New US history photo and news archives

Lange-Photogrammar An LA Times article today highlights two archives of great interest to students of US history: Photogrammar and Chronicling America.

Photogrammar is based at Yale University, and contains 170,000 photos commissioned by the US Farm Security Administration and the Office of War Information between 1935 and 1945.  The photographs are actually housed at the Library of Congress but Photogrammar provides the access platform.  It also includes an interactive map which lets users gather photos by region or date, and a Visualizations section which presents experiments in photo data.  The photos, including 3,244 by Dorothea Lange, are mostly public domain, and all can be downloaded.

Chronicling America is a searchable database of US newspaper pages from 1836 to 1922.  Jointly sponsored by the Library of Congress and the NEH, it contains over 10 million newspaper pages. Pages can be downloaded as JPGs or PDFs, and details can be excerpted.

Open Access Week at Davidson Library

Open Access logoOpen Access Week is an annual international event that promotes open access as a new norm in research and scholarship. Please join us for any or all of the Library’s Open Access Week programs to learn about trends and challenges in scholarly publishing.

Programs held during the week include:

  • Reinventing Scholarly Publishing: UC Press. Monday, October 19, 4-5:15 pm (Room 1575, 1st Floor)
  • Reinventing Scientific Publishing: Collabra, JoVE, PLOS. Tuesday, October 20, 4-5:15 pm (Room 1575, 1st Floor)
  • Reinventing Impact Factors: Altmetrics. Wednesday, October 21, 4-5pm (Room 1575, 1st Floor)
  • Reinventing Publication Management at UC. Thursday, October 22, 4-6 pm (Room 1575, 1st Floor)
  • Innovation, Copyright, and the Academy: The Reinvention of Your Scholarship. Monday, November 2, 4-5:15 pm (Mary Cheadle Room, 3rd Floor)

Admission is free to all events. Refreshments will be served. The Library appreciates the support of our program co-sponsors: Academic Senate, Office of Research, and Graduate Division.

Digital heritage preservation

CyArk is an international organization (actually a consortium of numerous partners) that strives to digitally record architectural and archaeological sites, using 3D scanning technology. They create 3D data sets, or ‘point clouds’, using laser scans, then join these data points into a digital mesh wire frame.  Their projects are international and wide-ranging, including ancient rock art, temples, vernacular structures and modern monuments. Their mission includes education as well as conservation, and several of their projects include in-depth documentation and teaching aids.  Have a look at their Projects page to see completed and in-development projects.


Countering ISIS monument destruction with Million Image Database Project

emple of Baalshamin. Image © Bernard Gagnon via WikipediaIn a “digital race against IS,” The Institute for Digital Archaeology (IDA) is working with UNESCO World Heritage and NYU’s Institute for the Study of the Ancient World to launch a Million Image Database Project. The hope is to capture one million 3D images of at-risk objects by the end of 2016 by deploying up to 5,000 heavily-modified inexpensive consumer 3D cameras that will permit inexperienced users to capture archival-quality scans and upload these images automatically to database servers. Once there, they can be used for study or, if required, 3D replication via open source technology and software.

via ArchDaily

Breaking news and surveillance footage of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist

Earlier this year, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum “celebrated” the 25th anniversary of the as-yet-unsolved heist of 13 works of art from their collection. Now the FBI has released a video taken the night before the heist that appears to show a night guard letting an unauthorized guest into the museum. Authorities are seeking the public’s assistance in identifying this visitor who entered the museum through the same door as the thieves 24 hours before the heist.

via ARTnews

UPDATE: Coming in on the heels of this released video, it now appears that the suspects are dead

UPDATE #2: The name of one of the suspects has been identified [via CBS]

Guggenheim Museum offers new iPad app

Guggenheim app for iPadThe Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum has released a new app for iPad, offering access to the museum’s archival publications and a new visual interface for exploring art. This is in addition to their iPhone and Android handset app that includes multi-lingual building, collection, and select exhibition guides, information on more than 1,600 works in the museum’s collection, video and audio with closed captioning, transcripts and verbal description guides for blind and low vision visitors.

The new iPad app has all these features but also introduces new features for tablets, including free access to over 100 out-of-print museum publications dating back to the 1930s, image zoom for works in the collection, a larger format for watching videos, and VoiceOver compatibility.

A “living” Mona Lisa

A team of 40 French technicians and artists have spent the last year working on a “Living Mona Lisa,” which uses a motion sensor (similar to those employed in interactive video games) to produce a version of the portrait that can follow viewers’ movements with her eyes and change her expression. As Florent Aziosmanoff, who conceived the initial concept, told the Telegraph, “Leonardo da Vinci tried to make her come alive, so it’s appropriate that we’ve taken his intentions a few steps further.”

Digital versions will be produced and marketed to go on sale in the autumn in different sizes and formats, such as digital paintings for “a few hundred euros” or miniature versions hung on a pendant, perhaps surrounded by jewels.

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