Initiative Sponsored by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to Serve Educational and Cultural Communities
April 12, 2004. ARTstor, a non-profit initiative founded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, announces the availability of its Digital Library to non-profit educational and cultural institutions in the United States starting this summer.
The ARTstor Digital Library is comprised of digital images and related data; the tools to make active use of those images; and an online environment intended to balance the interests of users with those of content providers. ARTstor’s “Charter Collection” will contain approximately 300,000 digital images of visual material from different cultures and disciplines, and it seeks to offer sufficient breadth and depth to support a wide range of non-commercial educational and scholarly activities. The Charter Collection is anticipated to grow to half a million images by the summer of 2006.
ARTstor was established with a mission to use digital technology to enhance scholarship, teaching and learning in the arts and associated fields. James Shulman, the Executive Director of ARTstor, noted that “The impact of digitization on teaching and scholarship becomes increasingly clear every day. ARTstor is working with museums, colleges, universities, libraries, archives and others around the world in an effort to ensure that these dramatic changes happen in thoughtful ways. We are excited by the chance to play a role in a community-wide effort that represents many aspects of the world’s collective cultural heritage.”
According to Neil L. Rudenstine, ARTstor’s chairman and president emeritus of Harvard University, “The growing need for an accessible source of digital images has become a significant problem at many educational institutions that are using limited resources to build and sustain their own image archives. ARTstor hopes to help address this need by working with institutions to build a digital collection capable of both system-wide growth and expansion at individual institutions, so that participants will have significantly more material for educational and scholarly uses.”
The Charter Collection is meant to serve as a campus-wide resource that is focused on, but not limited to, the arts. It documents artistic and historical traditions across many time-periods and cultures and has been derived from several source collections that are themselves the product of collaborations with libraries, museums, photographic archives, publishers, slide libraries, and individual scholars. Source collections include:
The Image Gallery: A collection of 200,000 images of world art and culture corresponding to the contents of a university slide library, constructed in response to college teaching needs. Since the images have been cataloged with subject headings, they will be useful both to those in the arts and in many other fields;
The Carnegie Arts of the United States: A widely used collection of images documenting aspects of the history of American art, architecture, visual and material culture;
The Huntington Archive of Asian Art: A broad photographic overview of the art of Asia from 3000 B.C. through the present;
The Illustrated Bartsch: A collection derived from the art reference publication of the same name, containing images and data related to more than 50,000 old master European prints from the 15th to 19th Centuries;
The Mellon International Dunhuang Archive: High resolution images of wall paintings and sculpture from the Buddhist cave shrines in Dunhuang, China, along with related objects and art from the caves that are now in museums and libraries in Europe and the United States; and
The MoMA Architecture and Design Collection: A comprehensive collection of high resolution images representing the holdings of the Department of Architecture and Design of The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York.
ARTstor has developed software tools that will allow users at participating institutions to use its Charter Collection without the need for any other software. Users will be able to view and analyze images through features such as zooming and panning. They will be able to save groups of images for personal or group uses, as well as for use in lectures and other presentation, either online or off-line.
Participation fees for ARTstor’s Charter Collection are listed now at Participating in ARTstor. Thirty-five test institutions have had access to the software and image repository during the past academic year, including: the Art Institute of Chicago, Harvard University, Hunter College, James Madison University, Johns Hopkins University, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Art, New York University, Pennsylvania State University, Princeton University, Sarah Lawrence College, Smith College, University of California at San Diego, Williams College and the Sterling & Francine Clark Art Institute.
As William G. Bowen, the President of the Mellon Foundation, noted: “The fit between new technology and visual images is an unusually promising one. The ability to combine – and make active use of – images, data, texts and other materials offers the opportunity to bring about a substantial and exciting transformation in art-related teaching, learning, and research.”
For more information about participating in ARTstor, please see the Participation Info section of the ARTstor website.