Wednesday, February 18, 2009
“After Columbus: Four Hundred Years of Native American Portraiture”
Hosted by the New York Public Library, this digital collection showcases the history of Native American Portraiture through a set of photographs, studies, and paintings currently in the library’s possession. The collection is divided into 10 sub series, representing genre, form, or image origin.
The origins of the physical collection are discussed in the exhibit introduction. Dr. Wilberforce Eames, a former librarian and bibliographer with the NYPL purchased and donated a portion of the collection. Additionally, some funding came from J.P. Morgan. The online exhibit “draws upon” a physical exhibit presented in 1994, though it is not clear what the selection criteria were at that time, or in the present online exhibit.
The digital object presents advantages over the physical object. For example, the image can be resized, magnified, and rotated. Additionally, the object can be purchased as a print. One of the perceived weaknesses is the structure of the image-viewing tool. It is a bit clumsy. The zoom feature forces the object to refresh in order to be enlarged or reduced. The image cannot be “moved” smoothly, as any change must also be refreshed, which is time consuming. As such, the collection principle for supporting future and current use has not been observed, since this feature appears outdated compared to some other more sophisticated manipulations available in other digital collections. However, the quality of metadata will likely facilitate updates and future preservation of these digital objects, since they are well organized and easily retrievable.
The audience for the collection seems to be the general public.
Posted by Curious Georgette at 10:05 AM