Posts Tagged ‘image databases’

Aberdeen Bestiary online

November 16, 2016

The Aberdeen Bestiary (MS 24), considered one of the finest medieval examples of the illuminated manuscript, is now available online thanks to Aberdeen University’s decades long effort to make the ms-24entire manuscript publicly available. Access to high-resolution images have given historians a close look at its gorgeous illuminations as well as a new perspective on the history and construction of the manuscript: imperfections now visible indicate numerous  scribes took part in its creation; notes and instructions between  scribes are visible in margins; thumb prints reveal frequent use as a teaching tool. In addition to the high resolution images, transcripts and translations of the original Latin text are available.

Read more about the project on the University Aberdeen project site and in a review of the project by Hyperallergic.

British Pathé on YouTube

April 23, 2014

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 resoluBritish Pathétion 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.

Vatican to digitize Manuscripts

April 8, 2014



With funding from the Polonsky Foundation, the Vatican is planning on digitize its entire Ancient Manuscript collection. Last year, the Vatican and the Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford collaborated on a massive digitization project to make 1.5 million manuscript pages from their collections accessible online. This huge endeavor is known as the Polonsky Foundation Digitization Project. And now another sponsor (NTT Data) has stepped forward, enabling the Vatican to digitize all 82,000 manuscripts in its 135 collections — 41 million pages in all!

Read the Vatican press release here.

Collection highlight: French Revolution Digital Archive

February 26, 2014
Oath of the King, print my Carl de Vinck, Bibliothèque nationale de France

Oath of the King, print my Carl de Vinck, Bibliothèque nationale de France

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.

Lost Art Internet Database

November 13, 2013

With news of the recent discoveryLost Art DB 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.

Collection highlight: Artsy

September 19, 2013

“Art meets science.” That’s Logo_Fullthe mantra of the Art Genome Project — the power, brains, force behind   Artsy. ” Artsy’s mission is to make all the world’s art accessible  to anyone with an Internet connection.” With 50,000+ artworks by 11,000+ artists from leading collections (500+ galleries and 100+ museums) around the world, Artsy is one of the largest online collections of contemporary art. Artsy allows users to develop online collections, research artworks and artists, and even purchase works of art (some contemporary works are for sale but not all).

The Artsy engineers of the Art Genome Project rely on open-source to map the “genes,” or characteristics, of art historical movements, subjects, formal characteristics etc. connecting artists and their works. You can explore these links and other educational content on the Artsy Education page. You can get the Artsy app here.

Getty’s Open Content

August 12, 2013

The Getty has banner_opencontent_600announced that it is lifting restrictions on the use of images to which the Getty holds all the rights or are in the public domain. According to Getty President and CEO Jim Cuno, “the Getty makes available, without charge, all available digital images to which the Getty holds all the rights or that are in the public domain to be used for any purpose.”  The Open Content Program will make approximately 4600 images of paintings, drawings, manuscripts, photographs, antiquities and sculpture and decorative arts from the J. Paul Getty Museum available in high resolution on the Getty’s Search Gateway for use without restriction. The Getty plans to add other images, until eventually all applicable Getty-owned or public domain images are available, without restrictions, online.

On the Open Content Program’s website, the Getty explains their decision: “we recognized the need to share images of works of art in an unrestricted manner, freely, so that all those who create or appreciate art—scholars, artists, art lovers, and entrepreneurs—will have greater access to high-quality digital images for their studies and projects. Art inspires us, and imagination and creativity lead to artistic expressions that expand knowledge and understanding. The Getty sincerely hopes that people will use the open content images for a wide range of activities and that they will share the fruits of their labors with others.

To learn more, you can read the Getty press release here, the Open Content Program site and their announcement on IRIS, the Getty’s blog.


November 20, 2012

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)

Johnson Collection of historic gardens and houses now available

May 21, 2012

The Library of Congress recently announced the digitization of the Frances Benjamin Johnston lantern slide collection.  Johnston (1864-1952) was a photographer and advocate of the garden beautiful movement.  In support of this movement, Johnston toured the US and Europe during the 1910s and 1930s, presenting lectures on historic gardens and plant life. To illustrate these lectures, Johnston used her own images. She transfered 1,134 of her black and white photographs to lantern slides which she then hand-tinted so that she could illustrate her popular lectures for garden clubs, museums and horticultural societies in color. Johnston’s photographs depict more than 200 sites — primarily private gardens but also horticultural shows, a public library and museum, and several parks. The slides focus on the American East, West, and South but also include some images in Italy, France, and England.

For more on Johnston, her lectures and lantern slides, visit the Frances Benjamin Johnston Collection page at the Library of Congress.

Walters Art Museum going online

October 17, 2011

The Walters Art Museum is now making 10,000 of its 30,000 works available online. The digitization project, funded by NEA and NEH grants, is intended to make the entire collection available online. According to the Baltimore Sun, “the effort will put the Walters at the forefront of the emerging technology of online museums and make it one of the few institutions in the world that allows virtual visitors to explore almost every artwork it owns.” The museum maintains that their collection is in the public domain and can therefore make their high-resolution images available through a Creative Commons license. This position mirrors the Walters’ free admission policy as well. The online catalog comes with detailed information about the works, the ability to zoom and create folders. (source: Baltimore Sun, October 4, 2011)