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Posted 12 October 2010

UCD image archive of Dublin’s architecture takes pride of place in global digital library

Hundreds of images of Dublin’s architecture, ranging from the medieval to the early modern period, will be made available to educators, scholars and researchers across the world under a new agreement between the UCD School of Art History and Cultural Policy and ARTstor.

ARTstor is a digital library of more than one million images in the areas of art, architecture, the humanities, and social sciences with a set of tools to view, present, and manage images for research and pedagogical purposes. The digital library is used by educators, scholars, and students at a variety of institutions including universities, colleges, museums, public libraries, and schools.

Pictured rar right: 18th century Ceiling plasterwork by Barthelemij Cramillion from the Rotunda Hospital Chapel

“There are over 600 images in the UCD collection including images of many of Dublin’s major civic and ecclesiastical buildings,” says Professor Kathleen James-Chakraborty from the UCD School of Art History and Cultural Policy.

“It also includes images of exteriors, interiors, and decorative details of individual buildings from major architects like Sir William Chambers and James Gandon, and images of streetscapes and the built environment.”

“Together the images provide valuable documentation of the historic and ongoing changes to the urban fabric of Dublin, whether through development, demolition, or conservation,” explains Professor James-Chakraborty.

The collection, which will be available on ARTstor in 2011, is drawn from the UCD School of Art History and Cultural Policy’s extensive collection of 35mm slides - 200 images were digitised as part of the UCD Irish Virtual Research Library and Archive (IVRLA) project.

Irish university scholars access ARTstor through the Irish Research Electronic Library initiative developed by the Irish University Associations (IUA) Librarians’ Group. The initiative, jointly funded by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and the Higher Education Authority (HEA), aims to significantly increase the availability of a wide range electronic journal services to Irish university libraries.

Founded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, ARTstor is a non-profit initiative with a mission to use digital technology to enhance scholarship, teaching, and learning in the arts and associated fields.

In the late 1990s, alongside partners in China, France, the UK, and the US, ARTstor set out to build the Mellon International Dunhuang Archive — a digital repository of extraordinary, high-resolution images from 40 cave grottoes in the Gobi desert (one of the largest Buddhist art sites in the world), along with images of silk banners and manuscripts from the caves brought to western Europe by English and French explorers at the turn of the 20th century.

Although the project presented many challenges, it was a resounding success and demonstrated an ability to preserve objects in peril, to reunite for study in one location works of art previously scattered around the world, and to join people across geographical and cultural divides.

Dozens of collections from a wide variety of cultures across all major time periods have followed, including a collection of 190,000 old master drawings originally photographed at over 100 different repositories, 20 years of contemporary New York City gallery shows, archives of Islamic textiles, the restored Ghiberti "Gates of Paradise," African masks, medieval manuscripts, images of all exhibitions shown at MoMA, and many others.

You may only access and use the ARTstor Digital Library and any content in the Library, for educational and scholarly uses that are noncommercial in nature. Commercial uses are strictly prohibited.


(Produced by UCD University Relations)


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18th century Ceiling plasterwork by Barthelemij Cramillion from the Rotunda Hospital Chapel
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