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  1. #1
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    How many of you still use your picture swipe files?

    I was just putting away a file of pictures from my picture swipe file. I never even looked through it since I found good reference for what I needed on Google & Yahoo's image search. Over the years, I probably clipped & filed over 10,000 pictures with the idea that they might be useful reference one day. I have not put them to much use in a long time since searching by keyword online is often much faster.

    Here in Connecticut, the Westport Library has an amazing image file for artists. The late Albert Dorne, illustrator, first president of the Famous Artist Schools and a resident of the town left his very sizable picture file to the library in his will in the mid 60's. It has since grown in size as other illustrators made similar posthumous gifts and scores of volunteers clipped & filed pictures over the years. Their collection is easilly over 500,000 images. I recently learned that the Library is debating dismantling the collection since it is rarely used any more, due most likely to the ease of online image searches.

    I find the loss of such a resource staggering but can't come up with an argument to defend its continued existence, especially since I haven't used it in a while.

    So how many of you still use your picture swipe files?
    Mark Hannon
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  3. #2
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    I personally don't, however I do keep far too many National Geographics under this pretense.

    I would suggest holding onto them for the day that internet and western civilization collapses. You will be prepared my friend, while the rest of those... those less prepared artists die off for lack of references!

    Or something.

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  4. #3
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    I keep stacking so that im prepared for the day that i dont have internet, and REALLY REALLY need some reference.

  5. #4
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    I just kept the porn, and pitched the rest. Google!

  6. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by figure2
    Their collection is easilly over 500,000 images. I recently learned that the Library is debating dismantling the collection since it is rarely used any more, due most likely to the ease of online image searches.

    I find the loss of such a resource staggering but can't come up with an argument to defend its continued existence, especially since I haven't used it in a while.
    they should do the exact opposite: put that collection online as a searchable database. im sure it would be very very much appreciated and used. the possibilities of image searches are great but people still go to dedicated image sites like corbis, getty and the new adobe gallery. not only for stock photos but also for reference. same thing for sites with human body reference.

    there is stuff out there but it would be great if their collection could be the first dedicated online reference database for illustrators. focussing not on stock-photo but on good quality reference. the 500.000 is a nice start i would say. get it scanned amazon-stylo (they could out-source it)
    and then have people adding to it by using the wikipedia model.

    tensai

  7. #6
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    tensai,

    This is a wonderful idea and in a perfect world it would happen.

    Keep in mind that the Westport Library is a public library for the community and their picture file serves only a very small group. I am doubtful that the library could afford to give up the server space that would be necessary to house this many images. Outsourcing the scanning of 500,000 images would come at a steep expense and I doubt most public libraries could afford it.

    I believe that if the library could digitize their picture collection they could probably offer paid subscriptions to log in and use it but I honestly think the chances of this happening are slim.

    However if you have some ideas that you think might persuade them, here is their web site. Contact them and offer your suggestions.
    Mark Hannon
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  8. #7
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    figure, i had no idea something that awesome was so close to home. I live like 20 minutes from that libary, along with FarIL, OriginalJizzle, and Kathole. I say we talk to em and help them out. If they need it moved somewhere else, or if they decide to scan them all and throw it online (as unlikely as it is) we should definaetly give them a hand.

  9. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Advocate of Fate
    I say we talk to em and help them out. If they need it moved somewhere else, or if they decide to scan them all and throw it online (as unlikely as it is) we should definaetly give them a hand.
    Dude,

    Public libraries operate on shoestring budgets so they live & breathe on volunteer help. If you feel strongly enough, call them, email them or better yet, just drive there and offer your proposal & help. If they like your idea and you get something going with it I'll offer what help I can.

    I don't think the Westport Library's picture file is in any iminent danger but last time I checked pictures out which was around January of this year, the librarian told me that discussions were going on about what to do about the picture collection. I have never made a full count but based on memory I think the collection is housed in between 60 - 75 file cabnets, maybe more. That takes up a lot of space so if it isn't being used, eventually they will want that space for other resources.
    Mark Hannon
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  10. #9
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    i think going out there and talking to somebody about it might be good. i wasnt thinking they should provide the bandwidth and server space themselves. they could hook up with another institute, commercial or non-commercial ('google reference' or gnomon, society of illustrators, CA, CGNetworks, Wiki, Corel, whatever).

    about digitzing: you know what the average salary in India is? me neither, but a lot of these tasks are outsourced, maybe that would be an idea?

    i guess it depends a bit on how active/creative these people are with setting up a difficult project. i have no idea what kind of place/city it is you guys live in... if they dont want to deal with all the hazzle, they should at least offer it to some other institute. (like a society of illustrators).

    also talking to them about this might not get to a online ref database but at least they might actually keep all that stuff instead of getting rid of it. i would at least take the opportunity to get them enthusiastic about setting up the first dedicated online reference database for illustrators in the world though. i mean, i understand the reality and that its difficult, but the good thing about things being difficult is that they are still possible... so i say make them interested first, and then think about problems and solutions with them.

    (by the way, i checked the site of the library and they actually do have external links to some image database. but again, its not reference.).

    (edit: better outsource to china or romania or something, india appears to be booming!)

    tensai
    Last edited by tensai; August 31st, 2005 at 05:46 AM.

  11. #10
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    tensai,

    You actually have a germ of an idea in your post which is to talk to the library about partnering up with another organization. Of the ones you listed, The Society of Illustrators would probably be a good choice since the Library's picture collection was started by Albert Dorne, an important American Illustrator. For this reason alone, The SOI might want to work with the Westport Library at some kind of preservation of the collection.

    While you are correct about the cost of labor in India and throughout Asia, you have to get the source material over there. The cost of shipping the tremendous weight of all of that paper overseas would be prohibitive.

    Another sticky issue could be the large volume of magazine clippings in the collection. If these images were to be scanned, put on a server and offered for paid subscriptions by the library or other organization, this would be a clear violation of copyright law.

    There are a lot of issues to be dealt with in this kind of preservation effort. Whomever chooses to try to preserve the collection as a digital image database, it will require some very creative problem-solving.
    Mark Hannon
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  12. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by figure2
    tensai,
    You actually have a germ of an idea in your post which is to talk to the library about partnering up with another organization.
    glad you like it.

    Quote Originally Posted by figure2
    There are a lot of issues to be dealt with in this kind of preservation effort.
    yeah i know. but while its good to think about it in advance, dont let that kill any enthusiasm or effort to contact the library and perhaps the SOI.

    glad you brought this all up. i hope somebody does something...

    have fun,

    tensai

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