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Metropolitan Museum of Art Offers Digital Download of Over 400,000 Artworks

Metropolitan Museum of Art Offers Digital Download of Over 400,000 Artworks

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is committed to making a broad range of digital images of artworks in the public domain widely and freely available for scholarly and academic publication. To assist in navigating the vast image content on this website, the Museum has implemented Open Access for Scholarly Content (OASC). Through OASC, artworks in the Collection section of the website which the Museum believes to be in the public domain and free of other known restrictions have been identified by an icon, images associated with these artworks can be downloaded for license- and cost-free scholarly and academic publication, according to the Terms and Conditions.

What is Open Access for Scholarly Content (OASC)?
The Museum's OASC initiative provides license- and cost-free access to images of artwork in the collection that the Museum believes to be in the public domain and free of other known restrictions for scholarly use in any media which the Museum has identified as on the site. Access to OASC images is direct from the Collection section of the website. This initiative builds upon the groundbreaking collaborative program Images for Academic Publishing (IAP) via Artstor, spearheaded by the Museum in 2007. OASC greatly expands the amount of the Museum's images freely available for scholarly use, and facilitates direct access via the Museum's website.

What is scholarly content?
Scholarly content encompasses scholarly publication in all media and is defined here as the dissemination of ideas and knowledge derived from study or research for educational/cultural purposes. Images reproduced within or on the cover of a scholarly publication relate to the research or the editorial content of the publication. Scholarly publication is not limited to academic institutions or university publishers, since commercial publishers/entities may also produce scholarly publications. Scholarly publication is not restricted by print run. For the purposes of the Museum's license-free Open Access for Scholarly Content (OASC), users are encouraged to make their own assessment. However, all users must carefully review this website's Terms and Conditions prior to downloading or using images or any materials on this website.

What are some examples of scholarly content?
All school and academic work (including theses, dissertations, etc.), conference proceedings, journal articles, essays in Festschrifts, museum exhibition catalogues, non-commercially produced textbooks and educational materials, books published by university presses or the academic/scholarly imprint of commercial publishers, self-published books, and documentary films. All of these examples apply to scholarly publication in any media format (print, electronic, film, etc.).

What is not scholarly content?
Commercial use, publication, or distribution in any media or format is not scholarly content. Some examples include: commercially published general-interest books in print or electronic media; all products, merchandise, (including posters, calendars, notecards, datebooks, mugs, etc.), advertisements, or promotional materials for any services or products in any media format; feature films or documentaries funded by commercial organizations.

How can I determine whether my intended use is scholarly?
For the purposes of the Museum's license-free Open Access for Scholarly Content (OASC), authors, publishers, and other potential image users are encouraged to make their own determination as to whether their intended use is scholarly. Users must carefully review this website's Terms and Conditions prior to downloading or using images or any materials from this website. The Metropolitan Museum of Art does not warrant that all images designated for download as Open Access for Scholarly Content (OASC) are free from rights claimed by third parties; it is the user's responsibility to ensure that there are no restrictions based on third-party rights. The Museum assumes no liability for the user's use of these images if a third party makes an infringement claim.

How can I identify the Open Access for Scholarly Content (OASC) on the Met's website?
Look for this icon below images in the Collection section of the website to identify images that are part of the OASC initiative.

How do I download an image designated for Open Access for Scholarly Content (OASC)?
Look for this icon Open Access for Scholarly Content (OASC) Icon below the image in the Collection section of this website, then click on the download icon next to it Download Icon to save the image to your desktop or device.

Why are some images not available through Open Access for Scholarly Content (OASC)?
Most typically, for one or more of the following reasons:

  • the work is still under copyright, or the copyright status is unclear;
  • privacy or publicity issues exist;
  • the work is not fully owned by the Museum;
  • contractual restrictions specified by the artist, donor, or lender preclude open access; or
  • a quality digital image of the work does not yet exist.

Why are there no images for some artworks in the Collection section?
In some instances, restrictions-such as copyright, privacy, or contractual agreements-may prohibit the display of an image on the website. In other instances, new photography or new scanning must be done before a digital image can be posted on the website. The Museum is constantly adding new high-quality images to the website, and many of these new images will be available through Open Access for Scholarly Content (OASC). Image users are encouraged to visit the website frequently to view new image content.

What is the difference between Open Access for Scholarly Content (OASC) and Images for Academic Publication (IAP) via Artstor?
Open Access for Scholarly Content (OASC) facilitates access to the widest range of images of artworks in the Museum's collection directly from the Museum's website. OASC images are JPEGs. OASC does not require users to register or log in. The Museum also contributes selections of images of artworks from its collection to the Images for Academic Publication (IAP) program hosted by the Artstor Digital Library. The IAP program provides another option for obtaining free images for academic and scholarly publication. Metropolitan Museum IAP images are TIFFs. Authors at participating Artstor institutions can access these images directly through the Artstor Digital Library; others may request temporary access to IAP. Temporary access to IAP requires a user email so a login and password can be issued.

What if I need an image for commercial publication or use?
To request an image for commercial use, or for any use other than the authorized usage specified in the Terms and Conditions, contact Art Resource. Art Resource acts as the Museum's primary agent for the worldwide distribution and fulfillment of licensing requests for the Museum's images. As the Museum's agent, Art Resource will provide (when possible) quality digital images made by Museum staff. A fee may be charged depending on the nature and type of the proposed use and the availability of photography of the images requested. All requests for new scanning or new photography are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Upon approval, additional fees will apply. New photography will require a minimum of six weeks.

To request Museum images via Art Resource, please use the image request form. Instructions are included on the form, which goes directly to Art Resource once submitted. (Please note: Users are encouraged to review the Terms and Conditions, as well as theOASC and IAP program guidelines prior to contacting Art Resource.)

What if an image I need for scholarly purposes is not available through Open Access for Scholarly Content (OASC) or Images for Academic Publication (IAP)?
Contact Art Resource.

Are all images designated for download via Open Access for Scholarly Content (OASC) suitable for publication?
Images on the Museum's website are made available in a range of sizes and resolutions, and represent the evolution of digital imaging standards. The Museum is constantly creating and adding new high-quality images to the website, and many of these new images will be included in Open Access for Scholarly Content (OASC). Most OASC images will be suitable for most types of publication. Users are responsible for making their own assessment, and are advised to do so immediately after downloading the image (especially for print publication). The following guidelines are provided to assist users in making their image assessments:

When determining the suitability of a digital image for reproduction in a print publication, there are several key factors to consider: resolution, pixel dimensions, and the intended size of the printed output. The following table provides some typical output sizes and the recommended dimensions for a publication-ready image at 150 ppi and 300 ppi-the most common resolutions for images available from the Museum's website.

Print Output Size
(inches)
Resolution
Pixel Dimensions
(minimum)
8 x 10 300 (ppi) 2400 x 3000
150 (ppi) 1200 x 1500
4 x 6 300 (ppi) 1200 x 1800
150 (ppi) 600 x 900

Though some images available via Open Access for Scholarly Content (OASC) may not meet the above requirements, this does not necessarily preclude them from publication at smaller sizes. A useful formula in determining the maximum print size of any digital image is as follows:

Digital Image Print Size

Note that image resolution is only a factor in determining print output. For digital purposes, the pixel dimensions of an image are the only measurements that determine display size.

What if an OASC image that I download for my scholarly publication is not of suitable quality for my publication needs?
Contact Art Resource.

Can I download an image with the OASC designation for personal use, for use in a lecture, or for other educational purposes?
Yes, OASC images and other images on the Museum's website can still be downloaded according to the authorized uses specified in the Terms and Conditions. In addition, digital images of selected works of art from the Museum's collection may be licensed by educational institutions for study and presentation purposes from Scholars Resource.

What does "public domain" mean?
A work is in the public domain if it is not protected by copyright. A work in the public domain may be ineligible for protection, its protection may have expired, or it may have been placed in the public domain by its creator. Works in the public domain may be freely used without permission of the former copyright holder. Any statement on the public domain status of a work is made by the Museum in good faith. The Metropolitan Museum of Art does not warrant that all of the images designated for download as Open Access for Scholarly Content (OASC) are free from rights claimed by third parties. It is the user's responsibility to ensure that there are no restrictions based on third-party rights. The Met assumes no liability for the user's usage of these images if a third party makes an infringement claim.

Additional resources for information on copyright and public domain terms and definitions:
U.S. Copyright Office
Cornell University

How should I cite and credit an OASC image that I have downloaded from the Met's website?
All the information necessary for proper citation of an OASC image is available on theCollection page for that object. Please use the following credit: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, followed by the specific information identified as the "Credit Line" on theCollection page for each work of art. The citation must also include the URL www.metmuseum.org. You may not suggest or imply the Museum's endorsement of your publication or project, nor use the Museum's trademarks without permission. Consult theTerms and Conditions page for additional information.

Can I use a detail of an image from Open Access for Scholarly Content (OASC) in my scholarly publication?
Yes, but the image should be identified as a detail in the accompanying image caption or credit.

Can I manipulate the OASC image downloaded for use in my scholarly publication?
Manipulation to further idea(s) presented in your publication (e.g., overprinting an arrow to make a point, or adding missing sections of a fragmented artwork based on research) is permitted.

What if my publisher requires a license or written confirmation that I may use an OASC image in my scholarly publication?
Separate or individual license agreements will not be issued for Open Access for Scholarly Content (OASC). Please consult the Terms and Conditions page. If a license is required, contact Art Resource and request the image for a fee.

If I previously licensed an image that is now available under the Open Access for Content Publication (OASC), do I need to request permission to reuse the previous image?
If the reuse is scholarly, please download the Open Access for Scholarly Content (OASC) image from the Met's website for use according to the current Terms and Conditions. If the reuse is for a commercial publication or use, contact Art Resource atrequests@artres.com.

Do I need to send a gratis copy of the scholarly publication in which I have used an OASC image?
The Museum would very much appreciate receiving a gratis copy of any scholarly publication reproducing OASC images, but it is not required. Print copies can be mailed to:

The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Thomas J. Watson Library (OASC)
1000 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10028


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