Tuesday, May 27, 2014

OASC for Metropolitan Museum of Art Images

I do like to look at images in high resolution - there's an amazing difference between high resolution images online and those you see in books or low resolution images online.

You can now access some 400,000 high resolution images belonging to the Metropolitan Museum of Art through their Open Access for Scholarly Content (OASC) initiative.

That basically means they are for educational use.

Below you can find out more about how to access the images and what can be accessed plus a neat reminder of what size an image needs to be to print it.

In keeping with the educational topic, I'm highlighting images relating to topics which have receeived in-depth study on this block - drawing, botanical art, John Singer Sargent and the ukiyo-e prints of Hokusai

John Singer Sargent
(American, Florence 1856–1925 London)
I love the scribble he uses for the leaves and flowers 
and wonderful to see a drawing associated with such a famous painting

What's OASC?

Lots of museums have an arrangement whereby high resolution images can be accessed and very often an image is charged - and the Met was one of the museums who did that.

Latterly there's been a move to make high res. images available for educational/non-commercial use.  Partly I guess because it's now relatively easy to spot the use of an image online (see How to do a reverse image search) so identifying commercial use becomes that much easier.

Here's the arrangements which have been developed by the Met - and what it replaced.
OASC was developed as a resource for students, educators, researchers, curators, academic publishers, non-commercial documentary filmmakers, and others involved in scholarly or cultural work. Prior to the establishment of OASC, the Metropolitan Museum provided images upon request, for a fee, and authorization was subject to terms and conditions.
The director commented
“Through this new, open-access policy, we join a growing number of museums that provide free access to images of art in the public domain. I am delighted that digital technology can open the doors to this trove of images from our encyclopedic collection.”
 Now all we need to see is more art galleries and museums following the trend!

Violets, Primroses and Other Spring Flowers
Kubo Shunman

Part of an album of woodblock prints (surimono); ink and color on paper
(Japanese, 1757–1820)
Quite unlike botanical art we're used to seeing from Japanese artists

What's included?

This is the link to the Collection Online.
(OASC) images associated with these artworks can be downloaded for license- and cost-free scholarly and academic publication, according to the Terms and Conditions.
The FAQs page provides a definition of what can be accessed via this new initiative.  It certainly isn't everything that can be seen on the website.
Works that are covered by the new policy are identified on the Museum’s website (http://www.metmuseum.org/collections) with the acronym OASC. (Certain works are not available through the initiative for one or more of the following reasons: the work is still under copyright, or the copyright status is unclear; privacy or publicity issues; the work is owned by a person or an institution other than the Metropolitan Museum; restrictions by the artist, donor, or lender; or lack of a digital image of suitable quality.)
Togetsu Bridge at Arashiyama in Yamashiro,
from the series Remarkable Views of Bridges in Various Provinces (Shokoku meiky┼Ź kiran)

Katsushika Hokusai 
(Japanese, Tokyo (Edo) 1760–1849 Tokyo (Edo))
one of my favourite artists for landscapes - Hokusai has a lot to teach about design and framing a landscape

What's scholarly?

There's a debate over on Hyperallergic about the copyright restriction which they claim over the images which have been released - see Metropolitan Museum of Art Releases 400,000 Images, with Restriction

Personally I find it most helpful to start with the Met's definition of what is NOT scholarly use
What is not scholarly content?Commercial use, publication, or distribution in any media or format is not scholarly content. Some examples include: commercially published general-interest books in print or electronic media; all products, merchandise, (including posters, calendars, notecards, datebooks, mugs, etc.), advertisements, or promotional materials for any services or products in any media format; feature films or documentaries funded by commercial organizations.
Essentially it means for non-commercial and educational use. I'm taking the view that this blog is very much focused on educational content for the development of artists. Plus I only ever publish online and all images become reduced  to low res. to make them compatible for a speedy load.

Plus you need to look for the icon below images in the Collection section of the website to identify images that are part of the OASC initiative.

The problem is that the Met provides a number of different criteria for how you can 'slice and dice' its collection but OASC is not one of them.  So I went for an artist that I thought might be accessible - John Singer Sargent - only to find no OASC icon.

I then tried a search using "john singer sargent oasc" - but that produced a "no records" result.

Bottom line you just have to persevere and eventually you start finding images with the OASC icon.

Determining the suitability of a digital image for reproduction in a print publication

This is a topic which has been occupying me much of late as I work through my archive of past images finding ones for inclusion in my book.

As a result I found the guidance offered by the Met to be invaluable. I'm sure others will feel likewise. It;'s not that this is original so much as it's once of the more succinct explanations I;ve come acrosss.

When determining the suitability of a digital image for reproduction in a print publication, there are several key factors to consider: resolution, pixel dimensions, and the intended size of the printed output. The following table provides some typical output sizes and the recommended dimensions for a publication-ready image at 150 ppi and 300 ppi—the most common resolutions for images available from the Museum's website.
Print Output Size
Pixel Dimensions
 8 x 10300 (ppi) 2400 x 3000
 150 (ppi) 1200 x 1500
 4 x 6 300 (ppi) 1200 x 1800
150 (ppi)600 x 900

Though some images available via Open Access for Scholarly Content (OASC) may not meet the above requirements, this does not necessarily preclude them from publication at smaller sizes. A useful formula in determining the maximum print size of any digital image is as follows:
Digital Image Print Size
Note that image resolution is only a factor in determining print output. For digital purposes, the pixel dimensions of an image are the only measurements that determine display size.

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