Bravo, Louvre!

All hail museums that do the Right Thing!

Bravo, Louvre! /img/louvre-collections.jpg

The Louvre Museum has made digital versions of almost half a million artworks and published them online. As the Louvre Director Jean-Luc Martinez said, “for the first time everybody can view for free, from any computer, the whole content of the Louvre, including pieces that were just borrowed from other museums, or are stored in the warehouse”.

That’s great. Go Louvre! Especially because…

This is great news because the Louvre did not just take some hundred thousands pictures, dump them all into some website and forget the whole thing. As far as I can see, the main and best artwork to behold and copy, by every other museum is how they did it. To begin with, the Terms of Use and above all REuse of the content of that website are not perfect, but are much better, that is much more open, than those of many other museums.

Besides, every picture in the collection comes with plenty of metadata that make it much easier to find and catalog in any way, including an Archival_Resource_Key (ARK)). The ARK of the Winged Victory of Samothrace, for example, is “ark:/53355/cl010251190”.

ARKs are good!

You may think that ARKs are something that just a professional may care about, but you would be wrong.

ARKs are good for everybody because they are](a) " open, mainstream, non-paywalled, decentralized persistent identifiers that you can start creating in under 48 hours [to] identify anything digital, physical, or abstract:"

Bravo, Louvre! /img/ark-examples.jpg

In plain English, ARKs allow every artist, art student, researcher and so on to freely, easily describe and tag any creative work, in a way that makes it very easy to find, and learn about, by everybody else.

That’s why having ARKs for every object in every museum would be a big deal for every student, and in general for every actual or potential user of every museum of the world. Thanks Louvre for using ARKs.