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!

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.

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.”

Codex2

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)

gri_97_r_48_000a

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.”

Sources:

Meier, Allison. (2014). Getty adds thousands of art historical images to growing digital library. Retrieved from http://hyperallergic.com/150092/getty-adds-thousands-of-art-historical-images-to-growing-digital-library/

Salomon, Kathleen. (2014). 10,000 digitized art history materials from The Getty Research Institute available in DPLA. http://blogs.getty.edu/iris/100000-digitized-art-history-materials-from-the-getty-research-institute-availble-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.”

Images from the History of Medicine

Images from the History of Medicine (IHM) provides access to nearly 70,000 images in the collections of the History of Medicine Division (HMD) of the U.S National Library of Medicine (NLM).

The collection includes portraits, photographs, caricatures, genre scenes, posters, and graphic art illustrating the social and historical aspects of medicine dated from the 15th to 21st century.

Vein man

Anatomy of a SkeletonStop Aids

Several subgroups within the database are interesting as separate entities. A collection of 6,000 wood engravings of prominent European physicians, purchased in Amsterdam in 1879, was the Library’s first graphic arts acquisition. There are illustrations from landmark medical treatises, such as Vesalius’ De humani corporis fabrica and William Harvey’s De motu cordis. Among the fine prints are several hundred caricatures on medical subjects by Daumier, Cruikshank, Rowlandson, and Boilly. There are patent medicine advertisements from the late 19th century and posters on contemporary issues, such as AIDS, smoking, and illicit drugs.

(Text and images from Images from the History of Medicine at the National Library of Medicine’s website.)

Ringling Collection: Portraits of Actors 1720-1920

Ringling Collection

Portraits of ActorsThe Ringling Collection is comprised of cabinet cards, postcards and photographs of American and British actors and actresses.  The Collection is one of several housed in the Belknap Collection for the Performing Arts in the Smathers LibrariesDepartment of Special Collections on the campus to the University of Florida (Gainesville, FL). This glorious assemblage of images traces the history of stagecraft through Shakespearean prints, 18th, 19th and 20th century European and American handbills, posters and heralds, souvenir photographs and prints of the legendary performers of the past three centuries, numerous production and publicity stills of 20th century plays and films, and hundreds of individual photographs of the legendary and the now forgotten stars of minstrel, vaudeville and burlesque.

The Ringling Collection is important not simply for its images of the idols of a bye-gone era but for its depictions of period clothing and hair styles.  Aside from clothing and hair styles, something of the period’s social mores and attitudes can be seen among the poses taken; those taken by men can be distinguished from those taken by women and, alternately, by children.

a Thanksgiving special: images from the Farm Security Administration

While The Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information photograph collection

Detroit (vicinity), Michigan. Girls harvesting medicinal(?) plants

has been part of the Library of Congress’s collection since the 1940’s, only recently the black and white negatives were digitized and made available online.

The Farm Security Administration began as a result of the New Deal as part of the Department of Agriculture. In an effort to document the work of the Department’s programs, photographers traveled throughout the United States and Puerto Rico to observe and capture a changing America. The project initially documented cash loans made to individual farmers by the Resettlement Administration and the construction of planned suburban communities. The second stage focused on the lives of sharecroppers in the South and migratory agricultural workers in the midwestern and western states. As the scope of the project expanded, the photographers turned to recording both rural and urban conditions throughout the United States as well as mobilization efforts for World War II.

Well-researched and trained in documentarian techniques, they were encouraged to photograph everything and anything relevant to their assignment. The byproduct of this effort included jobs for artists and a rich archival record. The photos document everything from farm communities to the development of early suburbs. The collection includes images from photographers such as Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, and Russell Lee, among others.

This collection consists of a bounty of over 100,000 images. Feast your eyes on this slice of American heritage!

Family harvesting milo maize

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.

Back from the Dead: The NYT’s Photo Archive Tumblr

Here at the Visual Resource Center we find ourselves up to our necks in close-to-forgotten images everyday. We are in good company. The Lively Morgue, the New York Times photo archive tumblr, is giving new life to images taken for the paper since 1896. They have over one hundred years of archives to work from, documenting New York City and the world throughout the twentieth century and beyond.

The Lively Morgue

A glimpse into the NYT’s photo editing process

The best part is one click on a photo flips the photo over. You get to see the back of each physical image. Giving you a glimpse into the NYT’s photo selection process and insight into how these images were created and used (or almost used). Each time a photo was considered for publication it was stamped with the date it was pulled from the archive. The photographer’s name and a description of the image are inscribed on the back. Any caption that was published alongside it is pasted on the back as well.  It is fascinating look into the process of photo editing.

They just started posting this February, so we are eager to continue watching yesterday’s news unfold with the Lively Morgue.

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.

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 ahowe@cranewoods.com.

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.

Historian’s Eye

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

Hypercities

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

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

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

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

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.


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

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.)

“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

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.


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)

Opening History Portal

Opening HistoryThe Internet can be a Wild West environment, and it can be frustrating to locate related visual resources on a given topic when those resources reside on hundreds of different websites.  The Opening History web portal seeks to make this task less onerous by providing organized access to digital resources pertaining to United States history and culture.  Within this aggregation of resources is a growing body of visual images from a wide range of libraries, museums, and archives. Currently, images are being aggregated from over 600 digital collections on the Internet.  Through a single subject search, you can locate related images from dispersed collections.  Opening History is an extension of the IMLS Digital Collections and Content (IMLS DCC) project, a collaboration among the University of Illinois Library, the Graduate School of Library and Information Science (Center for Informatics Research in Science and Scholarship), and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, a Federal agency that fosters innovation, leadership, and a lifetime of learning.

UIUC Library Digital Collections: Maps of Africa to 1900

The Maps of Africa to 1900 digital collection contains images of maps listed in the bibliography Maps of Africa to 1900: A Checklist of Maps in Atlases and Geographical Journals in the Collections of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (Bassett & Scheven, Urbana: Graduate School of Library and Information Science, 2000). As such, this collection mines not only the University of Illinois Library’s map collections, but also its extensive collection of 19th century atlases and geographical journals, including the JournalGéographie de Paris (France), and Petermanns Geographische Mittheilungen (Germany).

Arrowsmith, Aaron. Africa, 1817.

Bassett’s and Scheven’s original bibliography lists 2,416 maps of which nearly 78 percent date from the 19th century. Africanists and historians of cartography are drawn to this century because the map of the continent changed so rapidly in the wake of European explorations, conquests, and colonization (Bassett & Scheven, p. iii). About a quarter of the collection dates from the sixteenth century, 9 percent from the seventeenth, and 13 percent from the eighteenth century.

The Library is digitizing as many of the maps as possible, condition permitting. Maps are added to the collection as they are completed.