The Visual Resources Collection (VRC) provides digital images in all areas of visual culture in the Arts and Humanities. The VRC Digital Library contains approximately 300,000 images and grows through faculty requests and general collection development. Faculty are welcome to submit requests for new digital content to be added to this collection. Please contact Robert Carlucci, Manager, Visual Resources Collection to learn more about request procedures or visit us in the Arts Library, 180 York Street, Room B33 on the lower level.
Use of this collection is restricted to current faculty, students and staff of Yale University.
Using the VRC and other Yale Digital Image Collections
Access to the VRC Digital Collection is available through several portals including this page or via the Yale Digital Collections cross-collection search that encompasses content from other Yale collections including Beinecke Rare Books and Manuscripts, the Department of Manuscripts and Archives, the Department of Classics and the Lewis Walpole Library. In addition, a large selection of the VRC collection is available through ARTstor.
Image Search Features
Simple Search operates as a general keyword search, using one or more terms. The Search Results Page includes features to refine your search by criteria such as Creator or Subject Heading. Individual image pages include hypertext metadata and a selection of related images to assist patrons in discovering content. Advanced Search features include “strict/fuzzy” parameters for each metadata field to handle spelling variations or uncertain terminology. A Guided Search allows patrons to navigate the collection broadly using selected criteria such as Creator or Subject Headings. These search and discovery features are designed to assist all Library patrons, from regular users who visit this Web site often to new or infrequent users seeking additional assistance, in locating images.
Image User Tools
With CAS login, patrons have access to advanced tools including a private workspace to collect images from search sessions and means to create and edit multiple groups of images for personal use or to share with other members of the Yale community. Image groups include a slideshow feature for classroom display and a quiz feature for individual study and exam preparation. Large images (1000 pixels) are available, suitable for PowerPoint presentations.
ARTstor, an initiative of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, is a subscription-based digital image resource with more than 1,200,000 images of global art and architecture. The ARTstor Web site offers a variety of features useful for teaching support. In addition to content provided by ARTstor, a selection of the Yale Visual Resources Collection is also accessible through the ARTstor interface. This combined collection total more than 1,500,000 images.
Teaching with Digital Media
The Visual Resources Technology Specialist is available to assist faculty with classroom presentations and strategies for using images in teaching and research. Please contact Carolyn Caizzi to arrange an appointment.
Visual Resources Collection Administration
The VRC is administered jointly under the supervision of Library Access Integration Services (LAIS) and the Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library reflecting the fundamental interconnections between academic content and technology in 21st-Century library services.
History of the Visual Resources Collection
The Visual Resources Collection (VRC) was established in the 1930’s to support the curriculum in the fine arts. Study photographs were purchased from the major European photo vendors including Alinari, Brogi and Anderson. The photograph collection eventually reached more than 190,000 items covering every aspect of global art and architecture with particular strengths in European architecture, sculpture and painting. In the early days of the slide collection, 3.5 x 4 inch lantern slides, a technology invented in 1849, were the standard format used for classroom presentation. By the 1950’s, 35mm color slides began to supplant this mechanism. Over the decades, the slide collection grew to more than 320,000 lantern and 35mm slides with particular strengths in areas of faculty expertise such as Medieval and Renaissance art as well as the arts of Asia. By 2002, the transition to digital technology was underway as new media formats were introduced in the Yale classroom. In 2007, the Office of the Provost provided major funding to digitize 100,000 slides and 30,000 photographs. In less than a decade, the VRC digital image collection has grown to approximately 300,000 images of global art and architecture, one of the largest academic collections in the world.
Accessing the Analog Slide and Photograph Collections
The analog photograph and slide collections were transferred from Street Hall, the former office of the VRC, to the Library Shelving Facility in 2008 and are stored in optimal conditions for long-term preservation. Catalog records for these collections are available in ORBIS and include finding aids to assist patrons in locating materials. Finding Aids are also available in the Finding Aids Database. Please contact Robert Carlucci or Maria Zapata for assistance requesting materials from the analog collections.
Using the Collection Off-Campus
Click the CAS button on the upper left of the page and enter your NetID and password to use digital collections from off-campus. Other library databases (journals, reference resources, etc.) require the use of VPN.