Search by Color: Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

I have to say that I’m a big fan of alternative search options when it comes to internet searching. Of course, there is simply no debating the usefulness of keywords and Boolean operators when searching the internet, but not every query is easily expressed in words. This is especially true of image searches. You might not have the foggiest idea which word or words will provide the results you’re looking for. You might have tried all the words you can think of and found no useful results. Sometimes what your looking for simply can’t be put into words.

But what about color?

Cooper Hewitt, the Smithsonian Design Museum is notable for several reasons. One: it is the only museum in America exclusively dedicated to historic and contemporary design.

Two: It’s located in the sprawling 64-room mansion built by industrial magnate Andrew Carnegie on Fifth Avenue in New York City.



…and Three: While perhaps not as impressive as the last two facts, its website is also home to a very cool feature: browse by color. While you can search by color in an advanced Google image search, Google’s color search is a secondary search parameter, one that can be applied after you’ve entered a search keyword.

By comparison, the Cooper Hewitt color search, Colors!, is a very slick tool that emphasizes browsing rather than search, making it better suited to more nebulous queries. Plus, while Google’s color search is limited to 15 color options, visitors to Cooper Hewitt’s site can search the collection by 118 different colors. You read that right: 118! So, how do they do it?

Objects with images now have up to five representative colors attached to them. The colors have been selected by our robotic eye machines who scour each image in small chunks to create color averages. These have then been harvested and “snapped” to the grid of 118 (of a possible 139) different colors—derived from the CSS4 palette and naming conventions—below to make navigation a little easier.

If you think it sounds interesting, definitely give it a try. For example, here is a selection of some of the things that come up under mediumvioletred and the hex value #c71585

There are, of course, some limitations to the function. First of all, only a small fraction of the collection has been digitized, so some colors have very limited results. Also, as noted in the quote above, images are sorted into five color categories, so works with numerous, varied colors will only appear in a maximum of five color headings.

Still, while it may appear to be more novelty than necessity, Colors! is a potentially very useful tool for the kind of image search that would normally take one to Tumblr, Pinterest, or similar. It’s a visual playground for anyone seeking examples of graphic design, pattern, textiles, posters, prints, etc. from around the world and across time.

Of course, this isn’t the only way to explore the collection. You can search by time period, country, location in the mansion, people, tags, and types.

Oh, and you can search by keyword, too.

UIUC Library Gains Temporary Access to new ProQuest Databases (thru May 31)

Through May 31st, UIUC has access to three new ProQuest Databases: Queen Victoria’s Journals, The Women’s Wear Daily Archive, and Trench Journals and Unit Magazines of the First World War. These three databases are only available for a limited time, so take some time to explore each one!

Below is a brief overview of each database.

Queen Victoria’s Journals

The online database of Queen Victoria’s Journals (digitized from the Royal Archives) span a long range of her life: beginning during her time as a child, through her Accession to the Throne, her marriage to Prince Albert, and her Golden and Diamond Jubilees. Thirteen of the volumes preserved are written in Queen Victoria’s own hand, with the remaining having been transcribed by her daughter, Princess Beatrice.

Queen Victoria's Journal entry: Friday, March 17 1882 Partial transcription:

Queen Victoria’s Journal entry: Friday, March 17 1882 Partial transcription: “We breakfasted in my little sitting room, which is smaller than the one I have at the Villa Hohenlohe. The rooms are nicely, but simply…”

Queen Victoria reigned as Queen from 1837 to 1901, making her the longest serving British monarch.

This online database is remarkable, as previously Queen Victoria’s journals have never been published in their entirety. Rather, only scholars working at the Royal Archives could use these materials, and so only a small amount of this material has ever been made available to the public. The scans provided are high-resolution, allowing users to zoom-in, making reading her cursive handwriting a much easier task. All journal entries are also available as downloadable PDFs.

Queen Victoria in Bal Costumé outfit as Queen Philippa: pen and ink sketch with watercolour, by Queen Victoria (15.6 x 11.4 cm (sheet))

Queen Victoria in Bal Costumé outfit as Queen Philippa: pen and ink sketch with watercolour, by Queen Victoria (15.6 x 11.4 cm (sheet))

Events of interest include her Coronation, Marriage, and Diamond Jubillee. The archive features not only this plethora of primary source material, but also features essays by scholars and curators from varying disciplines including Art History, English, and History. Topics range from Queen Victoria’s Coronation to her connection with Scotland. Her materials overall may be valuable to those working in many disciplines including gender studies, autobiographical writing, and 19th century British scholars, and of course anyone working at the intersections of these studies.

The database features an interactive, graphic-based timeline that covers not only her personal life, but looks at developments in sports, science, military history, and culture of the time. This is probably one of my favorite features, as it allows users to easily contextualize the journal entries they are working with. It is also an excellent teaching tool.

In addition to copies of written text, the database also features Illustrations and sketches by Queen Victoria.

This project is the outcome of a partnership between the Bodleian Libraries and the Royal Archives, who have even taken the effort to re-key each journal entry, allowing for Queen Victoria’s journals to be fully searchable!

If you’ve ever wanted the inside details of what it’s like to be royalty, this database will bring you closer than any contemporary footage of the Royal Family!

The Women’s Wear Daily Archive

The Women’s Wear Daily Archive gives users access to a comprehensive list of Women’s Wear Daily magazine, from 1910 up into the past twelve months. Keep in mind, this is a weekly publication, so there is a lot of fashion history to sift through! This archive is excellent for anyone interested in print media, women’s fashion, mainstream culture, fashion history, and marketing and advertising.

The Sportswear and Leisure Living: Midi Moods, report on midi-skirts, Feb 14, 1968. Women's Wear Daily.

The Sportswear and Leisure Living: Midi Moods, report on midi-skirts, Feb 14, 1968. Women’s Wear Daily.

For those of you not familiar with Women’s Wear Daily (WWD), it is a trade publication for the fashion industry, and is referred to often as “the bible of fashion.” The publication focuses on changing trends in fashion, as well as contemporary industry news. The publication is also famous for sparring with big names in fashion, including Perry Ellis, Oscar de la Renta, and Balegencia.

Bottoms Up: Paris Fashion Verite. March 7, 1994, Women's Wear Daily

Bottoms Up: Paris Fashion Verite. March 7, 1994, Women’s Wear Daily

Admittedly, the database is pretty stripped down. There is a basic search feature, but it doesn’t appear that the archive has really been curated in anyway. It is definitely worthwhile to browse old issues, but it seems like this database might be of best use when keeping a specific designer, collection, or year in mind. Each article is scanned as a different pdf, and provides easy access citation resources, as well as a large quantity of metadata for easy organization.

This archive is excellent for the next time you’re looking for some vintage fashion inspiration. From Cher to Bjork, every major fashion icon in the past century has made an appearance in these pages.

Trench Journals and Unit Magazines of the First World War

The archive of Trench Journals and Unit Magazines of the First World War is another database of trade publications, specifically targeted to servicemen and women of all nations during the World War I. The database is comprised of over 1,500 periodicals, written and illustrated by members of the armed forces between 1914-1919. This database provides full scans of the magazines in their entirety.

More Navy Officers Needed. Army and Navy Journal: Gazette of the Regular. March 30, 1918. Trench Journals and Unit Magazines of the First World War.

More Navy Officers Needed. Army and Navy Journal: Gazette of the Regular. March 30, 1918. Trench Journals and Unit Magazines of the First World War.

Scholars working in English, French, and German literature and print media will find these resources beneficial, as these publications provide a perspective not typically seen by the general public: that of military workers communicating directly to other military workers during WWI.

The database is searchable by language of publication, location, year, and field, including: Infantry, Medical, Prisoners of War, Navy, and Training.

The texts are available to download as PDFs, and the document viewer is equipped with a great zoom-feature that allows researchers to read more easily the small text.

These are incredibly fascinating documents, and for me, they pose a lot of questions. For example, who was producing them? How widely distributed were they? and How did this practice contribute to the events that took place during WWI? A search through this archive will surely provide some answers!

MetPublications: Metropolitan Museum of Art Adds 600+ Titles to Digital Archive

Recently, The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has released 643 art and art history books online, in full color, available for free. Highlights of this release include the fact that over 300 of the titles are out-of-print, (and therefore hard-to-find) originally published between 1968 and the present.

The database, called MetPublications, allows users to search and read publications online, but can also be downloaded as a PDF for no extra cost. For out-of-print titles, MetPublications also offers a print-on-demand feature for 140 different titles. Newer titles that are currently in print can be previewed online, but are not yet fully available for free online.

French Dress (Right, ca. 1864) and American Dress (Left, ca. 1856) from the Met's publication, "Bloom" (out-of-print).

French Dress (Right, ca. 1864) and American Dress (Left, ca. 1856) from the Met’s publication, “Bloom” (out-of-print).

Titles that are free to read online are available through Google books, for example, this digitized version of Portraits by Ingres: Image of an Epoch (published 2000). I personally prefer to download the full PDF, as I find the Google book viewer to be somewhat distracting–especially considering that a main feature of these books is their stunning, full color reproductions.

On the site, a toolbar helps sort the vast quantity of titles available, allowing you to access for example, only the titles with the full text available online, notable publications, or popular Met titles. The user-friendly website is perfect for scholars looking for research material and art enthusiasts alike.

This move to open access also speaks volumes in regards to the popularization of digital publishing "Goya: 67 drawings" in Google Bookswithin the field of art, as the Met is following the trend of other museums. For example, The J. Paul Getty Museum, who in 2014 released over 250+ art and history titles online for free the to the public, available on their virtual library.


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!







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?):


GIFs expressing your successes (and your childhood):

giphy (1)

and of course, your frustration:

giphy (3)

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.

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.”


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.

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


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.”


Meier, Allison. (2014). Getty adds thousands of art historical images to growing digital library. Retrieved from

Salomon, Kathleen. (2014). 10,000 digitized art history materials from The Getty Research Institute available in DPLA.

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.”

“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.”


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

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.

New Year, New Site!

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


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.

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.

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.

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!

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


Your Paintings

Landscape with a Cottage and Stream - unknown

Your Paintings (or rather, ‘their paintings’) is a collaborative project between the BBC and the Public Catalogue Foundation that aspires to digitize and tag every oil painting in the UK National Collections. Currently still in a beta stage, the project anticipates digitizing a total of 200,000 paintings of which it has completed 77,000.

Your Paintings seeks out only those paintings which belong to the National Collection and, for the most part, the site features pieces owned by state and local authorities, Bishop’s palaces, and Oxford and Cambridge colleges. The project has also chosen to restrict its initial digitization efforts to oil, tempera, and acrylic and excludes other paint media like watercolors in order to keep the project at a manageable scale.

In addition to the digitization initiative, Your Paintings also has a crowd-sourced tagging project to increase the ‘findability’ of each image within the site. Users are invited to participate by tagging randomly selected images using four different controlled vocabularies (things, people, places and events). The biographical and historical information included in each record comes from the participating and owning institutions.

The site makes smart use of slideshows, thumbnails, transitions, drop-down text and multi-media features like hyperlinks, social-media, videos and maps in order to create a site that looks elegant and communicates a great deal of information without being busy or text-heavy. The images are high quality and can be viewed in a pop-out larger format view.

The Lyonel Feininger Archive

Lyonel Feininger : Photographs, 1928-1939

Harvard’s Houghton Library and the Harvard Art Museum’s Lyonel Feininger Archive have collaborated to create an online research microsite presenting a comprehensive collection of Feininger’s largely un-seen photographic works. Harvard holds the majority of Feininger’s photographs, with some 500 photographic prints at the Houghton Library and approximately 18,000 negatives and slides in the Feininger Archive. All of this material has now been digitized and made available through a searchable database, located at the Lyonel Feininger Research Microsite – one of four such microsites created and maintained by Harvard.
The Busch Reisinger Museum at Harvard recently held two exhibitions featuring the work of Lyonel Feininger. The catalog for the photographic exhibition, Lyonel Feininger : photographs, 1928-1939 (Harvard Art Museums, 2011) is now available at the Ricker Library of Architecture and Art. The exhibitions, “Lyonel Feininger: Drawings and Watercolors from the William S. Lieberman Bequest to the Busch-Reisinger Museum” and “Lyonel Feininger: Photographs, 1928–1939” ran from February 26 to July 17 before traveling abroad. They represented Harvard’s extensive holdings of Feininger’s work, in particular his photographs – which had never before been exhibited.

Lyonel Feininger (1871-1956) is well-known as a painter and an important contributor to the Bauhaus and German modern art. His long-term engagement with photography has never previously been explored. In the exhibition catalog for his photographic work, it is speculated that Feininger did not pursue photography more publicly because of his sons’ enthusiasm for the medium. Both of Feininger’s sons, Andreas and T. Lux made careers as photographers and writers on photography.

Harvard’s Feininger Microsite is the first widely accessible presentation of Feininger’s photography and it represents an enormous asset to Feininger researchers and enthusiasts. The content of the site was compiled and by Nathan J. Timpano (2009–2010 Stefan Engelhorn Curatorial Fellow, Busch-Reisinger Museum) and the commentary and biographical information is drawn from the exhibition catalog organized byLaura Muir (assistant curator, Busch-Reisinger Museum). The site allows users to search the collection by text, title, object number, date range, medium, subject and/or creation place. Additionally, given the low-profile nature of this collection and the presumed unfamiliarity of the user, the site offers an extremely useful feature wherein they can browse characteristic slideshows of prominent subjects within the collection. These include, ‘art documentation’, ‘Bauhaus’, ‘Trips to California’, ‘New England’ and ‘shop windows’ among others. Each of these subject slide shows bears an informational excerpt about the work presented. The site is smartly designed, easy to use, and the photographs are breathtaking.

With the Feininger exhibitions, catalog, and research microsite, Harvard has presented an interesting model where artistic collections, archival resources, and resident experts have been brought together to steward, curate, publish and develop new tools that act as both promotional tools for the museum and research tools for the University.

Ara Pacis Augustae collection

Developed by Charles S. Rhyne at Reed College in conjunction with Reed’s Visual Resources Center and Web Support Services, the Ara Pacis Augustae collection seeks to “to make available a more comprehensive body of images of the Ara Pacis than previously available in any print or web publication.” According to Professor Rhyne, “the Ara Pacis Augustae is a complex masterpiece, with elaborate reliefs including more than a hundred figures and voluminous vegetation filled with the details of nature. It is also a much damaged and reconstructed monument, making it important to distinguish original from later portions and more recent changes. This web site attempts to provide in-depth visual documentation in support of the in-depth scholarly publications that have so enriched our understanding of Augustan art and society.’

The site is neatly organized into different views of the altar, such as aerial views, interior walls, and public approach. Also included are several different publications detailing the Ara Pacis. The site is copyrighted by Reed College and Charles Rhyne, but indicates that images images and text are available under fair use guidelines.

Overall, this is a well organized and thorough exploration of one of the most iconic architectural monuments in Western history. However, users must use the images within the site, as they cannot be downloaded.

Tourist photos from pre-Revolutionary Moscow

For all you Russian history aficionados out there, this collection is a fascinating look at Moscow in 1909. Taken by journalist Murray Howe on an exhibition tour of American champion trotting horses, 77 of the 400 photos taken were digitized and made available via Flickr by Howe’s great-grandson, Andrew Howe V.

The Moscow Times writes of the photographs, “His photographs of pedestrians, street venders and aristocrats are rare glimpses of everyday life before the upheavals of World War I and the Bolshevik Revolution — and sparked huge interest in Russia among history buffs and local museums.”

While downloading images from the Flickr site is currently disabled, those interested in using the images can contact Andrew Howe at

Ando Hiroshige Prints


Odawara - the tenth station in "The Fifty-Three Stations of the Tokaido"( Hoeido edition 1831 - 1834)

The Woodblock Prints of Ando Hiroshige is an enthusiast-maintained site that reproduces the woodblock prints of Ando Hiroshige (1797 – 1858).

The site combines digital images of Hiroshige’s prints with descriptions, dates, and abundant contextual material including primary source excerpts, maps, encyclopedic entries, book passages, and comparable works by other artists. The site presents a rich resource on the life and work of Ando Hiroshige and can be accessed freely online by anyone.

A timeline of updates made to the site creates a timeline of the site’s development, while the main page of the site presents directories of Hiroshige’s prints and the reference material used in constructing the site. The reference section includes a bibliography, a guide to searching for Japanese prints online, a digest of links that are related or useful to Hiroshige, a breakdown of the dimensions of different prints, essays, biographies, and more. The prints are organized by series (which usually explore a single subject) as well as format and theme.

The site design is simple and straight forward, if text-heavy at times, but it manages to present an enormous amount of material and a wealth of resources related to Hiroshige’s prints. The site is a valuable resource for Hiroshige enthusiasts and scholars alike and sets a fantastic example for similar projects.

‘Friends of art’ seeks to crowdsource the history of art

Gustav Klimt's "Farmhouse with Birch Trees"
“Farmhouse with Birch Trees” by Gustav Klimt (1903)

‘Friends of art’ (FOA) self identifies as, “a young community of art enthusiasts who are re-writing art history”. Currently in the beta stage, FOA invites users to contribute and curate content about artists, movements, and individual pieces. Users can register with the site to create a profile, build personal collections, and designate favorite artists, pieces, and movements.

In addition to using the site to develop and expand your own knowledge, as a FOA user, your activity is reflected in the records. When a piece has been added to a user’s collection, that collection is cited in the record as a way of capturing and communicating to other users the way someone else responded to or learned from the work. In this way, FOA creates a kind of social network that revolves around the art presented and discussed on the site.

Each record invites comments, revisions, tagging, and sharing as means of involving the user, but they also include images of the piece and the artist as well as basic information about the piece. The site pairs a spare aesthetic with a proliferation of images in order to create a highly browsable environment. The records also offer a ‘palette’ for each work, where the piece’s color palette is characterized, distilled and presented as a collection of 10 different shades. The site also includes search functions and a timeline of artistic movements. The breadth, depth, and variety of the resources and functionality of FOA strike a balance that makes it easy for users to search, browse, and interact with art history in a new way.

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

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 or contact VADS at / 01252 892723

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

Google Art Project

Google’s new product, Google Art Project, uses it street view technology to allow users to “walk” around museums across the world. 

Museum included in the project are:

  • Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlin – Germany
  • Freer Gallery of Art, Smithsonian, Washington DC – USA
  • The Frick Collection, NYC – USA
  • Gemäldegalerie, Berlin – Germany
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC – USA
  • MoMA, The Museum of Modern Art, NYC – USA
  • Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid – Spain
  • Museo Thyssen – Bornemisza, Madrid – Spain
  • Museum Kampa, Prague – Czech Republic
  • National Gallery, London – UK
  • Palace of Versailles – France
  • Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam – The Netherlands
  • The State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg – Russia
  • State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow – Russia
  • Tate Britain, London – UK
  • Uffizi Gallery, Florence – Italy
  • Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam – The Netherlands

In addition to navigating the museums, users have access to high resolution images of over 1,000 selected paintings from these museums. With the ability to zoom to such an incredible degree, art lovers are able to examine the brushstrokes of each of the 486 artists represented. Below is an example of the detail one can achieve through the Google Art Project (can you guess the painting?):

Starry Night, Van Gogh

The images can’t be downloaded, but if you have a Google account you can “create an artwork collection.” With the collections, users can save and collect views of your favorite artworks, add comments at different zoom levels, and share with other Google users.

For more information on this project, follow the links below:

ABC News

Wall Street Journal


According to an article from Techradar, Google plans on expanding the project, but the timeline is uncertain.

Images from Gallica Bibliotheque Numerique, Bibliothèque Nationale de France

Gallica Bibliothèque Numerique is the digital initiative of La Bibliothèque nationale de France and contains over 1,00,000 digital objects including books, periodicals, maps, manuscripts, images, sound recordings, and scores. Several search options are available as well as themed exhibitions of digital collections, e.g., Voyages en Italie and Voyages en Afrique. Gallica currently contains over 225,000 images.

Rome in a day

The Architecture department at the University of Oregon has developed two useful interactive mapping tools of Rome. The first, the interactive Nolli map of Rome, is a digitization of the 1748 map of Rome by Giambattista Nolli. This map is regarded by scholars as one of the most important historical documents of the city, and through the work of the University of Oregon the public now has access to this work. Users can zoom in and out, as well as add layers such as gardens, pathways, and fountains.

The second project is Imago Urbis: Giuseppe Vasi’s Grand Tour of Rome, which integrates the Nolli map with the work of Nolli’s contemporary, Giuseppe Vasi (1710-1782). Vasi’s detailed documentation of Rome’s buildings and monuments established him as one of the city’s greatest topographers. With this tool users can view Nolli’s map and Vasi’s plates simultaneously, making it easier to imagine Rome in the 18th century. Plates are grouped into 8 days of an itinerary, making the grand tour of Rome accessible from your couch.

ARTstor’s Images for Academic Publishing (IAP)

Ever notice the little icons below the image thumbnails while you’re browsing ARTstor? One of the icons simply says “IAP,” which means images for academic publishing. This ARTstor program “seeks to facilitate scholarship in the arts by reducing the costs associated with publishing images in academic journals and similar publications.” Images with an IAP icon associated with them are available to use free of charge in scholarly publications. There are currently 6,700 images provided by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and 3,900 images from the Mellink Archive at Bryn Mawr College. For more information regarding this program, click here or contact ARTstor.

“The Commons” on Flickr

Flickr is home to “The Commons,” a public photo collection that began in 2008 as a collaboration between Flickr and the Library of Congress. It has since expanded to include over 45 institutions, including NASA, the Imperial War Museum, and the New York Public Librar. The Commons is host to thousands of images covering a breadth of subjects, all copyright free.

Users are invited to add tags and descriptions to the photos, making the collection richer and more accessible.


Europeana provides access to over six million digital items, including images, texts, sounds, and videos. It is funded by the European Commission and its member states, and includes content from museum, galleries, libraries, archives, and audio-visual collections.

The extensive list of organizations that Europeana pulls its content from includes notable institutions such as the Rijksmuseum, the British Library, and the Louvre.

Currently the online collection is in its beta version, but version 1.0 will be launch later in 2010 and will include links to over ten million digital items.

Honoré Daumier Lithographs

The Benjamin A. and Julia M. Trustman Collection of Honoré Daumier Lithographs at Brandeis University has made available nearly the entire oeuvre of Daumier in the lithographic medium, making the Trustman Collection a unique resource for the study of DaumierDaumier’s art and nineteenth-century French history. There are approximately four thousand original lithographs, some proofs, and several illustrated books and woodcuts. While the vast majority of these prints are from the large editions done on newsprint, there are also many fine examples printed on wove white paper (sur blanc). These materials are made available under the fair use clause of the 1976 copyright act, and so may be downloaded for personal use, research, or teaching.

Wellcome Images: 2000 Years of Human Culture

Wellcome ImagesWellcome Images is a rich and unique collection of digital images drawn from the biomedial and social history collections of the Library of the Wellcome Trust in London, England.  In addition to over 40,000 images from clinical and biomedical sciences, the collection also contains historical images, Tibetan Buddhist paintings, Ancient Sanskrit manuscripts, and illustrated Persian books. Images on this site are freely available for download for personal, academic teaching or study use, under one of two Creative Commons licenses.

A fly on sugar crystals

Colon cancer cells

British Printed Images to 1700

British Printed Images to 1700 logoBritish Printed Images to 1700 is a fully searchable library of several thousand printed images. Copies and variations of the same print are brought together within a single record. You can search prints by creator, by name of person depicted, and by subject. The collection offers a wide range of print genres–satires, portraits, prints issued as parts of sets and series, playing cards, title-pages from books, prints on historical and political subject matter, natural historical prints, landscapes, and religious prints. The majority of images come from the Department of Prints and Drawings at the British Museum.

(Text and images from British Printed Images to 1700)

Saskia Art Images from the Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois (CARLI) now in University of Illinois institutional collections in ARTstor

Saskia Art Images CollectionRecently 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.

(Images from ARTstor and CARLI)