the built environment. Understanding the presence or absence of rights in the various aspects of a given image will allow the user to make informed decisions regarding the intended educational uses of that image.” The interactive program guides you through a series of questions addressing five variables:
- The copyright status of the underlying work represented in the image.
- The copyright status of the photographic reproduction.
- The specific source from which you have obtained the image under consideration.
- The intended use(s) of the image.
The Maps of Africa to 1900 digital collection contains images of maps listed in the bibliography Maps of Africa to 1900: A Checklist of Maps in Atlases and Geographical Journals in the Collections of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (Bassett & Scheven, Urbana: Graduate School of Library and Information Science, 2000). As such, this collection mines not only the University of Illinois Library’s map collections, but also its extensive collection of 19th century atlases and geographical journals, including the JournalGéographie de Paris (France), and Petermanns Geographische Mittheilungen (Germany).
Bassett’s and Scheven’s original bibliography lists 2,416 maps of which nearly 78 percent date from the 19th century. Africanists and historians of cartography are drawn to this century because the map of the continent changed so rapidly in the wake of European explorations, conquests, and colonization (Bassett & Scheven, p. iii). About a quarter of the collection dates from the sixteenth century, 9 percent from the seventeenth, and 13 percent from the eighteenth century.
The Library is digitizing as many of the maps as possible, condition permitting. Maps are added to the collection as they are completed.
Recently the University Library had ARTstor load the Saskia Image Collection into our institutional collections area of ARTstor. We have access to this wonderful resource through our membership in the CARLI Consortium. You will find the Saskia collection listed under “Institutional Collections” when you first enter ARTstor.
The collection contains 30,000 digital imagesof paintings, sculpture and architecture, including images from many important collections: ThePrado, the Kunsthistorisches Museum, the Uffizi, and the Louve as well as archaeological sites in Greece, Italy, Turkey and Egype. The images can be displayed and downloaded in high-resolution format. Additionally, the descriptive data about the images includes references to the occurrences of these images in 19 major art history texts, including Garner’s Art Through the Ages, 12th edition; Understanding Art, 7th edition; Art and Ideas, 10th edition; and Discovering Art History, 4th edition.