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February 28, 2007

A Digital Museum at your mouse tip!

The Digital Media Center at OhioLINK is a vast resource that is available to all members of the Case community. The Digital Media Center contains electronic images, sounds, video, arial maps, and other multimedia.

Broadly, the DMC at OhioLINK includes nine (9) databases: Art and Architecture; Borror Laboratory of Bioacoustics, Digital Animal Sounds; Digital Video Collection (1,529 videos); Foreign Language Digital Videos; Historic and Archival Digital Media; LANDSAT 7 Satellite Images; Sanborn Digital Maps; Science Digital Media; Social Sciences Digital Media; each database is broken out into its own collection.

For instance, being a playwright, I was interested in Henrik Ibsen and discovered that searching the Digital Video Collection there was a video named Henrik Ibsen: The Master Playwright, from Films for Humanities and Sciences.

The Digital Media Center is available at http://dmc.ohiolink.edu/

There is so much in the DMC, though, that I thought I would highlight individual collections, starting with the Art and Architecture Database.

The Art and Architecture database contains 54,000 digital images and, as the name states, covers Art and Architecture. The database includes images from the following sources (as described on the site):

The ART Collection, images from museums and other art collections around the world

The ART Collection provides high-quality, digital images of works of art from museums around the world. The ART Collection highlights the creative output of cultures from prehistoric to contemporary times, and covers the complete range of expressive forms. Images include a broad range of works of the following genres: painting, sculpture, photography, print, drawing, ceramic, textiles, metalwork, furniture, books and scrolls, architecture, and archeological finds. Cultures and time periods represented range from contemporary art, Native American and Inuit art, to ancient Greek, Roman, and Egyptian works, along with Japanese and Chinese works.

This digital art collection was formerly organized by The Art Museum Image Consortium (AMICO), a consortium of museums and libraries. The collection is now licensed directly from individual museums. Clearance of rights to The ART Collection is coordinated by Archives and Museum Informatics.

The Saskia collection of illustrations used for teaching Western Art history

Saskia Art History Images is a collection of digital art images with a special emphasis on the core images required for teaching the history of Western Art, including the following text books:
• Gardner's Art Through the Ages
• Stokstad's History of Art
• Hartt's History of Italian Renaissance Art

Images from the Akron Art Museum

Art and architecture from the University of Cincinnati

WPA prints by Cleveland artists, from the Special Collections, Case Western Reserve

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Using the Database

The ART Collection database can be searched by Keyword, Creator, Creator Nationality, Title, Date, Object Type, and Museum/ Repository. Additionally, you can limit your search to specific collections: The Art Collection, the Akron Art Museum, Case Western Reserve University, Saskia Ltd, and the University of Cincinnati. Search results can be displayed as a list of items or in a light box format. Searches can be sorted by Creator, Title, or Date; and Displayed in groups from 12 to 45. Besides searching, you can also Browse collections by the very same fields listed above.

For instance, I ran the following search: Oskar Kokoschka as a Creator. I have become interested in Kokoschka as I am a playwright and he has been credited with founding expressionist drama with his play, Murderer, the Woman’s Hope. However, he was primarily a visual artist and 113 of his works are available in through the Digital Media Center.

By default, results are displayed in List View, which shows a thumbnail of the work at the left and a description of the work at the right. The description includes the Title of the work, the Creator, the nationality of the Creator, the location of the work currently, the item or catalog number, and the name of the collection, as well as a link to the Full Record for the piece. To the far right, access is provided to the navigational features of the Art & Architecture Database through DMC.

The full record can be accessed by clicking either the thumbnail image, or by clicking the “Full Record” link under the items description. This view offers more detailed information, including the lifespan of the Creator, the date the work was created, the type of object, its classification, measurements, materials, provenance, rights statement, and accession number.

From the full record, you may click the thumbnail image and see the “full view” of the item. Besides providing information that is available from the full record, at the bottom there are three choices which give some power to viewing options: Zoom, Compare, and Full Image.

Zoom opens a new window and allows for highly fluid zooming on areas of the item for detail viewing. A small thumbnail appears in the lower left corner that shows your location on the image, including a red box detailing the area currently on screen, and which can be dragged to pan to another area of the image. Panning can also be accomplished by simply clicking the image and dragging left or right. Four buttons at the lower right offer increased zooming, decreased zooming, a return to the original state, and help. Zooming in can also be accomplished by clicking on the image.

Compare opens a new window and allows you to select another image, such that you can compare the two. Compare seems to be based on the two images that you have most recently viewed in full view. It is somewhat disappointing that the compare thumbnails cannot be increased in size, but appears in necessarily restricted boxes; it seems to be dependent on the resolution of your display settings. However, the compare feature is quite nice, as I was able to compare two deer, one from The Dreaming Boys, Plate 2, The Sailboat; and the other from The Dreaming Boys, Plate 8, The girl Li and I.

Full Image simply opens a new window and presents you with the scanned item in the dimensions displayed to the right of the Full Image link, (640 x 551) for instance.

Stay tuned, over the next several days I'll look at more. Or better yet, go look around yourself!

Posted by twh7 at February 28, 2007 11:43 AM

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