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Walters Art Museum Goes CCO!

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One of the biggest concerns when using images in projects, papers, and presentations is copyright restrictions. That’s why it’s so exciting to report that the Walters Art Museum has made all their digital images, as well as the accompanying metadata, freely available via a Creative Commons Zero license.

What this means is that anyone can use any image from their website, for any purpose, without permission or fear of violating any copyright restrictions. The digital images are of high quality, easy to search, and simple to download. Those looking for higher-resolution images for publishing are encouraged to contact their photo services department.

The museum is encyclopedic in scope and offers thousands of images of artwork from the ancient world, Asia, Medieval and Renaissance Europe, and the Islamic world.


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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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Chicago Architecture Biennial


This weekend marks the opening of the 3 month long Chicago Architecture Biennial. With a mission of creating an international forum on architecture and urbanism, the Biennial “seeks to convene the world’s leading practitioners, theorists, and commentators in the field of architecture and urbanism to explore, debate, and demonstrate the significance of architecture to contemporary society.” The calendar is overflowing with events, including free tours of the Frank Lloyd Wright’s S.C. Johnson Wax headquarters and the UChicago campus, as well as the opening of the Stony Island Arts Bank, all happening this weekend.


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Chicago’s Museum Week

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From October 1 – October 7, 11 of Chicago’s museums, as well as the Lincoln Park Zoo, are offering free admission, discounted memberships, and other special offers. There are also special events, including free tours, extended hours, and even a 5K run at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum as part of their Harvest Festival.

The official website has more details.

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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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