What is Sexy Codicology? An independent project that aims to expand interest and awareness of medieval illuminated manuscripts to the widest audience possible through social media. They discover and explore digitized special collections around the world, hunting for beautiful illuminated manuscripts which they share on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Tumblr and Pinterest as well as their blog Sexy Codicology. They have also developed Maps of Digitized Medieval Manuscripts Available Online and Codicology where they explain the basics of the various types of manuscripts. And they have developed a manuscript app — the DMMapp — that links to more than 500 libraries in the world from which users can browse digitized manuscripts. DMMapp is open source and always looking for contributions in its development as well as additional library collections for new content.
Archive for the ‘Databases’ Category
Handscrolls, often fragile and difficult to handle and display because of their large format, are rarely shown in public and in their entirety. These same qualities also makes them impossible to reproduce faithfully for teaching purposes. The Center for the Art of East Asia is hoping to change that by making a few valuable handscrolls more accessible and visible through its Digital Scrolling Paintings Project.
Designed to support the teaching of classes on East Asian painting, the Digital Scrolling Painting Project developed digital scrolling technology to simulate the viewing experience lacking in classes that rely on reproductions which distort the sequential and participatory nature of the handscroll viewing process. In collaboration with the Humanities Computing, the Center for the Art of East Asia developed its digital scrolling technology to simulate the viewing experience and to improve understanding of handscroll paintings. The scrolling paintings website has been designed with interactive elements to allow unprecedented accessibility to the complete works of art for educators, students and researchers.
Viewers can search and browse a selection of scrolls from the Art Institute of Chicago, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Nelson-Atkins Museum. the St. Louis Art Museum, the Smart Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the Palace Museum of Beijing.
Newsreel archive British Pathé, one of the oldest media companies in the world, has released its entire collection of films — 85,000 films — on YouTube. The release of vintage news reports and cinemagazines in high resolution will make this historic collection accessible to viewers all over the world. “Our hope is that everyone, everywhere who has a computer will see these films and enjoy them,” says Alastair White, General Manager of British Pathé. “This archive is a treasure trove unrivalled in historical and cultural significance that should never be forgotten. Uploading the films to YouTube seemed like the best way to make sure of that.” The collection documents major events, figures, trends, sports and culture worldwide from 1896 to 1976.
Read the British Pathé press release on their blog here.
In late Spring 2013, Stanford University and the Bibliothèque nationale de France joined forces to release the French Revolution Digital Archive (FRDA) online. The FRDA provides access to two main sources of material: the Archives parlementaires and a vast collection of images selected from the collections of the Bibliothèque nationale de France. These collections originally formed “French Revolution Research Collection” produced by the Bibliothèque nationale de France and the Pergamon Press for the bicentennial of the Revolution in 1989; these collections were available on laserdisc or microfilm until the online release of the FRDA.
The FRDA contains about 12,000 individual images with detailed metadata making it the most complete searchable digital archive of French Revolution images available. The Parliamentary Archives (AP) contains primary documents. Because of copyright restrictions, FRDA contains the AP volumes covering the years 1787-1794. The FRDA can be browsed by subject and searched by artist, timeline, medium, people and collector/collector.
With news of the recent discovery of looted masterpieces hidden in a Munich apartment still fresh in our minds, we thought it would be good to remind everyone of the Lost Art Database. The Lost Art Database was established by the German government to register cultural objects which were relocated, moved or seized during World War II and the Nazi dictatorship. The Database was a response to the Washington Principles established during the Washington Conference on Holocaust-Era Assets (Washington D.C., December 3, 1998. You can read pdf of the program and statements here) that called on governments to identify confiscated art, establish a central registry, facilitate open access to documents that will enable identification of confiscated materials, return confiscated assets to pre-War owners and encourage nations to develop mechanisms for resolving ownership issues. The Database allows users to search for lost assets and register cultural objects known to have been taken illegally.
The Internet provides us with a mountain of digital images from which you can find just about anything you are looking for. Sometimes, but not always. Why? Because an image can be found on the Internet only if the text entered by a searcher matches the text used to label it. To help organize this heap of digital confusion, computer scientists at Stanford and Princeton are working on the world’s largest visual database that mimics the human vision system. The database called ImageNet is organized around hierarchical categories called the WordNet. Each category (node) is represented by hundreds or thousands of images — on the average over 500 images per node. ImageNet utilizes Mechanical Turk workers to identify and categorize images. At the moment, ImageNet has over 14,000,000 images indexed into nearly 22,000 categories.
For more on ImageNet, read “Seeking a Better Way to Find Web Images” (New York Times, November 19, 2012)
Users of the Rembrandt Research Project (RRP) will be happy to know that there is a new resource available to Rembrandt scholars. The Rembrandt Database is an inter-institutional research resource for information and documentation on paintings by Rembrandt – or attributed to him, either now or in the past – in museums around the world. This new resource consolidates all the various documentation on Rembrandt into one site with the aim of becoming the first port of call for research on Rembrandt’s paintings. Over 20 institutions partnered with the primary sponsors RKD (Netherlands Institute for Art History) and the Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis in developing the Rembrandt Database. The developers eventually hope to include the body of information and documentation collected by the RRP into the Rembrandt Database.
The website currently contains 1700 digital documents (visual and textual material) relating to 12 paintings in 3 different museums. This number will grow in the coming period with the number of contributing museums is expected to reach 20 by 2014.
The Museo del Prado has launched a new site devoted to its extensive collection of Goya works and documents. The site, called Goya en el Prado, provides more than 1,000 digital images of paintings, prints, drawings and documents by the artist from the Prado’s collection. Goya in the Prado will be regularly updated with new information making it a primary reference point for those interested in Goya. The site offers rigorous technical and historical information, a comprehensive bibliographical section and high resolution images. The site is in Spanish but the Museum recommends non-Spanish speakers to consult with them for assistance.
The Netherlands Institute in Turkey (NIT) has launched a site making the photographic archive of Machiel Kiel, the former director of the NIT and a renowned Dutch scholar of Ottoman architectural monuments in the Balkan countries, available to the public. Created for the most part between the 1960s and 1990s, the Kiel Photographic Archive contains visual documentation of many monuments that have not survived or have been significantly altered during the second half of the twentieth century. The publication of Kiel’s archive by the NIT is hoped to significantly advance international research on this heritage.
As of May 2012, the NIT has almost 1300 images digitized and processed pertaining to Ottoman-Islamic architectural monuments in the Southeast-European countries (outside Turkey). The next phases will process images of monuments in Turkish Thrace and Christian monuments and mural painting from the Ottoman period.