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“GLAM and the Free World,” Cory Doctorow’s keynote speech at Museums and the Web Florence 2014
Many myths surround the Smithsonian Institution’s archives—from legends of underground facilities hidden beneath the National Mall to rumors of secret archaeological excavations. One underlying truth persists amid these fallacies: the Institution’s archives are indeed massive. Preserving these collections in a digital age is a gargantuan task, especially when it comes to handwritten documents. Ink fades with time, and individual scrawls sometimes resemble hieroglyphics. It could literally take decades.The Smithsonian, instead, aims to shorten that timeframe with the help of anyone with an Internet connection. After about a year of testing with a small group of volunteers, the Smithsonian opened up their Transcription Center website to the public last month. Today, they issued a called for volunteers to help decipher everything from handwritten specimen tags to the personal letters of iconic artists to early U.S. currency. “For years, the vast resources of the Smithsonian were powered by the pen; they can now be powered by the pixel,” Smithsonian Secretary Wayne Clough said in a statement.
For decades, the only way to see artifacts like these has been to visit the Smithsonian museums in Washington, DC. And even if you have the time and money to make the trip, you only get to view the item’s front, from behind a glass case.
Today, 3D design software company Autodesk revealed an advance in technology that will let us get up close to our culture’s our rarest relics. With the Smithsonian X 3D Explorer, anyone with an Internet connection can examine, manipulate, and even print exact 3D models of a few of the Smithsonian’s most precious items.
Read the full article @ ReadWrite.com.
What can you do to bring some of the Smithsonian’s 137 million objects to life? Put them in 3D!
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art has just put 20,000 images online that we’re all free to download and use. From the press release:
(Los Angeles, March 14, 2013)—The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) continues its innovative digital efforts with the launch of a new collections website that dramatically increases accessibility to the museum’s holdings. The new site (collections.lacma.org) allows visitors to quickly search and sort images and information based on the user’s individual preferences, ultimately providing quick and easy access to LACMA’s encyclopedic collection. In addition, visitors can now download nearly 20,000 high-quality images of public domain artworks from LACMA’s permanent collection without restriction on use.
The images are amazing and both the browsing search functionalities is impressive. Check it out @ http://collections.lacma.org/.