Earth as Art

Florida Evreglades

While scientists and engineers at the U.S. Geological Survey’s EROS Data Center, just north of Sioux Falls, South Dakota , collect satellite imagery to document Earth’s natural disasters, they sometimes enjoy the images for their aesthetic beauty as well. The scientists select about 40 of these images for a special exhibit, called “Earth as Art,” at the Library of Congress. The exhibit is now in its third incarnation, and the latest prints just recently arrived in Washington, D.C. to begin their one-year stint on display. All of the Earth as Art images are available at the link above, and can be downloaded for personal or commercial use. According to Dirk Lammers from the Assicoated Press, some of the images have made it into German coffee table books and neckties.

Historian’s Eye

The Historian’s Eye, created by Yale University professor Matthew Frye Jacobson, is a collection of over 1,000 digital images and audio archive addressing contemporary issues. Started in 2009 to document the historic moment of President Obama’s inauguration through photographs and interviews, the collection has since evolved to include  images related to the “2008 economic collapse and its fallout, two wars, the raucous politics of healthcare reform, the emergence of a new right-wing formation in opposition to Obama, the politics of immigration, Wall Street reform, street protests of every stripe, the BP oil spill, and the seeming escalation of anti-Muslim sentiment nationwide.” According to the project’s creator, the Historian’s Eye seeks to “trace the fate of “our better history,” as the nation faces unprecedented challenges with a president at the helm who is fully inspirational to some, palpably unnerving to others.  In addition to catching this moment like a firefly in a mason jar, the project seeks to encourage a new relationship to history itself—a mental habit of apprehending the past in the present and history-in-the-making.” In addition to viewing Jacobson’s images on the Historian’s Eye website, users are encouraged to participate in this project by contributing to the Historian’s Eye Flickr group. This is a fantastic collaborative resource for those interested in exploring contemporary issues and documenting history as it happens.

Center for Multimedia Excellence media survey

If you haven’t filled out the Center for Multimedia Excellence’s campus media survey yet, what are you waiting for? It takes 5-10 minutes, and the results will help to improve campus media accessibility, management, and preservation. You may remember reading about this through a Mass Mail sent by the Vice Chancellor of Research, but just in case you don’t, it’s re-posted below.

“To: Faculty and Staff:

The Data Stewardship Initiative and the Center for Multimedia Excellence are working jointly to identify multimedia collections to better understand management and preservation requirements on campus. The groups will contact faculty and staff to help the campus more clearly understand the needs of researchers, multimedia producers and archivists.

We ask that you participate in these efforts by responding to a brief online survey . This survey seeks to identify collections of audio, film, video, and still images of value for research, instructional, and outreach purposes.

A more detailed census of media collections will follow, conducted through interviews and visits to buildings across campus by students from the Graduate School of Library and Information Science. In addition, the Data Stewardship Initiative will conduct a second survey focused on non-media based research data holdings on campus later this spring.

The Data Stewardship Initiative consists of the University Library, Office of the Chief Information Officer, Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research, and other campus stakeholders. It was created in response to the Stewarding Excellence at Illinois report that recommended that the campus develop a baseline understanding of the activities and needs for data services, curation, and stewardship. Details are available here.

The Center for Multimedia Excellence, comprised of campus multimedia professionals, seeks to identify individuals and campus units that hold digital and analog media collections in order to develop a comprehensive strategy for the preservation of media used for research and non-research purposes. Details are available here.

These efforts are vital to the University’s research, education, and public engagement missions. Increasingly, funding agencies such as the National Science Foundation are requiring grant recipients to better manage and provide access to data generated by projects.

Even when not required, long-term data storage and accessibility are useful to researchers who generate data, as well as to scholars who later use the data in their own work. As a major research university, we must identify ways to improve the ability of our researchers to access and store data, and we must develop a comprehensive strategy to preserve and share our rich multimedia collections here at Illinois.”

Hypercities

For those of you who attended the 2010 GIS fair last November, you heard UCLA’ Dr. Todd Presner speak about his project, Hypercities, and are probably already familiar with what it has to offer. If not, read on.

As described on the GIS fair keynote abstract, “Hypercities is a collaborative digital mapping platform that explores the layered histories of city spaces. Awarded one of the first “digital media and learning” prizes by the MacArthur Foundation/HASTAC in 2008, HyperCities is an interactive, web-based research and teaching environment for authoring and analyzing the cultural, architectural, and urban history of cities.” Using Google Maps and Google Earth, users can go back in time to explore cities of centuries past, analyze how cities change over time, and interact with the maps through social media. The fundamental idea behind HyperCities is that all stories take place somewhere and sometime; they become meaningful when they interact and intersect with other stories.

More information, as well as some “how-to”s can be found at the Hypercities website. To start using this tool, click on “launch Hypercities” at the top. From there, select a city that  you would like to explore, and then choose a map from the menu bar at the right. Users can add as many layers of maps as they want, select the opacity for each map, export metadata, and view ‘collections,’ which are projects that other people are working on with those same maps.

It can be a bit clunky at first, but once you get the hang of it it’s a lot of fun to play around with.

Archivision now available campus-wide through ARTstor

Notre-Dame-du-Haut, Chapelle Notre-Dame-du-Haut de Ronchamp

Formerly available only to the faculty and students of the UI Architecture Department, the University Library has purchased a campus wide subscription for Archivision.  The Archivision Digital Research Library is currently comprised of 47,000 images of architecture, archaeological sites, gardens, parks and works of art with broad appeal in humanities teaching. Digital images in Archivision offers a mix of historic and contemporary material.

This great resource is now available to anyone affiliated with the University of Illinois’ Urbana and Chicago campuses.  Go to http://www.artstor.org/index.shtml and click the “Go” button to enter the ARTstor institutional collectionsARTstor Digital Library.  ARTstor will recognize your UI affiliation and you will see a drop down menu in the center column of the page called Institutional Collections.  You can access the base module of Archivision or any of the additional five Archivision modules from this menu.