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.
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 Getty Conservation Institute recently released a new resource called the Atlas of Analytical Signatures of Photographic Processes, which provides a growing collection of in-depth PDF guides of various photographic processes and their variants. The goal of the project is to help researchers and those working with photography collections correctly identify the photographic process of specific prints in their collections so as to make the safest decisions regarding the conservation, exhibition, and storage of the works.
The Atlas currently contains guides to eleven processes, including Albumen, Silver Gelatin, and Photogravure, and combines historic information about the process with information about how artists were using the technique in the darkroom, as well as contemporary conservation science knowledge.
For more information, explore the Atlas of Analytical Signatures of Photographic Processes.
SHERA (the Society of Historians of East European, Eurasian, and Russian Art and Architecture) recently launched a new website which boasts a news blog and a directory of more than 100 relevant art and architecture resources.
Broadway Photographers is a website devoted to the visual culture of the American theater from 1865–1965. It features biographical content of photographers and performers, as well as thematic modules about theatrical photography. The website can be browsed by photographer, performer, or production, and also by keyword searching.
For more information, visit Broadway Photographs: Photography and the American Stage.
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
Mummies are being imaged with CT scanners and 3D scanning technology to capture the interior as well as the exterior surfaces, colors, and textures of the mummy as well as the cartonnage and sarcophagus. Eventually these images will result in an interactive exhibition. The Guardian describes the project as such:
The Museum of Mediterranean and Near Eastern Antiquities (Medelhavsmuseet) in Stockholm, FARO and Autodesk have teamed up in a mummy visualisation project. The collection will be digitised using the latest 3D reality capture techniques and made available to museum visitors through an interactive exhibition experience.
Via The Guardian.
In the early 1970s, the Environmental Protection Agency hired more than 70 freelance photographers to take pictures of life in the United States as it intersected with the environment for the Project DOCUMERICA (1971–77). The National Archives has digitized more than 15,000 images from the project, and they are available online via NARA’s online catalog or though a Flickr collection that is much easier to browse.
You can browse by image topic, location, or photographer—and that’s where things start to get really interesting. Photographers hired for the project include Danny Lyon (AB ’63) and photojournalist John H. White (born 1945) who worked for the Chicago Defender and was recently laid off from the Chicago Sun Times along with the rest of their staff photographers.
Because the project was funded by the federal government, there are no copyright restrictions on the images, and users can download 300 dpi original size files from the Flickr collection. For more information and to explore the collection, visit Flickr and the National Archives.
Via Peta Pixel
Image: Danny Lyon. Albuquerque Speedway Park, One of Three Stock Car Race Tracks in Albuquerque, May 1972. 412-DA-2825. Still Picture Records Section, Special Media Archives Services Division (NWCS-S), National Archives at College Park, 8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, MD, 20740-6001.
SFMOMA recently launched a new web module, the Rauschenberg Research Project, which presents more than 85 works by the artist along with related contextual and archival materials. SFMOMA holds the premier collection of Rauschenberg’s work, spanning his career from 1949–98, including combines, sculptures, paintings, photographs, prints, and works on paper.
Each artwork record includes robust cataloging data based on up-t0-date research by SFMOMA, multiple views of the object with conservation notes, contextual essays on the object’s creation and life, and ownership, exhibition, and publication histories. There are also links to related archival materials including interview videos, curatorial documents and museum files, and related artworks.
Users have the option to download content from the website, including images that are of suitable size and quality for PowerPoint presentations and PDFs of the work catalog records and the contextual essay, as well as the option to download all available materials in a zipped folder.
The project was developed by SFMOMA in conjunction with the Getty’s Online Scholarly Catalog Initiative and the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation.
For more information and to explore the online collection, check out the Rauschenberg Research Project.
Via ArtDaily and Iris (The Getty).
Oxford University Press’s Grove Art Online and the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, have created a new web module called Italian Renaissance Learning Resources with the support of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation. The module features eight units that provide thematic access to the art of the Italian Renaissance: Virgin and Child, Picturing Family and Friends, The Making of an Artist, a New World of Learning, Presentation of Self, Time and Narrative, Recovering the Golden Age, and Artists and Patrons. The eight units are can be cross-searched, and essays are presented for each theme. The website features more than 340 images as well as a host of other educational resources, including selections from primary source texts (transcribed but not digitally reproduced), a glossary, as well as discussion questions and activities for classroom use.
For more information, visit the Italian Renaissance Learning Resources.