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"Open Access" for Yale's vast cultural heritage collections

George Stubbs, Zebra, 1763, oil on canvas, Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection. From the collections of Yale University (public domain) Yale University announced a new "Open Access" policy that gives free access to online images of millions of objects housed in Yale's museums, archives, and libraries. More than 250,000 images are already available through a newly-developed a collective catalog.

The final goal is to make high quality digital images of Yale's vast cultural heritage collections in the public domain openly and freely available. As works in these collections become digitized, the museums and libraries will make those images that are in the public domain freely accessible.

Only the collections of the Peabody Museum of Natural History encompass over 12 million specimens and objects in 11 curatorial divisions, from anthropology to vertebrate zoology, while the University holds world-renowned art collections from antiquity to the present and is also home to the world's seventh largest library system, with over 10 million volumes and countless manuscripts and documents in 18 libraries.

"With this pioneering open access policy, Yale reminds us that with any great academic collection comes a great responsibility: to share our cultural heritage openly in order to advance scholarship not only on campus but around the world," noted Max Marmor, president of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, which encourages teaching, learning and scholarship in the history of art.

Here is a slideshow sampling of digitized images from Yale's collections. [13may11]

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