A beautiful example of open access – many thanks to LACMA for making so many AWESOME images available to the public.
Originally posted on Unframed The LACMA Blog:
Two years ago, we launched an experiment: an online image library where we made 2,000 high-resolution images of artworks that the museum deemed to be in the public domain available for download without any restrictions. This week, we’ve exceeded ourselves with the launch of our new collections website, giving away ten times the number of images we offered in the initial image library. Nearly 20,000 high-quality images of art from our collection are available to download and use as you see fit (that’s about a quarter of all the art represented on the site). Just look for the “download” option beneath the photo of the artwork. (If you want to see all of the public domain artworks in the collection, run a search and then select “Show only unrestricted images” at the top of the page.)
Why would a museum give away images of its art? As Michael Govan often says, it’s because our mission is to care for and share those works of art with the broadest possible public. The logical, radical extension of that is to open up our treasure trove of images. When we first launched our early experiment with giving images away online, we heard a resoundingly positive response from many quarters: school teachers, parents, graduate students, journalists and the occasional creative person interested in printing their own Mother’s Day cards. So far, we have yet to hear of a situation where one of our public domain artworks has been misused or abused.