Davison Art Center, Wesleyan University

About DAC Collection Search: Open Content

The Davison Art Center freely shares high-resolution images of collection objects which are themselves free of copyright, as well as cataloging metadata for virtually all DAC collection objects. As one means of serving the DAC's educational mission, this digital sharing of open content is a strategic complement to more traditional modes of educational access to the collection.

DAC Open Access Images

Since 2012, the DAC has provided growing numbers of images under the DAC Open Access Images policy. These images may be freely discovered via DAC Collection Search, which offers downloadable images representing (to date) more than 6,000 objects: chiefly European prints from the 16th through 19th centuries, American prints before ca. 1900, Japanese woodcuts, early photographs, and certain other works.

Each DAC Open Access Image is provided in two versions:

  • A publication-quality TIFF (4,096 pixels long dimension)
  • A presentation-ready JPEG (1,024 pixels long dimension)

These images may be downloaded directly from the DAC Collection Search page for any object for which they are available; when they are, a "DAC Open Access Images" box with image links appears on the page. They may be freely used in accordance with the DAC Open Access Images policy.

DAC Open Metadata

DAC cataloging metadata may be freely downloaded from the "Caption & Metadata" box on DAC Collection Search pages. Metadata is provided in two forms: structured LIDO XML and a basic, human-readable text caption in English. This metadata is provided under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal (public domain dedication) license, which makes object metadata as useful as possible for projects that work across multiple collections.

DAC Open Content Documents

People using open content from the DAC may be interested in four downloadable PDF reference documents. The latter two below are relatively technical in nature, and may be of interest chiefly to people engaged in large-scale, systematic use of DAC images.

In addition to these documents, the DAC website has general information about the museum standards and guidelines that inform our strategy for developing digital collections and our cataloging practice, and about DAC digital initiatives. A guest post on the blog When the Data Hits the Fan touches on some aspects of our strategy for offering open digital content from a small university museum.

DAC Open Content in Use

Many DAC Open Access Images are also widely discoverable and usable in Google Arts & Culture (accessible to all) and the Artstor Digital Library (accessible to licensed Artstor users). The Davison Art Center, Wesleyan University is a museum content contributor to both of those image aggregators. All DAC Open Access Images discoverable via those resources are also available here in DAC Collection Search, where they appear more quickly after digitization.

DAC open images and metadata have figured in such projects as Display At Your Own Risk (DAYOR), which considered "the meaning of concepts such as access, transparency and user engagement in an age" when "digital collections are becoming increasingly relevant," and in various print and online publications. Events such as the Coding Dürer International Hackathon for Art History freely use DAC open content as a data source for digital art history and other digital humanities research. We look forward to seeing new uses of this content out in the world!

Technical Note on System Access and Timing

If you plan to use open content from the DAC in real time, please note that on occasion DAC Collection Search may be briefly offline for updates and improvements (typically for periods of several minutes between 5:00 and 7:00 PM Eastern time). This can affect access to the search interface, object pages, LIDO metadata generation, and any other URL that begins with dac-collection.wesleyan.edu; it does not affect the download of DAC Open Access Images or any other files via URLs that begin with www.wesleyan.edu/dac/open.

Featured Image Groups

Image from Rembrandt holdings
All Rembrandt Holdings

Image from Durer holdings
All Dürer with Images

Image from Faust

Image from Los Caprichos
Los Caprichos

Image from Metamorphoses