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Subject: AMICO och ArtSTOR slås samman
From: Mattias Brundell <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:BIBLIST - Topics in Nordic research library user services <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Wed, 11 Jun 2003 11:52:39 +0000

text/plain (192 lines)

Hej! För de som intresserar sig för utvecklingen när det gäller
bilddatabaser inom ABM-området, vidarebefordrar jag en notis ur SCHOLARLY
June 9, 2003, som igår skickades till den internationella museilistan
H-MUSEUM. Där informeras om den förestående sammanslagningen av AMICO och
ArtSTOR. Jag rekommenderar även läsning av den intressanta artikel i NewYork
Times, som det hänvisas till i meddelandet. Eftersom tillgången till denna
tidnings artiklar kräver ett särskilt registreringsförfarande, har jag
kopierat in texten i dess helhet efter nedan återgivna meddelande.

Hälsningar, Mattias Brundell
               Tekniska museet
                Box 27842
                115 93  STOCKHOLM

PS. När det gäller ArtSTOR, skickade jag ett meddelande till BIBLIST och
SWEDEN-L den 17/4 -01 (Ämne: ArtSTOR) där jag presenterade detta projekt i
samband med dess lansering. Det finns tillgängligt på:  DS

>From: "H-Museum [Conner]" <[log in to unmask]>
>Reply-To: H-Net Network for Museum Professionals <[log in to unmask]>
>To: [log in to unmask]
>Subject: WWW: Digital Art-Art Museum Image Consortium
>Date: Tue, 10 Jun 2003 22:41:54 -0500
>XPOST: University Library <[log in to unmask]>
>Subject:     Art Museum Image Consortium
>Date:         Mon, 9 Jun 2003
>Issue No. 45
>June 9, 2003
>Paula Kaufman, University Librarian
>The Amico Library, which is an Internet archive with digital copies of more
>than 100,000 paintings, sculptures, and photographs, was created through a
>collaboration of 39 museums (from the well-known, such as the Metropolitan
>Museum of Art in New York, to the less well-known, such as the Newark
>Museum. Amico is an acronym for Art Museum Image Consortium
>(, a nonprofit venture that has become almost
>self-sufficient since its founding in 1999, and has a current annual budget
>of $750,000. This month Amico's board of trustees voted to accept an
>invitation to merge with Artstor (, a nonprofit venture
>supported by the Andrew Mellon Foundation. The two organizations, when
>merged, will be under ArtStor's direction. (New York Times 22 May 2003)
>ShelfLife, No. 109 (June 5 2003)
>H-Net Network for Museum Professionals
>E -Mail: [log in to unmask]


Far-Flung Artworks, Side by Side Online, artikel av Matthew Mirapaul
publicerad i The New York Times den 22/5 -03

IFT shops and poster stores often claim to sell "museum-quality
reproductions" of important artworks. But the Amico Library, an Internet
archive with digital copies of more than 100,000 paintings, sculptures and
photographs, can use the phrase without fear of contradiction. The online
library is the result of an unusual collaboration of 39 museums, from
goliaths like the Metropolitan Museum of Art to smaller institutions like
the Newark Museum, that supply the library with images far more vivid and
detailed than those typically found on the Web.

As members of the Art Museum Image Consortium, or Amico, the museums are
responsible for stocking the library with high-resolution digital duplicates
of artworks from their permanent collections. Although anyone visiting the
library's site (www can search a database of thumbnail-size
images and brief catalog descriptions, only educational subscribers have
access to larger, more detailed images and the most up-to-date curatorial
documentation. Some images are even accompanied by explanatory audio or
video clips.

Andrew E. Hershberger, an assistant professor of art history at Bowling
Green State University in Ohio, is so enthusiastic about the library's image
quality that he now illustrates his lectures with Amico reproductions rather
than with color slides. He is also impressed by the breadth of the holdings.
"You could write your dissertation on Edward Weston using Amico - it's that
powerful," he said, noting that the site had more than 1,000 images of
Weston photographs.

Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of Amico, though, is that the nonprofit
venture is almost self-sufficient. During the dot-com boom, many museums
considered entrepreneurial ventures in which the Internet could be used to
generate income. Few, if any, succeeded. But Amico, online since 1999, has
already enrolled 285 colleges and universities as subscribers, as well as
hundreds of public libraries and middle and high schools. With an annual
budget of $750,000, Amico plans to break even this year, an executive said,
and may abolish dues for museums in the near future.

Now, like a painting whose surging value has caught the eye of a wealthy
collector, Amico has attracted a deep-pocketed suitor in ARTstor
(, a nonprofit venture that plans to build its own database
of digitized artworks and is supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

This month Amico board members voted to accept an ARTstor proposal that
would merge the two institutions under ARTstor's direction. How the two
initiatives will be combined is still being worked out, but James L.
Shulman, the executive director of ARTstor, said, "We have zero interest in
making Amico go away."

Collaborations as broad as Amico are rare among museums. Maxwell L.
Anderson, an early Amico proponent who said last week that he would step
down as the director of the Whitney Museum of American Art, said that some
museums had at first resisted the notion of creating a common resource.
"Nothing was more terrifying than the prospect of invidious comparisons of
one museum's Impressionist holdings with another's," he said.

But Jennifer Trant, Amico's executive director, said many museums also
grasped that the opportunity to compare far-flung works while staying in one
place would be valuable to art teachers, students and scholars. "As much as
you want somebody to study your collection, those works get their meaning
from context, and context is provided by other works in other collections,"
she said.

So the archive can become more comprehensive, the museums taking part,
mostly in North America, must contribute at least 500 images apiece from
their collections each year.

For museums, there are many benefits to joining Amico. The Internet provides
an efficient way of sharing information on a collection when tight budgets
prevent the production of expensive printed catalogs. When permission is
needed from copyright holders to reproduce images, Amico can negotiate
better group rates from art-licensing organizations than a single museum
might. By limiting access to educational subscribers, museums can also
control - in theory, anyway - how widely their treasures are dispersed
across the Internet.

Still, there are holdouts. The Museum of Modern Art, for instance, is
conspicuously absent from the Amico roster. Glenn D. Lowry, the Modern's
director, said the museum remained committed to digitizing its collection
and was completing that work on its painting and sculpture holdings. He said
the Modern had yet to decide whether it would distribute digital images of
its overall collection on its own, through Amico, or any other network,
including ARTstor.

With the Internet in such an early stage of its development, he said, "We're
in no rush to be involved in any network until we have a real sense of what
it is we want to accomplish."

Before the merger proposal, Amico had been facing a formidable competitor in
ARTstor. ARTstor is supported by a $5 million grant from the Mellon
Foundation, which has already spent $7 million beyond that for digital
reconstructions of Chinese murals and $1.5 million to digitize the Modern's
architecture and design collection.

How the Amico merger will affect ARTstor's plans remains to be determined.
Mr. Shulman said that the testing of ARTstor at 12 universities and museums
was still scheduled to start this fall.

In contrast to Amico's museum-only holdings, he said, ARTstor will offer
images from diverse sources, including slide libraries and reference works.
"They have the most up-to-date curatorial input on the object," Mr. Shulman
said of Amico, "and we won't in a lot of cases."

"With something like an image gallery of teaching slides, we'll be able to
serve certain user needs," he added.

But some overlap seems inevitable, and Ms. Trant said her subscribers were
concerned about the need to subscribe to both archives. " 'Do we have to buy
both of these?' is always the first question," she said.

Whether schools and libraries, as cash-strapped as museums these days, can
afford to subscribe to one archive, let alone two, remains an open question.
Amico's annual fees for institutions of higher learning are $750 to $10,000,
depending on their size, and about $200 for lower schools.

For Neme Alperstein, a teacher at Public School 56 in Richmond Hill, Queens,
it is money well spent. Her fifth-grade students use classroom computers to
access the Amico Library for a variety of research projects. They prepared
for a recent museum field trip by searching the database for artworks by
Picasso and Matisse. Her pupils have also explored works by Frida Kahlo and
Diego Rivera for a social-studies segment on Latin America, and war images
for a study of the Vietnam War.

"Children are visual; they respond to art," Ms. Alperstein said. "And heaven
forfend it should be just plain fun, right?"

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