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Cantor art collection to be digitized


This fall, thousands of works in the Cantor Arts Center’s collection will be made available online for the first time. The Cantor staff has worked for five years to produce the internet database of its collections, which will provide access to the entire collection for the Stanford community and general public.

The online database will allow students, faculty and others to view objects from the collection that are not on display in the Cantor facility. According to Allison Akbay, associate registrar at the Cantor, only 2,000 of the Cantor’s 44,000 objects are on display at any one time. With the collection’s digitization, the remaining objects will be easily accessible for the first time.

“We hope this will result in richer exhibits through giving curators a better view of the entire collection, and it will provide more access to students, since this makes the whole collection available to them,” Akbay said.

Akbay also stated that the effort aims to improve the Cantor’s availability to scholars from beyond the Stanford community.

“We also hope this improves access for international researchers, since we want the Cantor to be a center for local, national and international scholarship,” she added.

The current digitization project has been in the works for the last five years and represents a further development of other programs. Two years ago, the Cantor worked alongside the Google Art Project to publish online high-resolution images of 105 objects in the Cantor’s collection.

In many cases, the online images will allow the viewer to see details that are not visible in person. Additionally, the database will provide a work’s background information and allow users to view two images side by side.

While the database will receive its last entries between now and this fall, it can be accessed online currently at the Cantor’s website.


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Michael Gioia was Managing Editor of Opinions from Vol. 250-251; he also previously led the News division. He is from Plano, Texas and studied History and Modern Languages at Stanford. When Michael is not working for The Daily, he can generally be found reading or drinking coffee.