The Morgan Library and Museum has launched a new website which offers vastly improved access to its digitised collections. The images of the collection are high quality and can be zoomed in to see fine detail. In many cases the backs of objects have also been photographed. Some objects, such as the ancient seals, have been photographed in three dimensions and can be rotated. As well as an important collection of Rembrandt drawings the Morgan also hold a large number of illuminated manuscripts, music manuscripts and rare books. Some aspects of the search are a bit basic (it is easy to do a keyword search, but more general browsing is challenging), as are the rather stark records, but the press release indicates that this is part of an ongoing process so these will no doubt be updated at some point.
As always it is pleasing to see institutions actually cite ‘better access to collections for scholars and students’ as one of the main benefits of an improved online presence.
You can see the website here: http://www.themorgan.org/
From The Morgan
The updated look for themorgan.org offers a sleek, contemporary design, and also introduces features that make the site more compatible across platforms: mobile, tablet, and desktop computers. The unveiling of the new design coincides with the ten year anniversary of the Morgan’s 2006 expansion, and is the first major makeover since then. Digital initiatives at the Morgan are part of a larger strategic undertaking to expand access to the institution’s holdings. The upgrades to the Morgan’s website represent a significant development for scholars, students, and members of the general public interested in accessing the Morgan’s vast collections. Prior to undertaking digitization initiatives, the Morgan’s collection had been available on a select basis onsite at the museum’s New York headquarters, while some of the works have been published in various museum catalogs. Digitization efforts enable access to the collection from anywhere in the world and includes a zoom feature to study individual works in detail.
In recent years, almost 700 music manuscripts from its extraordinary collection—represented by such masters as Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, and Handel—have been digitized and made available on its website. The museum’s most ambitious undertaking—the digitization of its collection of over 14,500 drawings —began in Fall 2013, and as of today over 95% of this undertaking is complete, including a cache of over 500 Rembrandt prints and etchings. Additionally, the Morgan offers online access to illuminations from 823 Medieval and Renaissance manuscripts (including over 20,000 illuminations) and thousands of highlights from literary and historical manuscripts, rare books, and ancient near eastern seals and tablets, which can be rotated and zoomed. In the past six months, highlights that have been added include the entire collection of the Morgan’s Coptic bindings and the Lindau Gospels.
Looking ahead, the Morgan plans to continue sharing more objects from its vast collections through the website. Collections ranging from early Mesopotamian and Egyptian through GrecoRoman culture, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and beyond, will be further represented on the website. The music manuscripts pages will also be upgraded to provide more download options and improved navigation.