Getting Lost in Digital Archives: The Glasgow School of Art archives

One of my favorite discoveries during my research is finding new, awesome archives to dig through. Exploring archives can be the beginnings of a new research project, and a fun way to gain new information. Take for example, The Glasgow School of Art’s Archives and Collections. When perusing this website, an hour had passed without my knowing it. And while I got lost in the archive, due to their highly organized methods, I never felt over-whelmed by all the information.

Design for repeat print, Dorothy Smith, 1940-86, Glasgow School of Art Archives

The Glasgow School of Art is one of the oldest design schools in the UK, and their archives are packed with examples of art education pedagogy, records of design styles, trends, and fashions. The GSA was founded in 1845 as a government-sponsored Design school, and has continued on today to be a major player in establishing design trends.

The archives show an excellent variety of images that speak to the school’s innovation. The archive can be explored thematically between art, architecture, design, and photography, or chronologically, with artifacts ranging between before 1889 up through the present day.

Within the archive, you will find a mixture of primary, text-based sources, as well as examples of the type of work produced at the school over the years. This comprehensive record makes prime research material for anyone writing about the Glasgow School of Art as an institution, or about some of the schools most prestigious graduates, including: Martin Boyce, Joan Eardley, and Annie French.

Of special interest is their archive of images of their Mackintosh Furniture gallery, an extensive collection of early twentieth century modern furniture design, created at the Glasgow School of Art.

Barrel chair for Ingram Street Tea Rooms, Mackintosh Style Furniture, 1907, Glasgow School of Art Archives

The GSA archive even runs an excellent up-to-date blog that features in-depth looks at elements of their collection, including the Mackintosh Furniture Gallery, textile collections, and recordings. Their blog also features someexcellent posts on using archives to re-create unrealized projects, using archives as teaching aids, and other useful information.

When navigating the archive, there are a number of useful resource guides that can help you navigate their extensive archive more thoroughly. Of these guides, my favorite is the Introduction to Using Archives, which is full of valuable information that extends beyond the scope of the Glasgow School of Art archives, including a great list of other amazing UK-based digital collections to keep you happily lost in the archives!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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).

Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 5.02.49 PM

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.

 

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

the Memory of the Netherlands

Welcome back, students, faculty, and staff! We hope your fall semester is off to a delightful start.

For those of you with an interest in Netherlandish history, I’m about to make your week even more delightful. The Memory of the Netherlands is a self-described “gigantic digital treasury,” full of information about the Dutch past. Offering hundreds of thousands of digital images, recordings, film footage, and texts, the Memory site organizes this wealth of information into several exhibitions, collections, and themes.

While you’ll still find images of windmills, wooden shoes and tulips are few and far between. Rather, the Memory site provides well thought out exhibitions that explore life in Holland today and themes that range from religion to cartoons.

While the Memory site is largely in English and searchable using English keywords, information about the images and other objects are in Dutch.

Yale’s museums, archives, and libraries announce open access policy

Just as the semester draws to a close and summer is on the horizon, scholars and art

Roomy by the Sea, by Edward Hopper

Edward Hopper, "Rooms by the Sea," 1851. Yale University Art Gallery

aficionados have another reason to celebrate: Yale University has announced an open access policy for its collections. Gone are the days of licensing images from Yale or having restrictions put on their use; interested parties can now use these collections at will. Yale is the first ivy league university to make its collections openly accessible, and already has over 250,000 images available from its museums and galleries. For more information and some great quotes from Yale staff regarding this decision, please read the artdaily article.

Vintage Fashion Online

Move over ModCloth, for those interested in vintage fashion, the London College of Fashion’s Woolmark Company Collection has added over 2,000 newly digitized images of vintage fashion to its existing 2,500. These images can be seen via VADS. The description below is from Amy Robinson of VADS:

From catwalk to high street: vintage fashions go online

Nina Ricci, Guy Laroche, and Yves St. Laurent are just some of the top designers making up a veritable who’s who of fashion at the London College of Fashion’s Woolmark Company Collection. These ‘cool’ wool fashions may no longer be on the catwalk but they can be seen online via VADS

This week over 2000 newly digitised images have been launched online which complement these vintage fashions by key couturiers. These newly digitised images include examples from the ready-to-wear market by manufacturers such as British Home Stores, Berkertex, Windsmoor, Susan Small, and Marks & Spencer, as well as including more examples by top designers such as Mary Quant and Christian Dior.

The black and white photographs date from the 1940’s through to the early 1980’s and capture both the fashion of the time and the style of photography.  The press releases, which in some cases are still attached to the photographs, give additional information about the garments, designers, manufacturers, photographers and any points of interest reflecting the promotional style and language of the time.  All of the images were generously donated to the London College of Fashion from The International Wool Secretariat, now The Woolmark Company.

VADS now provides access to over 4,800 images from the Woolmark Company collection, which complements a number of other London College of Fashion collections already available online including its College Archive, Paper Patterns Collection, Cordwainer’s Shoe Collection, and Gala Cosmetics Archive.

For more information about the London College of Fashion’s Woolmark Company collection see http://www.vads.ac.uk/collections/LCFWOOL.html

VADS offers over 120,000 fully cross-searchable images which are free to use and copyright cleared for learning, teaching, and research.

For more information about VADS collections, see http://www.vads.ac.uk/collections or contact VADS at info@vads.ac.uk / 01252 892723

To keep up to date with VADS news, follow their blog.

Ad*Access Project

Elizabeth Arden advertisementThe Ad*Access Project, funded by the Duke Endowment “Library 2000” Fund, presents images and database information for over 7,000 advertisements printed in U.S. and Canadian newspapers and magazines between 1911 and 1955. Ad*Access concentrates on five main subject areas: Radio, Television, Transportation, Beauty and Hygiene, and World War II, providing a coherent view of a number of major campaigns and companies through images preserved in one particular advertising collection available at Duke University. The advertisements are from the J. Walter Thompson Company Competitive Advertisements Collection of the John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History in Duke University’s Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library.  The advertisements on this web site have been made available for use in research, teaching, and private study.

Burma-Shave advertisement