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.

Wellcome Images Releases Over 100,000 Historical Images Online With CC-BY License

Wellcome Images, developed by the Wellcome Library in London, England, has announced the release of over 100,000 images now freely available under Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license. Users can download high resolution images to be used for personal or commercial purposes, with an acknowledgement to the Wellcome Library.

While Wellcome Images focuses mainly on images related health, medicine, and biomedical science, the content found in its vast collection spills into numerous other disciplines such as the arts and humanities. More information about the collection and Wellcome Library’s open access policy can be found below.

A woman diving off a bathing wagon in to the sea.

Venus getting ready for Summer Olympics 2016

From the Wellcome Library blog:

The images can be downloaded in high-resolution directly from the Wellcome Images website for users to freely copy, distribute, edit, manipulate, and build upon as you wish, for personal or commercial use. The images range from ancient medical manuscripts to etchings by artists such as Vincent Van Gogh andFrancisco Goya.

The earliest item is an Egyptian prescription on papyrus, and treasures include exquisite medieval illuminated manuscripts and anatomical drawings, from delicate 16th century fugitive sheets, whose hinged paper flaps reveal hidden viscera to Paolo Mascagni’s vibrantly coloured etching of an ‘exploded’ torso.

Other treasures include a beautiful Persian horoscope for the 15th-century prince Iskandar, sharply sketched satires by RowlandsonGillray and Cruikshank, as well as photography from  Eadweard Muybridge’s studies of motion. John Thomson’s remarkable nineteenth century portraits from his travels in China can be downloaded, as well a newly added series of photographs of hysteric and epileptic patients at the famous Salpêtrière Hospital

Simon Chaplin, Head of the Wellcome Library, says “Together the collection amounts to a dizzying visual record of centuries of human culture, and our attempts to understand our bodies, minds and health through art and observation. As a strong supporter of open access, we want to make sure these images can be used and enjoyed by anyone without restriction.”

If you are using Internet Explorer, just clear your browser cache to ensure that you’re directed to the updated site with the high resolution content.

Should you need any more information about the launch of these historical images, please don’t hesitate to contact the Wellcome Images team.

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.”

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.

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

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.

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.