At my other blog a while back, we were talking about online research, and the astonishing things that are available online. And it seems Tristram Hunt’s position on the subject got more than one person’s dander up.
Writing in the New York Times, journalist James Gleick mentions Hunt’s snit, and says, “It’s a mistake to deprecate digital images just because they are suddenly everywhere, reproduced so effortlessly. We’re in the habit of associating value with scarcity, but the digital world unlinks them.”
A discussion of that statement is a whole other blog post, but for now you can read what Gleick thinks here. He says the old relics—like this copy of Magna Carta—are only talismans: “The real Magna Carta, the great charter of human rights and liberty, is available free online, where it is safely preserved. It cannot be lost or destroyed.” (To which I would add, sir, the real Magna Carta exists not on paper or online, but in our hearts.)
Want to know about some of the beautiful things you can see up close these days? Check these out:
- The Ghent altarpiece in 100 billion pixels at the Medievalists dot net
- Early printed books, Greek manuscripts, Hebrew manuscript at the Polonosky Foundation
- The British Museum offers medium resolution images of more than 3.5 million objects
- New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art has 400K high-res images online (this article offers links to other museums too)
- Trinity College Dublin has the Book of Kells online
- The Getty Museum has made more than 250 fine art books available for browsing or download (several good links in this article from Open Culture)
I’m sure there’s more—so do let me know in the comments.