Minerva College of Arts and Sciences
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Visual Resources Library

Digital Images

To meet the needs of today’s image users, the VRL has undertaken a major Image Database & Digitization project. This project will involve the development of a system to catalog its existing assets in a database, to digitize a prioritized portion of its slides, and to enable the searching of the image database over the Internet allowing authorized users to download images for their work.

In the meantime, the VRL aids users in locating digital images for teaching, learning, and research in three ways: by providing training in digital imaging, image processing/manipulation, and image presentation; by maintaining a list of sources of digital images for education (see below); and by operating a Digital Copystand Service (see below) for Art Department Faculty to add to the growing collection of digital images.

Sources of Digital Images for Arts Education

While the Internet provides access to a wide variety of images, these images may be of unknown copyright status and of poor quality. In addition to fee-based image providers, a number of web-based collections offer free digital images for educational use. Please click here to access a printer-friendly list of the some of the more prominent digital image resources for art, art history, and architecture. An overview of the subscription databases for digital images available to the University at Albany community is also provided. Keep in mind that many museums and galleries are developing web-based databases that can be an important source of digital images for educational use.

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Digital Copystand Service

In place of its former photographic copystand program, the VRL now offers a digital copystand service to Art History faculty. Digital images will be produced in accordance with the following guidelines:
  • Images must be worth adding to the permanent digital collection:
    • Duplicates of images already in the digital collection will not be produced.
    • Source slides must be in adequate condition for scanning in terms of color, physical condition (scratches, dust, etc.), and contrast.
    • For print sources, the color should be accurate and the image should be sharp and an adequate size for reproduction (4" by 5" or larger). The image should not be split between two pages; “gutter shots” are difficult to scan and produce poor quality images.
  • The request form must be completed thoroughly to enable accurate image cataloging.
  • Copyright law must be observed. Digital images will be produced in accordance with the fair use guidelines of the 1976 copyright law and will be used for educational purposes only. This means that digital images will only be used for classroom presentation or study purposes. Any digital images posted on the Internet (including on course websites or on PowerPoint presentations hosted on a website) must be password protected. For more information, please see the VRL’s Copyright Policy.
  • The digital images will become the property of the VRL’s digital collection and will be catalogued and stored accordingly. If faculty members wish to have their personal slides scanned, they must allow the digital images to become part of the VRL’s collection which will be shared with others in the University at Albany teaching, learning, and research communities.
  • Requests for digital copystand work must be received two weeks before the images are needed.
  • Each faculty member can request no more than 10 images per week.
  • For each image, a high quality digital image (TIFF) will be produced. The image will be minimally processed (cropped, minor corrective measures, etc.) and a derivative JPEG file will be created.
  • Digital images will be delivered via the networked storage space for the Art Department.

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Visual Resource Library
Department of Art
College of Arts and Sciences
Fine Arts 121
1400 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12222


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