Current Cites

February 2020

Edited by Roy Tennant

Contributors: Leo Robert Klein, Edward Lim Junhao, Nancy Nyland, Roy Tennant

Anonymous. "Smithsonian Releases 2.8 Million Images Into Public DomainSmithsonian Magazine  (25 February 2020)( - In a stunning announcement, the Smithsonian Institution is releasing 2.8 million of its images into the public domain. This of course means that anyone can do anything they want with them. Admittedly, many of these images are of somewhat limited usefulness (for example, individual pages of botanical observations), but many will be very useful for many years to come and for a wide variety of uses. The dedicated search portal includes "data and material from all 19 Smithsonian museums, nine research centers, libraries, archives and the National Zoo." In addition, they promise to release another 200,000 images throughout this year, with more to come as they continue to digitize their content. This is big news indeed. - RT

Caraffa, Costanza, Emily  Pugh, and Tracy  Stuber, et. al."PHAROS: A Digital Research Space for Photo ArchivesArt Libraries Journal  45(1)(January 2020): 2 - 11. ( - Fourteen international research institutes have joined together to digitize more than 20 million images from their art historical photo archives. The consortium, named PHAROS, intends to save "from destruction photographic collections neglected and forgotten in the cabinets and storerooms of many institutions” and provide access to researchers around the globe, but that is only part of the project. They will also have to make decisions about "how to build a digital infrastructure for research in support of art history..." The goal is to create linked open data (LOD) and use it in a British Museum application called ResearchSpace, which was designed to "connect similarly structured data across the web." The third aspect of the project consists of research into the differences between how a computer sees a photograph "based on pixel data" using "computationally-based approaches" versus how a human art historian sees a photograph. This study of "computer vision" or "computational analysis of images" has the potential to create whole new areas in the study of art historical photographs, and reveal insights that will advance "the integration of analogue and digital assets..." - NN

Robison, Mark, Nancy  Fawley, and Ann  Marshall. "‘That Background Knowledge’: What Junior and Senior Undergraduate Transfer Students Need from Their LibrariesJournal of Academic Librarianship  46(1)(January 2020)( - Review of students' ability to use library resources, in this case transfer students at the undergrad level. Anyone lucky enough to deal with students at this level will recognize various characteristics including student focus on a favorite database (eg. ERIC) no matter what the topic or considerable time commitments outside of studies (eg. work, transport). The authors point out positive and not-so positive aspects which they define as 'transfer capital' and 'transfer deficit'. - LRK

Salter, Jim. "Open Source Licenses: What, which, and whyarstechnica  (24 February 2020)( - You know what a license is. You are probably familiar with what open source indicates. Now, try to wrap your head around open-source licenses. This is what this Arstechnica article tries to explain. It’s a great primer for librarians to familiarize themselves with the various copyleft and permissive licenses. This can help navigate questions about whether a chunk of code can be used. Remember Marc Andreessen said back in 2011 that "software is eating the world"! - ELJ