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Victoria&Albert museum conclusion

During the first year of the fee-free image service there has been “no collapse in the finances of the Picture Library;indeed, the results of providing images without charge for scholarly publishing have been completely neutral with regard to the bottom line.” Only about twentypeople have downloaded as many as two hundred images during the year, which is well within the terms and conditions of use established by the museum.

In the future, upgrades to the web application will enable the museum to track the download frequency of individualimages and to study, over time, the way in which this growing body of images is used. “We care about branding; if people see our content online and realize theV&A is a great place to visit, we win.”

Smithsonian institution: delivering images through the commons on flickr

[NOTE: This case study is based on a document prepared by the Smithsonian Institution and sent to the author in October 2008,and a telephone conference on October 9, 2008, with Anne Van Camp, Archivist, Smithsonian Institution, and Katherine Spiess, Director, Central DigitizationOffice.]

In June 2008, the Smithsonian Institution Smithsonian Institution: (External Link) . released nine hundred public domain images in The Commons on Flickr. The Commons on Flickr was launched on January 16, 2008, as a pilot project with the Library of Congress. The announcement explained, “Thereare two main aims to The Commons project, starting with the pilot: firstly, to increase exposure to the amazing content currently held in the publiccollections of civic institutions around the world, and secondly, to facilitate the collection of general knowledge about these collections, with the hope thatthis information can feed back into the catalogs, making them richer and easier to search.” (External Link) . Information about the public collections currently available in The Commons is available at: (External Link) . By November 2008, the number had grown to over two thousand. The images vary infile size, but the largest are suitable for publication. How and why did the Smithsonian Institution decide to become a member of Flickr, a popular andcommercial photo-sharing website? Does The Commons provide a viable delivery mechanism of images for scholarly publication?


The Smithsonian Institution (SI) is a federated institution comprised of nineteen museums, nine research centers, andthe National Zoo, all of which have photographic holdings in digital and analog formats. The estimated thirteen million images in the Smithsonian photographiccollections have historic, artistic, and scientific import. They also document the history of photographic processes and techniques.

One strategic goal of the SI is to unite the collections virtually in a digital asset management system. A pan-institutionalassessment of photographic holdings is needed to establish collection priorities and determine the resources needed to undertake a unified, large-scaledigitization, cataloging, and access program. In the absence of such an assessment, the individual SI units have developedseparate websites to present whatever fraction of their photographic collections have been digitized andcataloged in sufficient depth to support discovery and research.

Questions & Answers

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Source:  OpenStax, Art museum images in scholarly publishing. OpenStax CNX. Jul 08, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10728/1.1
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