Wednesday, September 21, 2016

In Memorium: WorldImages digital pioneer Kathleen Cohen

The Visual Resources community learned this week of the passing of Art Historian Kathleen Cohen, a pioneer in digital images of art and cultural objects.  She freely shared her images from around the world with her colleagues.
Click the image to enter WorldImages
Kathleen taught at San Jose State University and was an active member of the Visual Resources Association (VRA) for many years, receiving the Nancy DeLaurier Award in 2008 for "distinguished achievement in the field."  Her legacy will continue with WorldImages.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Artstor Collaborates with Colonial Williamsburg!

In May of 2016, Colonial Williamsburg shared over 1000 images of collection objects with Artstor's vast digital library.  These include furniture, clothing, ceramics, quilts, period rooms, and portraits--like this remarkable painting from the 1830s.

Painting: Taking a Profile
Read more about this fortuitous collaboration at ArtFixDaily!  Use the advance search option in Artstor to peruse the images (search for repository: "Williamsburg").

Friday, July 22, 2016

Vatican Virgil digitized!

The Vatican has teamed with a non-profit company to make digital copies of its illuminated manuscripts available to all.
"Digita Vaticana Onlus is a non-profit organization founded in 2013 to promote the conversion of the Vatican Library manuscripts into digital format. The Association is raising the necessary funds to guarantee the digitization of over 80,000 manuscripts held in the Vatican Library and is developing venues of communication to disseminate and articulate the value of these important historical documents, so as to improve the visibility of the project and its supporters."
The project is called DigitaVaticana and now has over 4700 digitized manuscripts, including the fifth-century Vatican Virgil (Ms. Lat. 3225).

Three sizes of images may be downloaded (they are watermarked unobtrusively). You can read more about the digitization of the Aeneid on Hyperallergic!

Friday, April 29, 2016

Fair Use and Copyright in the Academic Environment

United States Copyright Law is a fascinating and complex topic.  It protects creators AND those who teach.  US copyright features a section called "Fair Use" (section 107)  that allows for the use of copyrighted material in education, news, and critique.  Reams of information have been written about copyright, and a number of important court cases have further defined copyright.  A list of resources about copyright and art are on this blog, to the right. They include the 2012 Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Academic and Research Libraries (pdf), published by the ARL (Association of Research Libraries); Statement on the Fair Use of Images for Teaching, Research, and Study, published by the VRA; and the 2015 Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for the Visual Arts (pdf), published by CAA (College Art Association).

Most of the teaching, study, and research performed at universities and colleges in the US falls into the area of "Fair Use" which allows the use of copyrighted material in the classroom and library.  However, a number of misconceptions, rumors, and misinformation about Fair Use and copyright can cause fear or discomfort about using copyrighted materials for teaching and learning.  Authority figures in academics must advocate strongly for the fair use of copyrighted material in educational environments. Faculty and students should never feel timid about fair use--reluctance to exercise fair use can impact scholarship, creativity, and lecture content.

Below is a detail from the ARL info-graphic about the updated best practices the ARL advocates.  It mentions that these best practices are endorsed by other professional organizations, including VRA and ARLIS/NA. It also addresses one of the more persistent myths about fair use of copyrighted material: "arbitrary numeric limits" to copyrighted material.  Throughout my career I have heard the rumor from librarians and faculty that only a percentage of a creative work can be used under the umbrella of fair use.  The ARL clearly states in this infographic that this misconception was addressed in a recent federal court and was found to be "impractical and unnecessary" and "not compatible with the language and content" of fair use.

(click to enlarge. see whole poster here)

The University of Denver maintains a subscription to Artstor, a database of over two million images from 290 collections for teaching and learning.  Artstor is a strong advocate for respecting copyright AND for exercising fair use.  They are hosting a webinar on copyright called The Dos and Don'ts of Image Copyright and Image Use on May 18th.  This might be a good introduction to copyright for those who are unsure about the topic and wish to be better informed.  (You can find Artstor through the University of Denver's library page by looking at the databases by the letter A.)