Getty extends digitization programme – and commitment to Open Content

This week the Getty Research Institute announced the availability of 5,400  high resolution digitizations from its collection “with more to come”. The total number of images available via the Open Content programme now exceeds 10,000. As well as artworks, Getty is extending the programme to include:

other material critical to the study of art history, including artists’ books and letters, stockbooks of famous art dealers, documentary photographs of art and monuments in situ from around the world, important historical treatises, and archives of famous artists, photographers, and collectors.

The ‘democratization’ effect of technology (recently voiced by Saatchi Online in relation to its online sales platform for artists) is emphasized by Getty Research Institute’s Deputy Director Andrew Perchuk, both in terms of access, but more importantly Getty’s innovative open license:

Today, access is increasingly taking digital form. This has led to a tremendous democratization of scholarship, as more and more people without the means or opportunity for far-flung travel can engage in primary research.

We hope the Open Content Program will accelerate this democratization process, enabling not only scholars but also students, artists, designers, and anyone who is interested to work with rare materials to produce new artworks, designs, and erudition that extend beyond the confines of the academy and the museum.

[Image: Workshop of Peter Paul Rubens (Flemish, 1577 – 1640). Four Studies of a Male Head, about 1617 – 1620, Oil on panel.  Unframed: 25.4 x 67.9 cm (10 x 26 3/4 in.)  Framed: 84.1 x 43.2 x 9.5 cm (33 1/8 x 17 x 3 3/4 in.)  The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles]