Uni's image archives go online to web
Media Release, Wednesday 11 June 2003
Global public access to digitally scanned pictures, photographs and other images in the University of Melbourne's Archives will be launched this week on the world wide web.
The University of Melbourne Archives (UMA) will make the scanned image collections available on the web through membership of PictureAustralia, the image gateway coordinated by the National Library of Australia.
The way is now open to also provide web access through PictureAustralia to the Ian Potter Museum of Art, Grainger Museum, Medical History Museum and other heritage collections at Melbourne.
University Archivist and Head of the Archives Grainger and Special Collections, Mr Michael Piggott, sees Melbourne's membership of PictureAustralia as a significant and valuable contribution to national heritage.
"We are the first Victorian university to join, and the third nationally, following the University of Queensland and James Cook University," he says. "The benefits include access to a massive population of potential inquiries, vastly disproportionate to the searches made of our existing on line images catalogue.
"Sharing our University collections with the wider public has always been an important objective, but even more so in our 150th anniversary year.
"Scans of photos from the UMA's University-related holdings appear, for instance, in a recently published commemorative suite of 150th Anniversary books and the popular 150 Years - 150 Stories feature series in UniNews, as well as on the University's sesquicentenary website."
Mr Piggott says UMA will derive an additional, indirect advantage from its PictureAustralia membership through the boost it will give to the case for work on images in the collection yet to be scanned, described and properly re-housed.
"Almost all the more than 5570 accessions in the Archives' collection include photographs. Some of the richest are from past commercial photographers. They include 80 boxes of images from Adams Studios of Benalla, mostly glass negatives, covering the 1890s to the 1940s, and 15 metres of negatives including portraits, events, landscapes, automobiles and other 1940s-1960s subjects from Collins Street photographer Edwin Adamson.
"In a category of its own is an archive of 12,000 negatives and prints, dating from the early 1970s, by protest photographer John Ellis. The Ellis collection deals with peace and protest, including a good representation of the Vietnam Moratorium protest movement. This will truly enrich the distributed collections. Until now, a search on the name 'Albert Langer', for instance, would have drawn a nil return via PictureAustralia's search engine."
He says that while the volume of images initially available from Melbourne (2800) is just a beginning alongside that of the larger contributors (such as the State Library of Victoria, 174,500) it more than doubles the number of images previously accessible from university collections via PictureAustralia.
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