Ever wonder how you can efficiently find texts and visual media in the public domain? One helpful source is The Public Domain Review, a project of the Open Knowledge Foundation “dedicated to showcasing the most interesting and unusual out-of-copyright works available online.” Browse the site’s articles or collections by media type and sign up to receive a bi-monthly newsletter in your inbox with featured highlights. The Review cites who’s responsible for making the works available and where to find them.
For those interested in the history of the Open Knowledge movement, click here for a concise visual timeline.
The International Exhibition of Modern Art was held at the 69th Infantry Regiment Armory in New York between February 17 – March 15, 1913 and made a deep and wide impact on American art and its viewing public. Some interesting websites on the exhibition’s 100th anniversary include:
- 1913 Armory Show: the Story in Primary Sources: a visual timeline from the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art, as seen through letters, meeting minutes, news articles, sales records, etc.
- The New Spirit: American Art in the Armory Show, 1913: at the Montclair Art Museum (February 17 – June 16, 2013), the first exhibition to focus primarily on the American artists represented in that show
- The Armory Show at 100: information about an upcoming exhibition (October 11, 2013 – February 23, 2014) at the New-York Historical Society that will reassess the Show and its impact by bringing together 75 works of art and presenting an extensive catalogue of images and essays
- The Virtual Armory Show: a gallery-by-gallery textual and visual recreation of the exhibition, for a virtual museum created by by Shelley Staples for the (now disbanded) American Studies Group at the University of Virginia
The Ohio State University Libraries has published an online edition of the Popol Vol (Wuj) from the Newberry Library in Chicago. The manuscript (sometimes translated as Book of the Community) is the creation account of the Quiché (K’iche’) Mayan people — their stories of the cosmologies, origins, traditions, and spiritual history. According to the Newberry, their Popol Vuh was most likely copied from this original manuscript (now lost) in 1701-03, in the Guatemalan town of Chichicastenango, by Dominican Father Francisco Ximenez.
The mission of the OSU online edition is to “allow native peoples and scholars to work directly with Father Ximénez’s manuscript, leading to debates about handwriting, spelling, and the polemics of the boundaries of meanings and interpretations.” The site offers transcriptions of the original K’iche’, as well as translations into Spanish and English.
Eighteen months ago we announced the launch of Your Paintings, a BBC-hosted site “which aims to show the entire UK national collection of oil paintings, the stories behind the paintings, and where to see them for real.” The site, co-funded by The Public Catalogue Foundation, announced it has completed its task. This translates into 3,217 participating venues and 211,861 paintings that are available online.
Now, the BBC and PCF are asking the public to help them tag the paintings.
Published October 26, 2012
Tags: fun, libraries, maps
A real estate agent with a sharp eye has saved a treasure trove of maps from a Los Angeles home set for demolition. As reported in the LA Times today, the agent was tasked with clearing out the house so it could be torn down, and came upon thousand and thousands of maps. The occupant, who died in February, had been quietly collecting maps for many years and stashing them in every nook and cranny. They included every kind of map of the LA region going back many decades, several copies of the Thomas Guide first edition, as well as a 1592 map of Europe. The Library staff say this windfall will bring their map collection into the calibre of the top five in the country, including the Library of Congress.
Published July 30, 2012
Tags: archives, California, libraries
If you’re not already aware of Calisphere you should have a look at it. A project of the California Digital Library and serving both the UC system and K-12 education, Calisphere is a gateway to a profusion of primary sources about… California!
The content comes from all UC campuses as well as non-UC institutions (including many specialized archives – see a list of contributors here), and represents California’s history and culture. The material is organized thematically, and special subject groups have been set up to conform with K-12 content standards (e.g. “Dust Bowl Migration”). You can also search, or browse the collection from a list of keywords, e.g. “Agricultural laborers” or “Reagan, Ronald”. In addition to images (scanned to archival standards) the collections include letters, newspapers, maps, and more.
In honor of Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee, two sites have launched with images from Britain’s past.
Queen Victoria’s Journals, through the efforts of the Royal Archives and the Bodleian Library at Oxford University, is an interactive site with online digital images of every page in the entire sequence of Queen Victoria’s diaries from 1832-1840. The site is searchable by keyword or browsable by date and include examples of her journal illustrations and sketchbook entries.
War art in The National Archives, through Wikimedia Commons, provides over 350 high-resolution digital images of posters and other works on paper from war-time Britain now in the public domain. Most of the posters and images, including a number of portraits and caricatures, are by known artists who worked for the Ministry of Information at the time. Visit The National Archives site for additional online records and links to partner sites.
The ”meta catalogue” artlibraries.net searches through more than 12 million records across 45 libraries. The records include books, articles (in periodicals, conference papers, festschriften, and exhibition books/catalogues), some archival and photographic materials and online resources. Users can also choose searches from particular libraries or return only digital media. For tips on searching through the multi-language catalogue, click here.
An enormous and valuable stash of images comprising “a visual encyclopedia” of the US in the 1930s and ’40s has been re-discovered. It comprises 41,000 photographs by Roy Stryker, the founder of the Farm Security Administration’s photography documentation project, now at the Library of Congress. (The 175,000-image FSA collection includes the iconic Dorthea Lange “Dustbowl Family” photos as well as many other highly reproduced images.) This initial batch of 41,000 was stored at the New York Public Library, and got waylaid as the LC project moved forward. Incredibly these photos could be signed out by any library patron. In 2005 it was discovered that many of these NYPL photos were not in the LC collection, so they are now being digitized and added; the first 1,000 are available here, together with the rest of the FSA material. Read more of this great story here through the NY Times.
Large academic publishers Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press and Sage Publications sued Georgia State University in 2008 over what they saw as a blatant over-use of “e-reserves” that deprived them of licensing revenue. The final ruling of that case was published Friday, May 11, 2012 and was decided (mostly) in GSU’s favor.
The judge broke down the argument into four “factors”:
1. “The purpose and character of the use”: academic and nonprofit
2. “The nature of the copyrighted work”: “informational” not “creative”
3. “The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the…whole”: the stickiest point, and defined by percentage
4. “The effect of the use upon the potential market”: minimal; copyright in this case was to encourage new academic works
via ars technica, or for those wanted to read the entire 350-page ruling, click here (pdf).