Digital Libraries


A digital library, digital repository, or digital collection, is an online database of digital objects including text, still images, audio, video, and/or other digital media formats. Objects can consist of digitized versions of originally analogue artefacts (e.g. books, prints, or photographs), as well as of originally produced digital content. In addition to storing content, digital libraries provide means for organizing, searching, and retrieving the content contained in the collection.

Obviously a broad range of digital libraries of various size, ranges, focuses and qualities are available on the internet today, not least the omnipresent Wikipedia and its subsidiaries (e.g. WikiMedia) – often shunnned by academics, yet indispensable nonetheless.

Guggenheim Museum
The Guggenheim Museum and Foundation (New York, USA) now offers 200 of its exhibition catalogues for free download, the majority either about the Peggy Guggenheim Collection or modernist art.

A very comprehensive overview of available digital libraries specifically for the arts – often initiated and/or curated by artists – can be found at Monoskop, a digital library itself, operated from Budapest, Hungary.

UbuWeb is a large web-based educational resource for avant-garde material available on the internet, founded in 1996 by poet Kenneth Goldsmith. It offers visual, concrete and sound poetry, expanding to include film and sound art mp3 archives.

Wellcome Collection
The Wellcome Collection, run by the Wellcome Trust in London, UK, offers free online access to its collections and library that aim to explore the connections between science, medicine, life and art.

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Peter Benz

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