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Preparing lecture materials on architecture and sculptural program of the Parthenon

Collection Date: 06 Jan 2009
Scholar #1 Info: (if more than one scholar's process is described, copy this set for each scholar)

  • Name: Ann Nicgorski
  • Email:
  • Title: Associate Professor
  • Institution/Organization: Willamette University
  • Field of Study/Creative Endeavor: Art History

Collector Info (can be the same as "Scholar" above):

  • Name: Michael Spalti
  • Email:
  • Title: Associate University Librarian for Systems
  • Institution/Organization: Willamette University

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I'm putting together a PowerPoint for my class on the architecture and sculptural program of the Parthenon.  I can find large groups of good images to use in certain on-line databases - ARTstor, the Library Image Database, Gardner's Image Set.  After that, I might turn to Flickr and Google Image, which, of course, are not search-able according to any standard metadata system, and which may be completely mis-identified, thus finding anything in particular is pure serendipity.  In the process of putting all this together (a big presentation of 99 PPT slides in the end), I will experience certain frustrations related to image quality and metadata.  E.g., I will want to show some ground plans - first of the Akropolis (or Acropolis depending on the source...) and then of the building itself.  For this particular class, I don't want plans that include too much archaeological detail that will just be confusing for beginning students, so I may reject some of what I find on that pedagogical basis.  I may reject other options because the images are too blurry (common problem with maps and plans) and/or not big/high enough in resolution.  Ultimately, I may have to order/scan a plan myself or order one from an on-line vendor (Saskia/Universal).  Then, for another example, I might want to show several views of one particular sculpture from the East Pediment.  This sculpture is known as Figure D.  He is one of the "Elgin Marbles."  He is identified by some scholars as Herakles (or Hercules, if you like the anachronistic Latin form of his name), others call him Dionysos (or Dionysus), while still others might call him Theseus.  We don't know for sure - a common situation with archaeological stuff.  Furthermore, I might be looking for a detail of his back (which is fabulously sculpted).  The metadata in ARTstor is not fine enough to search reliably for something like this (and the same goes for all the other sources).  I would have to just scroll through pages and pages and pages of Parthenon sculpture images hoping to stumble upon it.  Once the presentation is complete, however, I can show it to my class and post it to my class website.  In future years, I will have very little work to do with respect to the PowerPoint, and I can add better images to it at any time I happen to bump into them.

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