Enfilade

Applause for NGA’s Open Access Policy for Images

Posted in museums by Editor on March 19, 2012

This open access announcement from the National Gallery of Art, in Washington, D.C., is, to my thinking, fabulous news! How exciting (and refreshing) to hear the museum articulate the policy in terms of the public good: “The Gallery’s open access policy is a natural extension of its mission to serve the United States of America by preserving, collecting, exhibiting, and fostering the understanding of works of art at the highest possible museum and scholarly standards.” Bravo! In addition to making the images available via open access, the museum provides a useful interface complete with lightbox and intuitive links for finding more information about particular images. -CH

National Gallery press release (16 March 2012) . . .

Antoine Watteau, The Italian Comedians, ca. 1720
Washington, D.C., National Gallery, Kress Collection, 1946.7.9

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The National Gallery of Art announces the launch today of NGA Images, a new online resource that revolutionizes the way the public may interact with its world-class collection at http://images.nga.gov. This repository of digital images documenting the National Gallery of Art collections allows users to search, browse, share, and download images believed to be in the public domain.

“As the Gallery marks its 71st anniversary, it is fitting that we introduce NGA Images and an accompanying open access policy, which underscore the Gallery’s mission and national role in making its collection images and information available to scholars, educators, and the general public,” said Earl A. Powell III, director, National Gallery of Art. “In turn this supports research, teaching, and personal enrichment; promotes interdisciplinary research; and nurtures an appreciation of all that inspires great works of art.”

Many of the open access images have been digitized with the generous support of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation.

Designed by Gallery experts to facilitate learning, enrichment, enjoyment, and exploration, NGA Images features more than 20,000 open access digital images, up to 3,000 pixels each, available free of charge for download and use. The resource is easily accessible through the Gallery’s website, and a standards-based reproduction guide and a help section provide advice for both novices and experts. Users may search by keyword in the Quick Search box on the home page of NGA Images, or they may browse the regularly updated “featured” image collections prepared by Gallery staff on topics such as 19th-century French art or frequently requested works. Other features for users include the ability to create one or more “lightboxes,” or images sets, and to save, share, and download multiple images at a time. Users may add individual labels and notes to their lightboxes or to images within them. Links to users’ customized lightboxes may be shared via e-mail or may be copied and pasted to social media sites.

Users may freely browse the NGA Images website and download screen- and lecture-size images without registering an account. Registration is required to use certain features of the NGA Images website, including saving and sharing lightboxes and e-mailing image links to others. Additionally, registration is required to fulfill certain image requests including direct downloads of reproduction-ready images.

With the launch of NGA Images, the National Gallery of Art implements an open access policy for digital images of works of art that the Gallery believes to be in the public domain (those not subject to copyright protection). Under the open access policy, users may download any of these images free of charge and without seeking authorization from the Gallery for any use, commercial or non-commercial. The Gallery’s open access policy is a natural extension of its mission to serve the United States of America by preserving, collecting, exhibiting, and fostering the understanding of works of art at the highest possible museum and scholarly standards. In applying the policy in a global digital environment, the Gallery also expands and enhances its educational and scholarly outreach. The Gallery believes that increased access to high-quality images of its works of art fuels knowledge, scholarship, and innovation, inspiring uses that continually transform the way we see and understand the world of art.

View the full Open Access Policy at http://images.nga.gov/openaccess.