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.


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!

Happy International Literacy Day!

September 8th was declared International Literacy Day by UNESCO in 1965, and has since been celebrated worldwide every year. Its aim is to call attention to the importance of literacy to individuals, families, societies, and sustainable development. Today, approximately 775 million adults lack basic literacy skills, and over two thirds of them are women.

Literacy is often defined as the ability to read and write. If you are fortunate enough to have had the opportunities to develop this skill and now find yourself at an academic institution, you also be familiar with other types of literacies. Some examples include digital literacy, financial literacy, computer literacy, media literacy, information literacy, multicultural literacy, and visual literacy.

This being a visual resources blog, I’d like to focus on visual literacy for a moment. The

two kittens sitting side by side wearing top hats

Kittens and Cats: a book of tales (1911

Association of College & Research Libraries defines visual literacy as “a set of abilities that enables an individual to effectively find, interpret, evaluate, use, and create images and visual media.” The authors of ACRL’s Visual Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education go on to say that the pervasiveness of images and visual media in contemporary culture has changed what it means to be literate. Individuals must develop visual literacy skills in order to engage capably in a visually-oriented society. Visual literacy empowers individuals to participate fully in a visual culture.

ACRL has outlined seven visual literacy standards, each including performance indicators and learning outcomes, to help develop a framework in teaching visual literacy skills. These standards include competencies ranging from being able to identify what type of image one needs for his or her research to assessing the ethical and legal issues surrounding use of visual media.

Throughout the fall 2014 semester, the University Library will be conducing a workshop series focusing on visual literacy competencies. These workshops will be available through the Savvy Researcher program, and will start October 10th with “Finding and Selecting Images.”  Following that will be Interpreting Images, Creating and Incorporating Visual Materials into your Research, and Applying Copyright to Visual Material.

Summer Educational Institute for Visual Resources (SEI): June 10-13th at UIUC!


The Summer Educational Institute for Visual Resources and Image Management (SEI) is a joint project of the Art Libraries Society of North America (ARLIS/NA) and the Visual Resources Association Foundation (VRAF). It is an intensive three and a half-day workshop will feature a curriculum that specifically addresses the requirements of today’s visual resources and image management professionals. Expert instructors will cover:

  • Intellectual Property Rights
  • Digital Imaging
  • Digital Preservation
  • Metadata and Cataloging
  • Project Management
  • Professional Growth and Development 

Since 2004, SEI has produced almost 400 alumni, many of whom are working as image professionals. It is open to professionals, para-professionals, and graduate level students in visual resources, library science, the visual arts and related humanities fields, museum studies, and other image information disciplines. Participants may include:

  • Librarians or information professionals responsible for managing image or digital collections
  • Visual resources professionals and art librarians who want to update their knowledge of current practices
  • Individuals currently in the profession who seek focused training
  • Students seeking an important visual resources component to complement their graduate education.
  • Professionals working in cultural heritage fields where digitization and digital collection management is or will be a priority

As SEI continues, its goal remains constant: to provide visual resources professionals with a substantive educational and professional development opportunity focused on digital imaging, the information and experience needed to stay current in a rapidly changing field, and the opportunity to create a network of supportive colleagues.

Past Institutes have been attended by visual resources professionals new to the field, those currently enrolled in library schools who wish to augment their experience with image management training, and more experienced professionals eager to update their skill sets in response to fast-changing technological advancements. Each year’s Institute has been very successful, and we look forward to continuing that tradition each year at SEI.

Fortunately, this year SEI is going to be held on the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus! The institute has been generously sponsored in part by two campus units: the University Library and the Graduate School of Library and Information Science. In addition, participants will benefit from expertise of several local professionals as well as several other instructors well-recognized in their professions.  Faculty, staff, and students at UIUC enjoy a discounted rate (and don’t have to travel!), and there are also several scholarships available. 

Sarah Walkington, copyright guru at the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning, attended last year’s SEI at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, and had this to say about her experience: 

I was excited to discover that the Summer Educational Institute for Visual Resources & Image Management (SEI) would be on my home campus, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, this summer.  But while SEI will be a short commute for me, I encourage anyone from near or far to come to this terrific professional development opportunity.


I attended the 2013 SEI Conference and left knowing that anyone in digital assets management, especially in the uses of images, would benefit from attending in 2014.  The sessions are aimed at a spectrum of experience, from not-quite-beginner to expert.


 While I am in copyright, an extremely wide range of visual resource specialties, from preservation to imaging to cataloging, are included in the workshops.  Often one takes notes at workshops and then the notes sit on a shelf.  I refer constantly to the notes I took at SEI!  I’m still in touch with new friends I made there.  Not only do these long-distance colleagues share up-to-the-minute happenings in our field, they also—I notice on LinkedIn—inspire all of us in how they are progressing in their careers after SEI.


The Institute’s organizers know how to make attendees comfortable—snacks and yoga!—and facilitate that informal networking that makes thoughtful discussion with peers easy.


I know you will love the SEI 2014 Conference and will find Champaign-Urbana fun, too.  It’s nestled in the Illinois cornfields, but you’ll get to enjoy two downtowns for the price of one and find good restaurants, coffee hangouts, and evening entertainment in what we like to call a micro-urban environment.  See you there.


As Sarah mentions, this is a fantastic professional development opportunity in a fun and affordable location. There are a few spots still available, so register soon! 


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.

Works Progress Administration Posters

By the People, For the PeoplePart of the American Memory Project at the Library of Congress, the By the People, For the People: Posters from the WPA, 1936-1943 collection consists of 908 boldly colored and graphically diverse original posters produced from 1936 to 1943 as part of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal. Of the 2,000 WPA posters known to exist, the Library of Congress’s collection of more than 900 is the largest. These striking silkscreen, lithograph, and woodcut posters were designed to publicize health and safety programs; cultural programs including art exhibitions, theatrical, and musical performances; travel and tourism; educational programs; and community activities in seventeen states and the District of Columbia. The posters were made possible by one of the first U.S. Government programs to support the arts and were added to the Library’s holdings in the 1940s. (Text and images from By the People, For the People: Posters from the WPA, 1936-1943)

Tuberculosis PreventionPrints for the People One third of a nation

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.

A Digital Collection Celebrating the Founding of the Historically Black College and University

A Digital Collection Celebrating the Founding of the Historically Black College and University is a collection of primary resources from HBCU libraries and archives. It includes several thousand scanned pages and represents HBCU libraries first collaborative effort to make a historic collection digitally available. Collections are contributed from member libraries of the Historically Black College and University Library Alliance.  The collection includes photographs, university correspondence, manuscripts, images of campus buildings, alumni letters, memorabilia, and programs from campus events.  These images present HBCUs as cultural, social, and political institutions from the early 1800’s until today.  See information on copyright and use.  (Text and image from collection website.)