Libraries Collaborates for Open Access to Archive of Prominent Urdu Writer and Activist | University of Texas Libraries | The University of Texas at Austin

The comprehensive works of influential Urdu writer, social critic and political activist Sajjad Zaheer are now broadly accessible for scholarship and study thanks to a partnership between The University of Texas at Austin and Ambedkar University Delhi (AUD), with endorsement from the Indian writer’s estate.

CRL and East View Release Open Access Imperial Russian Newspapers | CRL

“CRL and East View Information Services have opened the first release of content for Imperial Russian Newspapers

(link is external), the fourth Open Access collection of titles digitized under the Global Press Archive (GPA) CRL Charter Alliance. This collection adds to the growing body of Open Access material available in the Global Press Archive by virtue of support from CRL members and other participating institutions.

The Imperial Russian Newspapers(link is external) collection, with a preliminary release of 230,000 pages, spans the eighteenth through early twentieth centuries and will include core titles from Moscow and St. Petersburg as well as regional newspapers across the vast Russian Empire. Central and regional “gubernskie vedomosti” will be complemented by a selection of private newspapers emerging after the Crimean War in 1855, a number of which grew to be influential….”

CRL and East View Release Open Access Imperial Russian Newspapers | CRL

“CRL and East View Information Services have opened the first release of content for Imperial Russian Newspapers

(link is external), the fourth Open Access collection of titles digitized under the Global Press Archive (GPA) CRL Charter Alliance. This collection adds to the growing body of Open Access material available in the Global Press Archive by virtue of support from CRL members and other participating institutions.

The Imperial Russian Newspapers(link is external) collection, with a preliminary release of 230,000 pages, spans the eighteenth through early twentieth centuries and will include core titles from Moscow and St. Petersburg as well as regional newspapers across the vast Russian Empire. Central and regional “gubernskie vedomosti” will be complemented by a selection of private newspapers emerging after the Crimean War in 1855, a number of which grew to be influential….”

NFTs and AI Are Unsettling the Very Concept of History | WIRED

“But now the survival of archives as we know them is uncertain. Whether we know it or not, we all rely on a patchwork of chronically underfunded public and private institutions that hold the world’s histories and cultural heritages in trust for all of us and make them accessible….

It was only a matter of time before the market figured out a way to manufacture and sell digital scarcity, and the marketplace for cultural objects has moved well past the archival ecosystem. Artists, gamers, entertainers, athletes, and executives now sell NFTs, tokenized digital objects whose authenticity is said to be assured by the reverse traceability of blockchain transactions. The combination of Covid-19 isolation and cryptocurrency profits created a powerful incentive for digital-positive collectors to compete for these NFTs, and some creators are raking in Ethereum….

Nothing could be a greater cultural and ethical shock to archives than NFTs. Prevailing archival ethics generally dictate that all users are treated equally, and that archival materials aren’t exposed or sold only to high bidders. And once archives select materials for retention, they consider themselves in most cases ethically bound to do so permanently….

As poor a fit with archival DNA as tokenizing archive collections as NFTs may be, the possibility of leveraging digital scarcity by selling NFTs while retaining physical materials is a hefty temptation. The archival world is a world of inadequate budgets and financial constraint, filled with underpaid workers and massive, poorly resourced projects like digital preservation, and the challenging task of digitizing analog materials. Will archives be tempted by the potential upside of NFTs and tokenize digital representations of their crown jewels (or the rights to these assets)? This would worsen an already bad situation…

One working solution is for cultural and historical institutions like archives to run their own trusted registries of digital objects. But this is expensive, and it creates further incentives for archives to monetize their holdings and become less accessible to noncommercial users, like genealogists, the group that uses archives more than anyone else. …”

A Giant Medieval Puzzle – Library Matters

““Fragmentology” is a new approach to the visual gathering of such dispersed fragments in order to re-assemble the pieces of a codex.  A digital platform is now available to apply collective energy into fitting the pieces of the puzzle back together again, which has an enormous potential for research.  Fragmentarium is the name of a partnership of institutions gathered to develop the technologies needed to build “a common laboratory for fragments” and conduct research.  It promises to yield digital versions from the original fragments, constituted from various holdings. This process will enable provenance research, the study of the circulation of manuscripts, and generate connections among researchers and curators. Thus a leaf holding comparable visual cues may be further investigated as a originating from the same or similar source. …”

“Just Make the Data Available”: Exploring Manuscripts with OPenn | Penn Libraries

“Once upon a time, examining pages from one of the Medieval manuscripts held by Penn Libraries’ Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books, and Manuscripts would always require someone to make an appointment with a curator, travel to Philadelphia, and visit the Charles K. MacDonald Reading Room. While the experience of viewing a rare book or manuscript in person is still one of vital importance to researchers, this is not a trip that just anyone had the capability to make, even before the COVID-19 pandemic restricted all our movements. Since the late 1990s, Penn Libraries has helped researchers surmount this obstacle through a wide variety of digitization efforts, including projects like Penn in Hand and Print at Penn. Today, one way to explore the Libraries’ digitized manuscripts is using OPenn, a website hosting high-resolution archival images of manuscripts and descriptive information about each one of them. Launched in 2015, OPenn now holds just over 10,000 documents and more than 1 million individual images from over fifty institutions, including the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas, Columbia University, the Rosenbach, and the British Library, all freely available to download, use, and share. …”

#GLAMhack 2021 – Swiss Open Cultural Data Hackathon – Working Groups / Open GLAM – Open Knowledge Forums

“The yearly Swiss Open Cultural Data Hackathon is a fun, collaborative and innovative event dedicated to our digital heritage. This year, we are being hosted by the ETH Library in Zurich and will meet online on April 16 & 17. New data sets are being made available as is custom for this event, such as an exciting new compilation of historical photographs of Zürich by the photographer Friedrich Ruef-Hirt (via @OpenDataZurich)….”

The Louvre Has Digitized 482,000 Works — Wander The Museum Online, For Free : NPR

“One of the world’s most massive museums has announced an encompassing digitization of its vast collection.

“The Louvre is dusting off its treasures, even the least-known,” said Jean-Luc Martinez, President-Director of the Musée du Louvre, in a statement on Friday. “For the first time, anyone can access the entire collection of works from a computer or smartphone for free, whether they are on display in the museum, on loan, even long-term, or in storage.” 

Some of this is hyperbole. The entire collection is so huge, no one even knows how big it is. The Louvre’s official release estimates about 482,000 works have been digitized in its collections database, representing about three quarters of the entire archive. (The museum’s recently revamped homepage is designed for more casual visitors, especially those on cellphones, with translations in Spanish, English and Chinese.) …”

Louvre site des collections

“The database for the Louvre’s collections consists of entries for more than 480,000 works of art that are part of the national collections and registered in the inventories of the museum’s eight curatorial departments (Near Eastern Antiquities; Egyptian Antiquities; Greek, Etruscan and Roman Antiquities; Islamic Art; Paintings; Medieval, Renaissance and Modern Sculpture; Prints and Drawings; Medieval, Renaissance and Modern Decorative Arts), those of the History of the Louvre department, or the inventories of the Musée National Eugène-Delacroix, administratively attached to the Louvre since 2004.

The Collections database also includes so-called ‘MNR’ works (Musées Nationaux Récupération, or National Museums Recovery), recovered after WWII, retrieved by the Office des Biens et Intérêts Privés and pending return to the legitimate owners. A list of all MNR works conserved at the Musée du Louvre is available in a dedicated album and may also be consulted in the French Ministry of Culture’s Rose Valland database. 

Lastly, the Louvre Collections database includes information on works on long-term loan from other French or foreign institutions such as the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, the Petit Palais, the Fonds National d’Art Contemporain, the British Museum and the archaeological museum of Heraklion. …”

Louvre museum makes its entire collection available online

“As part of a major revamp of its online presence, the world’s most-visited museum has created a new database of 482,000 items at collections.louvre.fr with more than three-quarters already labelled with information and pictures.

It comes after a year of pandemic-related shutdowns that has seen an explosion in visits to its main website, louvre.fr, which has also been given a major makeover….

The new database includes not only items on public display in the museum but also those in storage, including at its new state-of-the-art facility at Lievin in northern France….