November 30, 2020

Open Access! "Digital Images of Yale’s Vast Cultural Collections Now Available for Free"

Over 250,000 images already online!

From a Yale Daily Bulletin:

Scholars, artists and other individuals around the world will enjoy free access to online images of millions of objects housed in Yale’s museums, archives, and libraries thanks to a new “Open Access” policy that the University announced today. Yale is the first Ivy League university to make its collections accessible in this fashion, and already more than 250,000 images are available through a newly developed collective catalog.

The goal of the new policy is to make high quality digital images of Yale’s vast cultural heritage collections in the public domain openly and freely available.

As works in these collections become digitized, the museums and libraries will make those images that are in the public domain freely accessible. In a departure from established convention, no license will be required for the transmission of the images and no limitations will be imposed on their use. The result is that scholars, artists, students, and citizens the world over will be able to use these collections for study, publication, teaching and inspiration.

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The Yale treasures that are now accessible under the new policy are as wide-ranging as the collections themselves and include such diverse items as the war bonnet of Sioux chief “Red Cloud” from the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, a Mozart sonata in the composer’s own hand from the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, a 15th-century Javanese gold kris handle from the Indo-Pacific collection of Yale University Art Gallery and a watercolor by William Blake from the collection of prints and drawings in the Yale Center for British Art.

“The open access policy allows us to more fully harness the potential of digital and networked technologies in service to scholarship as well as to creative use and reuse of our rich cultural heritage. It frees us to concentrate on our core mission to create, preserve, and disseminate knowledge in digital form,” said Meg Bellinger, director of the Yale Office of Digital Assets and Infrastructure (ODAI), which developed and will support the implementation of the initiative.

The collections that are held within Yale’s museums, archives, and libraries are among the strongest in depth and breadth of any academic institution in the world. The collections of the Peabody Museum of Natural History encompass over 12 million specimens and objects in 11 curatorial divisions, from anthropology to vertebrate zoology. The Yale University Art Gallery and the Yale Center for British Art hold world-renowned art collections from antiquity to the present. The University is also home to the world’s seventh largest library system, with over 10 million volumes and countless manuscripts and documents in 18 libraries, including Sterling Memorial Library and the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.

Search, Find, and Access Images Using the Cross Collection Discovery (CCD)

Read the Complete Announcement

Take a Look at a Sampling of Images from Various Yale Digital CollectionsL

Lean About the Yale Office of Digital Assets and Infrastructure

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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