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E BOOKS vs. E MUSEUMS: THE LAG OF THE BOOK

New Post Goes Up every Wednesday at 8:30pm ET

THE E-BOOK:  HO-HUM

Rubens Death of DidoIt appears that the e reader has virtually disappeared as a badge of status from the commuter trains and subways. Even a cursory look around will show you the paucity of e readers. It seems that most everyone is thoroughly engrossed, again, in staring at the screen on their smartphones or practicing their quck draw by whipping out their smartphone every 30 seconds . Recently, Barnes & Noble announced the cessation of production of the Nook.

Can it be that our gentle readers have gotten fed up by the publishers’ resistance to innovation and relentless pursuit of profit? Although  ebook publishers have eliminated the bookstore middleman,  and the costs of printing, warehousing, shipping, and returns, the price of an e book has approached the price of a hard bound book. Where is the value to the reader? See our previous post, Amazon/Apple the Two Elephants in the Room.

  E MUSEUMS: KA-POW!!
The Getty is the most recent example of a museum embracing the New Media technology to make art available to all, and for free.  The Getty blog explains it best:

The Getty [has] become an even more engaged digital citizen, one that shares its collections, research, and knowledge more openly than ever before. We’ve launched the Open Content Program to share, freely and without restriction, as many of the Getty’s digital resources as possible.

Painting Rubens – The Death of Dido

The initial focus of the Open Content Program is to make available all images of public domain artworks in the Getty’s collections. Today we’ve taken a first step toward this goal by making roughly 4,600 high-resolution images of the Museum’s collection free to use, modify, and publish for any purpose.

These are high-resolution, reproduction-quality images with embedded metadata, some over 100 megabytes in size. You can browse all available images here, or look for individual “download” links on the Getty Museum’s collection pages. As part of the download, we’ll ask for a very brief description of how you’re planning to use the image. We hope to learn that the images will serve a broad range of needs and projects.

Atget-  St. Cloud

We plan to release many more images of works of art in the public domain over time, both from the Museum’s collection and from the special collections of the Getty Research Institute. We’re conducting a thorough review of copyright and privacy restrictions on our holdings to identify all the images we can make available.

The Getty blog goes on to reveal the museum’s plans for the future:

In a future step, we’ll look at additional content we can add to the Open Content Program—both other kinds of images, such as documentation from the Getty Conservation Institute’s field projects around the world, and knowledge resources, such as digital publications and the Getty Vocabularies.

Photograph Atget – St. Cloud

WHY OPEN CONTENT?

Why open content? Why now? The Getty was founded on the conviction that understanding art makes the world a better place, and sharing our digital resources is the natural extension of that belief. This move is also an educational imperative. Artists, students, teachers, writers, and countless others rely on artwork images to learn, tell stories, exchange ideas, and feed their own creativity. In its discussion of open content, the most recent Horizon Report, Museum Edition stated that “it is now the mark—and social responsibility—of world-class institutions to develop and share free cultural and educational resources.”

A FORWARD- THINKING MUSEUM

Forward-thinking organizations such as the Walters Art Museum, the National Gallery of Art, Yale University, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and Harvard University have shown how powerful open access to collections and research can be. The Open Content Program represents a new commitment to digital openness in the Getty’s work. I look forward to adding more resources over the coming months and years—and even more, I look forward to seeing what open content will inspire you to create and share.

FAQs

Questions about the new Open Content Program? See the Getty’s Open Content FAQ,.

H/T OpenCulture.com

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