The Barnes Foundation has joined a growing list of museums and other institutions that are designating their public domain images as Open Access. As always, this applies only to artworks not still protected by copyright, so most 20th-century artists (most notably Matisse, in the case of the Barnes) are excluded. But images of works by many earlier artists (such as Renoir and Cézanne) in the Barnes’ collection are now free for unrestricted use.
If you’re just returning to Artstor after a summer away, you’ll notice that it looks quite a bit different. In July, Artstor moved to a new platform, which will allow it to better integrate with JSTOR and the rest of its parent company, ITHAKA.
Because this meant rebuilding Artstor from the ground up, certain features of the old Artstor have been changed or eliminated altogether. The What’s New page lists all the recent changes. Take particular note that password-protected folders are gone. Image groups can now be shared across the University using a URL, and tags have replaced the old folder system. Personal collections have also been disabled temporarily, although they will be returning in some form in the near future.
Of course, if you have any problems or questions about the new Artstor, please do not hesitate to contact the VRC’s staff!
The Metropolitan Museum of Art has dramatically expanded its commitment to Open Access. On Facebook Live this morning, Director and CEO Thomas P. Campbell announced that the Met would make 375,000 images of public domain artworks in its collection freely available for unrestricted use through its new Open Access Policy. This effectively supplants the Met’s earlier Open Access for Scholarly Content (OASC) and Images for Academic Publishing (IAP) programs, which limited their scope to academic and non-commercial uses. The Met’s images may now be used freely for any purposes, including commercial ones. As always in questions of copyright, this policy applies only to images of artworks which are themselves in the public domain, so most modern and contemporary art is excluded.
Images that are covered by the Open Access Policy are marked on the Met’s website with a Creative Commons Zero (CC0) symbol, meaning that the Museum has waived copyright and dedicated these images to the public domain. Artstor, the Wikimedia Foundation, and Creative Commons–all of which partnered with the Met on this initiative–will also be making these images available on their own sites.
With this new policy, the Met becomes only the second American institution (after the Walters Art Museum) to adopt the generous CC0 designation for its images. It is by far the largest art museum yet to have embraced such a sweeping vision of open access.
The Nationalmuseum in Stockholm, Sweden’s premier art collection, has released over 3000 images of its works in Wikimedia Commons. It joins other institutions which have announced their own open access policies in recent years, including another major Scandinavian collection, the Statens Museum for Kunst in Copenhagen, and the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, which likewise chose to release its images through Wikimedia Commons.
The Museum of Modern Art has launched an online resource documenting its complete exhibition history. Here you can find installation views, catalogues, checklists, and press releases for over 3500 exhibitions at MoMA from 1929 to the present. Needless to say, MoMA has played a central role in the history of modern and contemporary art, so this comprehensive resource should prove extremely valuable to scholars and students. You can read more in MoMA’s press release and an article in The New York Times.
OIV 4.1 has a number of new features, which you can learn more about in The Artstor Blog, the August 2016 OIV 4.1 Release Notes, or a short YouTube video. Perhaps most importantly, slide presentations no longer display slide numbers. However, Artstor chose to keep the “Image Viewer Icon” (which opens your image in a separate window, as it appears in Artstor) in the lower right corner of all presentations, where it can sometimes interfere with the image. In OIV 4.1, there is still no way to turn off this feature.
You may have heard that Artstor recently allied itself with ITHAKA, the parent company of JSTOR. (And in case you missed it, Artstor had a pretty funny April Fools’ Day story about it.) Now that two of the leading providers of visual and textual content have joined forces, we should expect to see further integration of their resources.
A new pilot project gives us a glimpse of where this partnership may be heading in the future. Exploring Rembrandt shows how images of the master’s work from Artstor can be linked to articles in JSTOR that discuss them. It is still a small prototype–addressing only five of Rembrandt’s paintings so far–but I think it is easy to imagine how useful this could be on a much larger scale.
New and expanded collections in the Artstor Digital Library this spring include the following:
- The Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York City
- RISD Museum in Providence
- Hofstra University Museum
- Amistad Research Center at Tulane University in New Orleans
- International Museum of Children’s Art in Oslo, Norway
- Experimental Printmaking Institute at Lafayette College
- Archive for Research in Archetypal Symbolism (ARAS)
- Additional images from Shangri La, Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art
An update to the Artstor Digital Library was released earlier this week, so you may have noticed a few differences in the way its interface now looks and acts.
Perhaps most significantly, you’ll see that downloading an image from Artstor now gives you just one file, not two. In the past, downloads produced two similarly named files on your computer: an image file (ending with the extension “.jpg”) and an associated metadata file (ending with “.html”). And ever since Artstor dropped Java three years ago, these two files have come to you as a single zip file, which required you to go through the additional (and annoying) step of “unzipping” the file first.
Artstor’s solution to the problem of having to juggle two different files for each download–plus dealing with those wildly unpopular zip files–has been to give you a single image file that also contains the metadata. This is called embedded metadata, because the information telling you about the artwork is coded directly into the JPEG file. This is especially useful if you download a lot of images from Artstor, because the embedded metadata will be searchable on your computer. So if you had downloaded the image illustrated here, you could search your hard drive for “Sforza” or “Piero” or “Uffizi” or any of the other words listed in the More Info box, and this image would appear in your results.
If you’re new to embedded metadata, all you really need to know is how to view it. It’s not terribly easy to access on a PC unless you have an imaging program like Photoshop installed on your computer. On a Mac, highlight the image file and then either choose Get Info from the File menu or type Command-I (⌘I), and a window like the one illustrated here will open.
But if you like having a separate text file containing the metadata, you can still get one in Artstor. Just click on Download Information in an image’s metadata panel. You can find more information on how to do this and much more on Artstor’s Embedded Metadata support page. (If you’re a PC user and you don’t already have Photoshop, you can even find a link there to a site where you can download a free–and legal!–copy of Photoshop CS2.)
And as always, if you need any help with embedded metadata, just contact me or another member of the VRC staff any time!
The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation has taken the unprecedented and very promising step of relaxing its copyright restrictions and endorsing the fair use of its images. This means that for most educational or academic purposes, like teaching or publishing, reproduction of the Foundation’s images of artworks by Robert Rauschenberg is free, legal, and actually encouraged.
One of the most important postwar American artists, Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008) emerged in the 1950s to challenge the prevailing current of Abstract Expressionism in the US. His works revived some of the ideas Dada had introduced earlier in the 20th century, and set the stage for the Pop art of the 1960s. It seems fitting that an artist like Rauschenberg–who unabashedly appropriated and incorporated “found objects” made by someone else into his own work–should lead the way towards the free and legal use of copyrighted images.