Website | Paris Museums Collections portal Everybody loves a good commons drop. All the value of museums and collections’ careful cataloguing and digitisation is released into the public domain: high-resolution images for all to use, in everything from classroom presentations to Etsy prints.
Fourteen major Paris museums have obliged with another major release of more than 100,000 digital images of paintings, drawings and photographs, including works by Rembrandt, Cézanne and Delacroix.
The site has a Creative Commons licence, which is the gold standard, and the digitised images can be directly downloaded in eye-wateringly high resolution.
The website itself, however, feels massively over-engineered, featuring “virtual exhibitions” and thematic selections with lengthy text and poor links back to the catalogue records. A complicated, intricately faceted search function and an excess of “share” widgets make it a slightly overwhelming experience.
Nevertheless, browsing by similar colours is still something you don’t see enough of in collections searches, and the site makes more of an effort to present a truly multilingual experience (French, English and Spanish) than you would find with a similar UK or US project.
Hopefully, the images themselves will find a way into open repositories such as Wikimedia Commons. The true pleasure and value of a project such as this is its contribution to a wider open digital culture of unrestricted access to our common cultural heritage.
Visualisation | The Evolution of European Motorways 1920-2020 This is one for the tarmac nerds, lacking only a Kraftwerk soundtrack to perfect a transportation into the world of Europe’s superhighways.
Hit play and watch the German Reichsautobahn network evolve; Yugoslavia blaze a path with the Brotherhood and Unity Highway; the Preston Bypass bypass Preston; and the proposed Russia Meridian highway that will link Hamburg with Shanghai.
Commissioned to accompany the Victoria and Albert Museum’s Cars exhibition, this is all that an interactive data visualisation should be: a timeline that you can play like a movie, pause and zoom in to learn more, or jump to your favourite motorway year. As elegant as a Mercedes C-class on the A8 to Saint-Tropez.