Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Photography Collection at MoMA

Photography is one of the MoMA’s The Collection. MoMA began to collect photographs in 1930. The Photography department which currently holds approximately 25,000 works dating back to 1840 was established in 1940. As the most diverse collection in the world, it embraces not only the photographs took by artists but also the works by journalists, scientists and amateurs.
So far, the online collection allows users to browse all the 25,303 works by 5,174 artists. There are four ways to sort the works which are by date earliest first; date latest first; alphabetically by title; alphabetical by artist. It’s pretty user-friendly. User could start the browse and view the images as thumbnails, slideshow, list or single object. Or search works by artist, work or keyword.
For each individual work, there is a metadata pop up window to go along with. Besides the title, artist, date, and scale information, there is catalog number and related links through which, users might take further research or browse by artist, department or classification. Comparing to previous online digital databases that I have done, I found the Search Filters within this database are useful, especially for random search. What's more there are several language options. If it provides the visual location of the works like what does the Musee de louvre do, it would be better.
All the images of the works are well protected. Images could not be zoomed in, scrolled through however users might require reproducing works from MoMa. The Permission Office of the Department of Imaging Service is responsible for the dissemination and licensing of images of the works.

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