It aint the reading room, but its still pretty sweet
November 18, 2007 3:32 AM   Subscribe

James Fenton writes in the Guardian that the entire "flat" collection of the British Museum is going into a searchable online index. Currently there are about 265,000 objects in the database with about 100,00 images. The article says that high quality images, suitable for print reproduction, and free to academic users, are coming soon. The search page is here.

This looks like an excellent time sink. A few things I found:
a cool day of the dead foil cutout
that Dürer print of the Rhinoceros
a broadside mocking the flight of the Congress after the fall of Philadelphia
They have the 36 views of Mount Fuji.

Coolness aside, and at the risk of being a straight man, isn't this the promise of the web?
posted by shothotbot (12 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
"...isn't this the promise of the web?"

Yes, except for the "free to academic users" part. Fuck that. It takes a lot of money to be an "academic user". Oughtta be free to everybody. That's the promise of the web.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:09 AM on November 18, 2007

Sorry to be unclear, searching and printing and whatnot are free for all comers, reproduction in books and journals are only free for scholarly users. Go nut flapjax@00:00.
posted by shothotbot at 5:24 AM on November 18, 2007

aah, I see. Thanks for clarifying!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:28 AM on November 18, 2007

Now we have an even better excuse not to return all the things we nicked burning the high days of Empire! Up yours, pillages peoples of the globe.
Err, excellent link and a fine resource, I meant.
posted by Abiezer at 5:36 AM on November 18, 2007

burning; during - all came to much the same thing. Ahem.
posted by Abiezer at 5:36 AM on November 18, 2007

Burning the high days of empire! Yeah! Damn, Abiezer, you keep giving me good lines to steal, even when they're just typos!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:38 AM on November 18, 2007

isn't this the promise of the web?

It's what I had envisioned as such, since '93 when I signed up for that first AOL account. The first thing I discovered was that while, at the time, the Smithsonian had a pretty thorough catalog of objects in its collection, almost no images or info was available online. It's taken years and years of hard work for these institutions to slowly bring this around, and I'm glad to see if beginning to bear fruit.

Actually, about the second thing I ever did upon getting online, was to find and print an unedited version of Marx's Communist Manifesto, just because I was so happy that I could. I also carry a copy of the U.S. Constitution around in my messenger bag, for the same reason.
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:13 AM on November 18, 2007

I feel a little weird about posting this.. but while I was looking for octo/squid images I think I may have found the strangest thing in there... (NSFW unless work is the art museum)
posted by pokermonk at 7:25 AM on November 18, 2007

1800's tentacle fetish...the hunt ends.
posted by greenskpr at 8:13 AM on November 18, 2007 [1 favorite]

Sigh. Off to add the octopus+shunga tag.
posted by shothotbot at 9:53 AM on November 18, 2007

This is cool. Thank you.
posted by cog_nate at 11:10 AM on November 18, 2007

Wow! This is amazing!!!

Ok, this isn't ancient tentacle porn, but ... well ... Hokusai, wtf, man?

Anyway, I searched for "cane fight" and found this. I love that kind of stuff.
posted by redteam at 3:43 PM on November 18, 2007

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