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Open access for the win.
May 16, 2011 7:08 PM   Subscribe

As a part of their new open access policy, Yale is releasing their vast digital images collection for free. Although it will take years to upload everything, the online collection is starting with 250,000 images. A sampling includes original Mozart manuscripts, maps from the Lewis and Clark Expedition, and John Trumbull's iconic Declaration of Independence.

Images will be published and searchable through the Discover Yale Digital Commons.
posted by thebestsophist (15 comments total) 46 users marked this as a favorite

 
Any porn?
posted by KokuRyu at 7:10 PM on May 16, 2011


Are they posting the naked student photos?
posted by Wet Spot at 7:12 PM on May 16, 2011 [5 favorites]


And there in a nutshell you have both the promise, and the reality, of the internet.
posted by jokeefe at 7:16 PM on May 16, 2011 [20 favorites]


You mean the Flash interface?
posted by box at 7:19 PM on May 16, 2011


It will take years to upload a quarter million half-megapixel images? Because if those pictures of ceramics are representative of their collection, your could put the whole thing on a USB thumb drive.
posted by ryanrs at 7:19 PM on May 16, 2011


Hmm…I would actually be surprised if there isn't any pornography somewhere in their classical literature archive.
posted by thebestsophist at 7:20 PM on May 16, 2011


They probably have to make the images, ryanrs...
posted by jrochest at 8:05 PM on May 16, 2011


Sure they have to make the images. The question is, will the images be viewable by the public? And I mean the full images, not the 500x500 thumbnails I see in their Digital Commons.

Compare Yale's catalog of ceramics thumbnails to an example of public imagery done right. You've probably seen these images before: Day | Night.

These two images are part of NASA's Visible Earth Image Catalog. They have been used in countless wallpapers, clock apps, and... well, mostly just wallpapers and clock apps. But the point is, they're not just images for people to look at, they have become the source material for many new useful and creative works. These two images have measurably enriched our culture. And a big part of that popularity comes from their liberal copyright policy (i.e. no copyright) and the fact that they were released as huge 30MB TIFFs.

From what I can tell, Yale's Digital Commons is a catalog of low-resolution, copyrighted images. Use of the images is explicitly limited to "non-commercial, educational, and personal use only, in accordance with the fair use provisions of the copyright laws." In other words, these images are no more usable than a picture in a magazine. Yale's "Digital Commons" is a commons in name only. That's a shame.

[NASA Earth images metadata and other formats: day, night]
posted by ryanrs at 8:39 PM on May 16, 2011 [8 favorites]


Huh, the press release says they'll be releasing high quality images into the public domain. If true, then they will be one of the first institutions to do so. I'm not sure what the deal is with the images actually on the site, because "high quality, public domain" sure ain't them.
posted by ryanrs at 8:59 PM on May 16, 2011


I guess I jumped the gun in criticizing Yale's policies. Rather than reading the press release, I went to their site and viewed at the images and copyright info. The press release promises much more than their site currently delivers.
posted by ryanrs at 9:04 PM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


There are erotic images from Pompeii, so yes, porn. i had a job in the rare books room as an undergrad.
posted by Ideefixe at 10:08 PM on May 16, 2011


Boobs!
posted by ryanrs at 10:28 PM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yale's Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript collection also has a interface to view items from the collection online.

Re the Flash nonsense - that's just the sampler, not the collection interface. (And how hard would it have been to put in a "mute music" button or volume slider, Yale programmer person?)

However, after looking through some of the actual collection, my first reaction was that it's a shame hi-res versions of the images are not linked. (I mean, I guess I can understand from a bandwidth perspective why they might not link hi-res versions on a free public interface, but hi-res versions better exist somewhere, or someone at Yale has stupidly wasted a lot of time and money.)

But, seriously, this and this? (Random samples from brief perusing.) My cat could take a better digital photo by accidentally stepping on the camera button.
posted by aught at 7:10 AM on May 17, 2011


I guess I can understand from a bandwidth perspective why they might not link hi-res versions on a free public interface,

Actually, you know what - no, I can't understand. We're talking about Yale. They have 17 billion damn dollars. They can afford to buy a top-notch server and net connectivity.
posted by aught at 7:14 AM on May 17, 2011


aught: Actually, you know what - no, I can't understand. We're talking about Yale. They have 17 billion damn dollars. They can afford to buy a top-notch server and net connectivity.

This is the school that graduated George W Bush, right?

Seems like they do some dumb shit some times.
posted by paisley henosis at 9:16 AM on May 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


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