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.
A 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.”
Once again, the Chicago Architecture Foundation is providing access to over 200 buildings this weekend!
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
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.
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.
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.
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!
Recently, Chelsea Foxwell, Assistant Professor of Art History and the College, brought a new on-line resource for Japanese art to our attention.
The Mary Griggs Burke Collection, a major new database for Japanese art, along with some Chinese and Korean art, has recently launched. During her lifetime, Mary Griggs Burke had one of the best collections of Japanese art outside of Japan, and her collection has since been donated to several museums.
This website presents the highlights of her collection, with more than 1,000 high-quality photographs and cataloging data displayed online. You can browse the website by collecting area, artist, format, and period or do keyword searches of the collection. Users are able to zoom and pan enlarged images, and you can save a medium quality image by right clicking in the view and selecting “Save Image As.”
This site, along with many others that provide images of art and architecture, can be found on the VRC’s Other Art Resources Online page.
Europeana, the site that hosts millions of digital images from European museums, libraries, and archives, now has a Pinterest page.
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.”
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.