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CT Scan of Medieval Manuscript

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Recently, the British Library did a CT Scan of the St. Cuthbert Gospel, one of the oldest European manuscripts, dating to the 8th Century. An explanation of the process of scanning the manuscript can be found on the British Library’s website. Once the manuscript was scanned, along with a facsimile used for comparison, the data was processed in a program called “Drishti,” which allows for exploring and visualizing vast amount of data (above).

From the scans, researchers discovered that the central motif on the binding was made using a clay-like material, rather than gesso or cord as had previously been thought.

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The entire manuscript has been digitized and is available on the British Library’s website here.

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New Module in Archivision Collection


The Visual Resources Center is very pleased to offer over 6,000 new images of architecture and outdoor sculpture loaded overnight to the Archivision Collection. Archivision is a subscription-based collection of almost 78,000 high-resolution, high-quality images of architecture, urban design, gardens, and outdoor sculpture from around the world and all time periods. The collection is curated by Scott Gilchrist, a trained architect and professional photographer.

The latest upload, Module 10, contains a wealth of images of architecture in the United States, including modern and contemporary works in California and the desert southwest. There is also early Modernist buildings from the Netherlands, important buildings in India, campuses of both the Cranbrook Academy and Yale University, topographic views of many US cities, and even images from Yellowstone National Park.

All images are cleared for educational use and publication rights may be obtained at

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Explore Chicago Collections

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On October 22, a consortium of libraries, museums, and other institutions, launched Chicago Collections, a portal allowing access to digital collections related to the City of Chicago. Comprising over 100,000 maps, photographs, books, and archival collections, this portal will allow researchers, students, and the general public to locate materials from collections across the city using one simple interface.

Material can be easily searched by theme (events, daily life, goverment), by neighborhood, or personal name. There is also a virtual reference desk allowing users to ask questions about the collections, as well as facilitate access and use. As the collections grow, there will be additional programming and exhibits.

The University of Chicago Libraries have contributed to Chicago Collections, including finding aids to describe Chicago-based archival and manuscripts collections, as well as thousands of digital images.

To access the collections, use the Explore Chicago Collections page.

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What Jane Saw

Screen Shot 2015-09-21 at 9.50.46 AMA great example of Digital Humanities at work, the website “What Jane Saw” digitally re-creates a retrospective exhibit of works by Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792) visited by Jane Austen in 1813. In addition to an interesting visual interface, the site includes a catalog of works in the exhibit, as well as a floor plan, a video recreation using SketchUp,  and a bibliography.

As the site’s authors explain, “No visual record of this show is known to have survived, although it attracted hundreds of daily visitors during its much-publicized three-month run. However, many details of the exhibit can be reconstructed from the original 1813 “Catalogue of Pictures,” a one-shilling pamphlet purchased by visitors as a guide through the three large rooms where hung 141 paintings by Reynolds. Armed with surviving copies of this pamphlet, narrative accounts in nineteenth-century newspapers and books, and precise architectural measurements of the British Institution’s exhibit space, this website reconstructs the Reynolds show as Jane Austen (as well as any Jane Doe) saw it.”

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Open House Chicago

Once again, the Chicago Architecture Foundation is providing access to over 200 buildings this weekend!OpenHouse

In addition to tours, there are concerts and family programs, and workshops including one on architecture photography. For more information, check out their website. You can also follow on social media using the hashtag #OHC2015

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Consisting of literally thousands of films, videos, sound files, and digitized papers, UbuWeb is a treasure trove of multi-media art. The material is presented freely for noncommercial, educational use. It is easily searchable, often has a short description, and is continually updated.

So, if you’re looking for examples of early Vito Acconci videos, recent work by Matthew Barney, the music of John Cage, or PDFs of the journal “Internationale Situationniste,” UbuWeb is a great resource to find these often esoteric works.

The site has also recently announced that all films are now available to view on mobile device.

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Be an Art Cataloger in Artstor Arcades

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Two years ago, Artstor acquired an enormous collection of photographs taken by D. James Dee. The archive comprises slides, transparencies, and photographs of hundreds of thousands of artworks and art exhibits photographed by Dee in New York City from early 1970s to 2013. To assist with the cataloging of these images, Artstor Labs has developed a crowd-sourcing “game” called Artstor Arcades, hoping to identify and catalog the images for inclusion in the Artstor database.

According to the site, Arcades “offers a simple gaming platform that allows users to enter terms for a selection of key fields to help identify individual works, including Title, Artist, Date, and Gallery. Users are given points for each field of data entered and can progressively level up through prestigious titles, ranging from “flâneur” to “master.” You receive more points if an artist name, title, or other term matches a previous response. This matching is the key to crowdsourcing data—the more users, the more matches, the better the data.”

So, sign up, and start cataloging!

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Europeana on Pinterest

Europeana, the site that hosts millions of digital images from European museums, libraries, and archives, now has a Pinterest page.

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As can be seen from the image above, the images have been organized into categories and themes.  This makes it much easier to find specific items, like Meissen porcelain or maps, or to search across media for a theme or style, like Art Nouveau or Angels. In addition to creating personal boards to “collect” images that might be useful for research or in a presentation, using Pinterest also allows users to discover other images, since users can be taken back to Europeana’s site, which provides basic metadata with links to other works by specific artists or in a specific style, a link to the owning museum, and a suggestion of “other items you may be interested in.”

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French Sculpture Census

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In December 2014, the French Sculpture Census went live, providing images and information about roughly 7,000 works for French sculpture in American collections. The project is the result of a collaboration between scholars and curators from approximately 280 museums nationwide. The site can be used by both French- and English-speaking audiences and the census can be searched by artist, location, or sculpture. There’s also a very useful list of resources that includes bibliographies, a list of current exhibitions, and a glossary of terms. The creators hope to have approximately 15,000 records by the time the census is finished.

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Storymap: A New Free Mapping Tool from Knightlab

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StoryMapJS is a free tool created by Northwestern University’s Knightlab, which aimes to make technology that promotes quality storytelling on the Internet. Storymap allows you to highlight locations of a series of events, like this example of Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s Works of Art. It also uses features like Gigapixel to tag points on an existing images like this example of The Garden of Earthly Delights or SnapMap to instantly create a map through your Instagram feed.  Try this open source user friendly tool for plotting your next project!

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