100,000 Images On A Single Disc

Posted on 12/3/1998 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)



December 3, 1998

The Bridgeman Art Library has produced a complete visual catalog of their

entire collection on a single CD-ROM disc. The disc showcases over 100,000

pictures and operates on either MAC or PC. This is not a DVD, but a CD!!

The preview images are about 200x200 pixels and store on the disc as JPG's

at about 5K each. The thumbnail is sampled down from this.

With most general photography the thumbnails would be too small to get much of

a sense of the content of the image. But, given the unique nature of the

Bridgeman collection the client is usually trying to determine if the library

has a specific title by a particular artist. They learn what they need to

know from the text, not the photo. The title or subject of the work and the

artists name appears beside each thumbnail. Up to eight thumbnails are

displayed at a time.

One interesting feature which makes the thumbnail little more than a spot of

color beside a text caption is the way the program handles vertical images.

Every thumbnail appears as a horizontal. The verticals are compressed top to

bottom so all the information fits the horizontal format. Thus, the thumbnail

of a full length painting of a svelte woman makes the woman look short and fat

as if she were standing in front of a fun house mirror. If the text doesn't

tell the user what they need to know, the thumbnail is of little help.

Searches are possible by title, artist, nationality of the artist, medium in

which the work was done, period, style and present location of the original

(museum, etc.). It is also possible to enter keywords such as rose, winter,

jealousy, happy, etc. While such keywords produce some hits, the keywording

is minimal and spotty. Some images have no keywords at all and the user is

urged to call Bridgeman's researchers if they don't find what they want.

The disc has a notepad function that allows the user to click on a thumbnail

and drag it to the notepad. The user can later review his notepad selections

and delete unwanted selections. Then it is possible to print out a fax for

with image numbers and descriptions, but not the images, which can be sent to

Bridgemen to request transparencies.

This disc is probably a useful tool for customers of fine art images. Its most

important contribution is that it gives the user

access to the entire collection, with the exception of new acquisitions. The

Bridgeman Art Library currently represents more than 750 collections and acts

as a central source for accessing high quality transparencies and

rights clearances for works of art from museums and private collections around

the world.

The disc is being sold for £65.

Bridgeman is planning to begin putting their entire collection on-line in the

spring of 1999, but this may take some time as they still have to clear permissions

from some of the galleries and agencies they represent to place images on-line.

With the disc, in cases where they did not have permission to put an image on the

disc they included the text description and a notice that the owner would not allow

the image to be displayed in this format. In this manner they let the user know

they can obtain an image of the particular subject without actually showing the


Bridgeman has also announced that The Visual Arts Library, London has just

merged its 25,000 image collection with Bridgeman, significantly augmenting

the 19th and 20th century art available at the combined library.

The Visual Arts Library collection is also especially well regarded for its

holding os works by French artists and its enviable range of contemporary art.

Copyright © 1998 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of www.selling-stock.com, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to: http://www.jimpickerell.com/Curriculum-Vitae.aspx.  


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