MIT’s Archnet, a collaboration between the Aga Khan Trust for Culture and the Aga Khan Documentation Center at MIT Libraries, “is a portal to rich and unique scholarly resources featuring thousands of sites, publications, images, and more focused on architecture, urbanism, environmental and landscape design, visual culture, and conservation issues related to the Muslim world.” The website has recently been remained and restructured since its launch ten years ago.
The website features a timeline, a wide variety of digital collections and research materials, an advanced search, and selected syllabi pertaining to the study of Islamic Art, Architecture, and Culture.
To explore for yourself, check out Archnet!
The New Yorker recently ran a story about the Dunhuang Library and the efforts to digitize the large cache of materials originally discovered in a cave outside Dunhuang, in the Gobi Desert in western China in 1900. That original discovery revealed a chamber with more than five hundred cubic feet of bundled manuscripts in 17 languages and 24 scripts. The sheer size of the find is not its only extraordinary feature. Other significant discoveries were revealed, including the oldest known example of a printed book—out dating Gutenberg’s press for sure.
In 1994, the British Library created a team with partners in China, France, Germany, Japan, and Korea to digitize the cache of Dunhuang library materials. Called the International Dunhuang Project, its efforts are two-fold: they want to make the documents accessible to researchers around the world in addition to preserving them. The International Dunhuang Project’s database is freely accessible and provides high quality images of manuscripts ad other materials along with robust cataloging information.
Another fantastic research pertaining to Dunhuang is the Mellon International Dunhuang Archive avaialble in ARTstor. With funding from the Mellon Foundation, a team from Northwestern university photographed (in extremely high resolution) more than 40 of the cave grottos at Dunhuang. The photographs they took were stitched together to create 2-and 3-D representations of the caves that can be viewed using QTVR (QuickTime Virtual Reality) technology.
Via the New Yorker.
Google Street View recently added two Roman catacombs to its repertoire—the Catacomb of Priscilla and the Dino Companion. The Catacomb of Priscilla was used for Christian burials in the second through fourth centuries, and contains wall paintings of saints and other symbols.
The University of Michigan Library recently announced that it has completed cataloging its entire Islamic Manuscripts Collection, which resulted in the creation if 883 new catalog records and expanding 21 existing descriptions. Now that the project is complete, the entire collection is available in the library’s online catalog, complete with detailed, searchable descriptions.
Additionally, there are digital surrogates for 912 manuscripts from the library’s collection available in the HathiTrust Digital Library. There, users can view the digitized manuscripts in a page viewer or download the entire book or individual pages as PDFs.
The Library created a research guide for the collection, which provides stellar information on the history and scope of the collection, as well as search strategies, policies for viewing manuscripts in the library, and instructions on how to access the digitized manuscripts in HathiTrust.
Image from [al-Ḥizb al-aʻẓam maʻa Dalāʼil al-khayrāt, . Qārī al-Harawī, ʻAlī ibn Sulṭān Muḥammad, d. 1605 or 6.
The Penn Museum in Philadelphia, the University of Pennslyvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, recently launched two new digital endeavors for researchers.
The newly revamped Collections Database includes more than 690,000 objects and more than 95,000 images. The database records are robust, with links to related objects and bibliographic citations of where the image has been published.
The Penn Museum also allows users to download data files of its object records under a Creative Commons license. You can download datasets on all objects or by cultural group, including African, American, Asian, Egyptian, European, Historic, Mediterranean, Near Eastern, and Oceanian. The datasets include physical information, its provenance, and materialiaty but not images of the objects and the objects’ publication and exhibition histories.
The Research Map and Timeline provides interactive documentation and information about the museum’s research expeditions and projects since the 1880s. Users can browse projects geographically or chronologically, and the website provides a record of the dates, researchers, and time period studied as well as a brief description of the work done and key discoveries.
People have been living in vertical housing structures for 2,500 years, and the New York Times recently created an interactive documentary called ‘A Short History of the Highrise‘ in conjunction with the National Film Board of Canada to explore the history of high-rises and the related social, political, and material issues.
The film plays chronologically to discuss three phases of vertical communal living in a global context: Mud, Concrete, and Glass. At any time, you can mouse “down” in order to explore more in-depth about whatever topic is currently on the screen and when you’re done, you can go right back into the film where you left off. The documentary is image-rich, with oil paintings and historic photographs included throughout. Clicking on an image also includes robust cataloging information.
Although the documentary is “short,” it’s narrations reference major developments in 20th century architecture, especially public housing and urban sprawl.
Check out the Short History of the Highrise by the New York Times.
Adobe Kuler is an iPhone app that allows you to create a themed color palette based on photos taken with an iPhone camera or from imported photos from the web (the app provides you with a Google Images search option, which is convenient). As soon as you show the Kuler app an image, it starts capturing colors from the image and creates a customizable color theme. You can also create themes manually using the color wheel and standard color rules—analogous, monochromatic, triad, complementary). The themes are editable, and you can sync them with your Adobe account and the Creative Cloud and can be used for design purposes—it works especially well with Adobe Illustrator.
For more information about the Kuler app, visit the web version‘s color wheel or the app. We have the app installed on the VRC’s iPad, so feel free to come check it out!
The image examples are left: my desk in the VRC and right: Sandy Skoglund’s Revenge of the Goldfish (1981).
We’ve been covering the news about Artsy since its launch in October 2012 and the announcement earlier this month that it is releasing more than 25,000 images for download. Their next big move is the debut of an iPhone app that takes full advantage of many features in the newly released iOS 7.
The Artsy App is free to downloaded and is updated daily. Currently, it contains more than 50,000 high quality images of artworks that can be searched or browsed across several categories, including subject matter, medium/technique, and style and movement. The app also contains up-to-date information about art world happenings, including exhibitions, art fairs, and auctions.
You can take advantage of the new Parallax feature in iOS 7, which helps Artsy’s feature “View in Room” to engage with artworks as if they were in a gallery setting. Users can also email works of art, save, copy, and print directly from within the app.
We’ve installed the Artsy App on the VRC’s iPad, so feel free to check it out on your own or swing by the VRC to see ours!
Panoramio is a photo-sharing community powered by Google that allows users to tag their photos with geographic information so they can be plotted on a map and searched for by location. You can browse by location, and click on individual images from the map, or search for specific sites and locations.
Some of the images are indeed panoramas, and Panoramio includes both flat and spherical panoramas (the latter provide a 360º of a place). For example, check out this haunting spherical panorama of the Holocaust Monument in Berlin.
This website is useful for studying architecture, cities, and the built environment, and it’s also great for some arm-chair traveling. You can also add your own images to the project.
For more information or to start exploring, check out Panoramio!
This summer, the Europeana digital library launched its first app, Open Culture, which includes a selection of 350,000 images from its online collection of cultural objects from Europe’s institutions. The app is organizied around five curated themes, including Maps and Plans, Treasures of Art, Treasures of the Past, Treasures of Nature, and Images of the Past.
Users can perform keyword searches in the app, or browse through a visual wall of image thumbnails. You can also save favorites, add comments, and share object records on Facebook or Twitter. Perhaps best of all: the images included in the Europeana Open Culture app are either in the public domain or openly licensed, so they may be used for any publishing purpose.
For more information, stop by the VRC to explore Open Culture on our iPad, or visit the App Store.
Via Europeana Blog