Yale's big, beautiful online world

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Last week Yale University launched the first wave of its new website database, which will digitize its museum and library collections, making its holdings in both free to browse online.

This is no small feat, according to Steve Delahoyde on mediabistro.com, as Yale's Peabody Museum of Natural History is comprised of 12 million objects alone. And there are millions of other works in other sectors at the school. As of yet, 250,000 images and 1.5 million records have been uploaded, along with the database mainframe, which is incredibly easy to navigate and fool around in.

What Yale is doing is really remarkable, given that this project is being done for the good of its students and faculty, as well as outside researchers and the general public. Many museums are stingy about putting their collections online, and Yale's amazing holdings are up there with the best of them.

At Yale, you'll find manuscripts from Mozart, Picassos including the insanely cute "First Steps" (shown), Japanese woodblock prints by masters like Hiroshige, Hokusai and Utamaro (shown) and — wait for it — notes from the father of taxonomy, Carl Linnaeus (also shown).

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Linnaeus, you should know, had a fabulous traveling diary, in which he recounted his adventures in botany. These travels for plants weren't dull; they included first-hand accounts of a terrifying maelstrom off the coast of Norway and stumbling upon decapitated criminals in the Swedish countryside.

Sadly, the images aren't all very large, but the site does include great author pages, like Linnaeus'.

For more information, click here.

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