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Choice Recommended Web Sites: Humanities and Fine Arts

Recommended web sites have more description than Outstanding or Highly Recommended sites.

Humanities and Fine Arts Web Sites

Humanities and Fine Arts include : Art, Communication, Drama, Film, History, Languages and Literatures (English, Spanish), and Music; also Religion and Philosophy.

AdViews: A Digital Archive of Vintage Television Commercials
A free digital archive of television commercials from the 1950s to the 1980s, this site provides access to commercials created or collected by the New York advertising agency Benton & Bowles. The archival collection is housed at Duke University's Harman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History and is a collaborative project with the Digital Collections Program at Duke. Currently more than 12,000 commercials are available through this Web site.
A List Apart
An online magazine that covers Web content and development, including design, standards, coding, and accessibility issues. A number of editors run the site and accept submitted articles based on the magazine's stated guidelines. It is a great publication for practitioners, but not for the beginner or casual Web Designer, since some of the article discussions are quite technical.
African American Band Music & Recordings, 1883-1923
from the Library of Congress; the sites 3 brief essays provide a broad overview of the stock arrangements and recordings; collection includes digitized sets of parts for about 200 arrangements, along with pre-1923 recordings of about 100 songs. AV files are in both MP3 and RealMedia.
American Choral Music, 1870-1923
a collaboration of the American Choral Music Directors Association and the Library of Congress
AMC : Greatest Films
written and edited by Tim Dirks; a masterful accomplishment recognized by none other than Roger Ebert as a premiere film site
The Arts Council Collection
This collection holds over 7,500 works of modern and contemporary British art. The Web site offers an introduction to many of these works; each artwork includes basic descriptive information and usually a thumbnail image.
Atlas of Early Printing
University of Iowa Libraries; the Atlas is a teaching tool that offers a graphic depiction of the spread of printing up to the year 1500. Site devotes significant space to description individual copies of particularly books printed in 1490. A list of links (all 40 of which were live as of this review) provides assess to other Web sites about digitized incunabula.
Bachtrack: The World's Best Way to Find Live Classical Music
Operated by a husband and wife music-loving team since 2007, Bachtrack is an ad-supported UK-based site designed for anyone seeking live classical concerts and opera performances worldwide. Basic listings are free, so any company putting on performances anywhere can upload schedules to the central database. The site focuses primarily on the major US, UK, and European orchestras, along with the most important opera houses....The site's layout is user-friendly, with large buttons and clear type.
The Beazley Archive
the premier online source of serious scholarly research in classical art and archaeology; collections consist of Pottery Database, Engraved Gems and Cameos, Sculpture Database, Antiquaria Database, and Inscriptions on Athenian Pottery, c.625-300 BC. Included are a dictionary of terms, bibliographies, an album function (that can be slow) that can retain specific images for users' reference, time lines, and links to related resources.
The Becker Collection: Drawings of the American Civil War Era
650 drawings of the American Civil War era; it features drawings by different artists working for Frank Leslie's Illustrated Weekly Newspaper at that time; ....Although the drawings themselves are stunning, the look of the Web site is plain and boring, with minimal graphics. ....For photographs, users may wish to consult  or Pictures of the Civil War.
Beethoven-Haus Bonn Digital Archives
This is one of the two most important primary source documents archives concerning Beethoven
BFI Screenonline: The Definitive Guide to Britain's Film and TV History
Bibliography of the History of Art—International Bibliography of Art
As of April 2010, the Getty has made the BHA available for free. Searchable through basic or advanced mode (via keywords, subject, artist, author, title, etc.), the database is the most comprehensive tool for Western art history research.
British Cartoon Archive
A Research Center located in the Templeman Library at the University of Kent; web site features a catalogue with over 130,000 images. The primary draw will be for this catalogue; catalogue features some cartoons as far back as the 1790s (e.g. Hogarth); users may display images as JPGs or Flash movies; higher quality images are available for a fee. The Archive assists users with copyright permissions through an online form.
British Women Romantic Poets, 1789-1832
supported by UC-Davis; the browse function on the home page leads to an alphabetical listing of authors, where users may choose to view texts via XML, HTML, or SGML formats.
C. Szwedzicki : The North American Indian Works
The University of Cincinnati Digital Press makes rare illustrated books available in searchable format. Recently the C. Szwedzicki collection was made available as a free Web site containing an introduction by art historian Janet Berlo (Univ. of Rochester) and six volumes of texts containing 364 images of plains and southwestern art that were printed by C. Szwedzicki between 1929 and 1952. The introduction summarizes events in American Indian art in the first half of the 20th century, describing the origin of the books, how the plates were made, and their place in American art.
Catalog of American Portraits: Portrait Search
Smithsonian and the Library of Congress; The site's appearance is stark, with an emphasis on comprehensive data and subject analysis rather than the display of visual information: thumbnails do not expand into larger downloadable images. CAP searches lack visual information beyond the owning collection (useful for those interested in obtaining reproduction rights). NPG searches return a higher number of records with visual information. A work in progress, with new records added regularly, this site is a useful single-stop research tool for finding portraits and for locating contacts in charge of reproduction rights.
CCJ : Committee of Concerned Journalists
Affiliated with the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri School of Journalism and funded by a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the CCJ provides a platform for exploring the recent evolution of journalism in the US and issues facing the profession. The organization's multifaceted Web site includes not only information about training opportunities, networking, and discussion venues, but also original content related to current trends/issues and guidance for those seeking to enter the profession....Though not completely intuitive in terms of navigation, this site will be valuable to those who are interested in exploring ethical issues within the profession and outside influences on and expectations of the profession.
Codex Sinaiticus
This mid-fourth-century codex is the oldest relatively complete manuscript of the Bible and one of the oldest relatively complete extant books. It includes about half of the Hebrew Bible, the Apocrypha, all of the canonical books of the New Testament, the Epistle of Barnabas, and the Shepherd of Hermas.....Images are housed in a small box, which limits viewing. Users may zoom in on them (although not sufficiently for comfortable reading), but manipulating images is awkward. The resolution is adequate, although far short of what scholars might reasonably expect.
Digital Harlem: Everyday Life, 1915-1930
Focuses on information derived from newspapers and Manhattan District Attorney office files, among other sources, about African American residents at the lower end of the socioeconomic ladder.
Digital Images: Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Yale University
Offers hundreds of thousands of high-quality images; formats include high-resolution TIFF, PDF, and print files.
Don Markstein's Toonopedia
the first and still the best hypertext encyclopedia of toons about the U.S. toon scene
Early Modern Resources
an informal hub for free sites on many topics set in the early modern period (c. 1492-1800) in Europe. The content is not closely vetted, so that the quality c an be somewhat uneven. A site with similar scope, but somewhat more heavily edited is Early Modern Resources  at the University of Michigan.
The Editorial Cartoons of J.N. "Ding" Darling
Darling was an American editorial artist and two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize. He was also the founder of the National Wildlife Federation. Though several institutions have collections of Ding Darling cartoons, the present site includes only materials housed in Cowles Library's special collections at Drake....Those interested in Darling can also find his work through the University of Iowa libraries Web site
based at the Univ. of Minnesota and partially funded by the Andrew Mellon Foundation, the National Science Foundation, and the Council on Library and Information Resources; site is easy to use, well designed, and includes no advertising
Exploring 20th Century London
Initially a partnership of four London museums, this Web site now includes digital items from more than a dozen cultural institutions. Its purpose is to make objects from these museums more accessible and to connect these materials to the history of London from 1900 to 1999. The site achieves these objectives.....The majority of records seem to be for visual images, although some oral histories are provided as well. A link to a children's version of the site appears on the home page.
FAIR : Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting
a strong web presence since the late 1990s; its means of communicating its mission have been altered--rather than a print newsletter there is now a blog--and so on. The site can also be searched from any page in either basic or advanced mode; the latter includes any/all keywords, limits by date and publication, and list of categories. One reviewer commented: Though not as entertaining as The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, FAIR's site is more wide-ranging in both topics and sources.
Film Noir Foundation
Film noir must certainly rank as one of the most abundantly discussed film genre on the Web. The Film Noir Foundation's site is an interesting, if not particularly groundbreaking addition to the roster of sites. The foundation itself is a nonprofit labor of love ... The primary mission of the foundation is to encourage the revival and restoration of lost noir treasures, and to generally spread the gospel of hard-boiled cinema.
Focus on Film
supported by the National Archives (UK) and the South East Grid for Learning; provides access to free resources to aid students in evaluating the use of different types of film as historical evidence; The film archive itself, though small, is representative, and covers three time periods: pre-20th century, 1900-45, and postwar to present. Both original footage and historical reconstructions are included; these come from institutions such as the British Film Institute and the British War Museum. A link is provided to additional film clip sources, such as Public Information Films, which is available on the National Archives site. The site as a whole, and the activities in particular, are aimed at students in middle and high school ... but the concepts illustrated mirror the critical thinking skills many US librarians teach undergraduates, so there is some carryover use for entry-level college students.
Foreign Language Videos
intended for use by individuals—not classes—the web site is a collection of short video clips of native speakers of various languages providing samples of their speech related to a variety of daily topics
Gordon Knox Film Collection
Gordon Knox (1906-1992) was a Texan whose work is housed at UNT; the UNT digital library has digitized 67 of of Knox's films. Knox produced works-for-hire for governments and various industrial concerns. The focus and use of such films tends to be specialized, and their effective life-span short....Like most ephemeral film collections--e.g. Internet Moving Image Archive--the Knox collection is a fascinating, wildly diverse cinematic grab bag. Films range from the patriotically rousing The Fortress of the Sky (1943), produced for Boeing Aircraft to publicize the production of its B-17 "Flying Fortress" aircraft, to the amusing The ABC's of Decorating Your Home (1951), a sort of Cold War exercise in Martha Stewartism commissioned by the editors of Better Homes and Gardens.
The HistoryMakers Digital Archive
Between 1999 and 2005, Carnegie Mellon University and The HistoryMakers (Julieanna Richardson, executive director) combined to produce 14,060 stories taken from 700 hours of video about 310 historically significant African Americans. From the famous--Barack Obama (an Illinois state senator when interviewed) and Julian Bond--to the not-so-famous (Gloria Bacon, a physician who established The Clinic in Altgeld, a medically underserved housing project in Chicago, and banking executive Clark Burrus), the archive spotlights African Americans in a variety of fields and professions. About two-thirds of the interviewees are male. The oral interviews all follow the same format, allowing the interviewees great latitude in responding to standard questions.
Hot Docs Doc Library
Docs stands for documentary; this site provides access to a unique library of short documentaries shown at The Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival; although the content is strongly Canadian there are some international films as well. Some technical difficulties pertain. Video streaming works well only when one film is viewed per sitting. Problems arise when viewers switch from one film to another without completing the first—....
Image Urbis: Giuseppe Vasi's Grand Tour of Rome
University of Oregon; the Image Urbis is a companion to the Interactive Nolli Website; specifically it is a geographic database that presents more than 240 engravings from Delle Magnificenze di Rome by Vasi (1710-1782), in the context of the famous and extremely accurate map of Rome by Giambattista Nolli (1701-1756). The site brings together two distinct contemporary approaches to describing 18th-century Rome and sets them in the context of their own time.
International Foundation for Art Research
an attractive well-designed Web site offering access to many critical tools art researchers need to ensure the integrity of purchases and exhibitions.
JEP: Journal of Electronic Publishing
Started in 1995 and published several times a year, JEP is a peer-reviewed, open access journal dedicated to research on the contemporary publishing industry. The site allows for searching and browsing of all issues.
Jerry Beck's Cartoon Research
A well-known animation historian, teacher, compiler, and producer, Beck wrote The Animated Movie Guide and several other books on animation. The central feature of Beck's site is his blog (updated as often as three times a day), Cartoon Brew, which offers a steady stream of well-informed news, thoughtful reviews, trivia, comments, and lots of fun cartoon clips. Both in touch with the current animation world and knowledgeable about the history of cartooning, Beck takes a comprehensive view of animation, including adult-themed materials; accordingly, though the presentation is generally tasteful and discrete, those who assume that cartoons are just for kids will find some surprises here....Aside from the blog, this is not a content-rich site. That said, the blog is well worth a visit, and those inclined to follow it will find the site's other content deserving of a look
Langston Hughes Papers
Beinecke Library, Yale; more than one reviewer has noted that a knowledge of Langston's life and times is necessary in order to use this site to the full.
The Maynard Institute: Diversifying the Face of American Journalism
Especially useful for undergraduates are links to facts, people, and journalism relating to African American history, e.g., diversity training programs in the US, media organizations, journalism resource sites, and grants and fellowships. The site is searchable and easy to navigate.
Media Matters for America
Media bias: is it conservative or liberal? The answer lies in the facts. David Brock founded the Web-based Media Matters for America in 2004 to expose and counter misinformation promulgated by conservative outlets and the Web sites that support them. Media Matters monitors and transcribes not only network and cable television news, but also nationally syndicated talk radio, even reaching down to cover popular local radio pundits and popular blogs. Brock began as a conservative journalist and, in his writings, refers to "the conservative media machine"; he now prefers the term "progressive" for this site.
Mesoamerican Civilizations
Somewhat dated and overly full of ads, the site nevertheless contains much useful information. Among the topics Callahan examines in this extensive study of Aztec, Maya, Mixtec, and Zapotec cultures are history, archaeology, political organization, mathematics, writing systems, religion, and legends.
NAACP : A Century in the Fight for Freedom, 1909-2009
Library of Congress; good interactive timeline along with the usual excellent images and commentary of a LoC exhibit
New York Philharmonic Digital Archives
The New York Philharmonic is noted for innovative outreach initiatives, and its Digital Archives site promotes that legacy. Since 2009, the orchestra has developed this outlet for historical information from the earliest concerts through 1970. The design is consistent with the orchestra's main site, ....
News Frontier Database : Original reporting and data on the digital news terrain
From Columbia Journalism Reviewthis site lists news outlets primarily devoted to "original reporting and content production"——something other than "the web arm of a legacy media entity." Outlets range from the large and well known, such as Politico, to one-person offerings such as The Locust Fork News-Journal. Included are both nonprofit outlets and some for-profit ones such as Bleacher Report.
Open Folklore
American Folklore Society and the Indiana University Bloomington Libraries; Divided into sections titled Books, Websites, Gray Literature, Journals, and Partners, it addresses all areas of scholarly activity. Books are categorized as in-copyright, public domain, and open access. Besides connecting to the Indiana University Libraries collections, Books connects to the Hathi Trust Digital Library, and individual open-access titles.
Opera Web Sites
For the Met History no overall search engine exists, which means browsing in the hopes of finding; nevertheless opera fans will find this site enjoyable. The other sites linked here provide more usability, and in particular much broader scope than Met History. Operabase, for example indexes 30,000 performances, 35,000 artists and 600 opera companies in its database, while OperaGlass takes an in-depth look at Libretti and Source Texts, as well as Discographies and Role Creators. Operissimo specializes in tracking currently playing operas in most of the world's major opera venues. Opera lovers should explore all of the sites mentioned.
A useful source of poems, criticism, literary news, and biographies; the site is maintained by the venerable Poetry Magazine, site includes access to audios and podcasts; Poetry Tool is a nice feature that appears in the right margin of some sections and allows searching by subject category, title, first letter of first line, occasion, and glossary term. Overall a significant number of poets are represented, though the site tends to focus on poets of North and South America, and the Caribbean. also offers a good collection of audio materials.
Ringling Collection: Images of 19th Century Actors and Actresses
this user-friendly collection "traces the history of stagecraft though Shakespearean prints, 18th, 19th and 20th century European and American handbills, posters, heralds, souvenir photographs and prints." Presenting performers from the well known to the anonymous, the 3,800 items are arranged alphabetically by performers' names (the list is very long) and by themes....Most of the images are of excellent quality,....the site clearly sets forth fair use, attribution, and permission requirements. An invaluable supplement to the Library of Congress performing arts collections
Sheet Music Sites
  • The Mutopia Project a volunteer-built Web-based collection of musical scores
  • Petrucci Music Library International Music Score Library Project
  • Sheet Music Consortium  supported by UC-Los Angeles, Indiana University, Johns Hopkins University and Duke University; the goal of the Consortium is to use the Open Archives Initiative: Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH) to create a unified index to a broad group of digitized sheet music collections. In addition to the Consortium's considerable sheet music holdings, the project has so far harvested metadata from the Library of Congress, the National Library of Australia, and the Maine Music Box. A very useful personal log-in feature allows users to create their own virtual collections and to add annotations for future use
  • WIMA : Werner Icking Music Archive
Shots of War: Photo Journalism during the Spanish Civil War
Those researching narrow topics of the Spanish Civil War or the history of war photography will find this site useful as a unique source of primary documents.
Developed by an online media company, SitePoint Solutions (Melbourne, Australia), this is a useful resource for academic social media developers and web site builders. Even at first glance the site demonstrates good Web design. The site makes good use of social media, and the tools it offers will benefit those who are interested in making their social media sites worthy of return visits.
Smarthistory: A Multimedia Web-Book about Art and Art History
Begun as a blog by art historians Beth Harris and Steven Zucker (Fashion Institute of Technology), this site initially provided free audio guides for visitors to the Metropolitan Museum and MoMA. Now an impressive group of scholars contribute content to this free Web site, which functions as a multimedia art history resource and adjunct to college art history survey texts. In addition to receiving a grant from the Kress Foundation, the site has accumulated a number of prestigious awards, including the 2009 Webby Award for best education site and the International Council of Museums' gold prize. Smarthistory has an open-minded approach to the history of art based on the philosophy that dialogue can create disagreement without fear, and that the use of videos and podcasts allows students to concentrate on the image, rather than go back and forth between text and image--a flaw the authors consider inherent to art history textbooks.
Smithsonian Folkways
The establishment of this online site has opened a new chapter in the Smithsonian's distinguished history. Users will find liner notes and audio samples from all musical and spoken word recordings issued by Folkways and its affiliates since Folkways' inception in 1948. For some of the newer recordings, Smithsonian Folkways provides complete audio renditions of selected songs, speeches, and interviews, which one may listen to on a FLAC or MP3 sound-stream. Some short video presentations that use Java are included. Streaming video ethnographies also are available.
Spanish Periodicals and Newspapers: Women's Magazine Digital Collection
This site offers a small sampling of publications for women in Spanish collected by bibliophile Juan Perez de Guzman y Boza. The Dodd Research Center currently makes available 17 titles from the collection published for the more privileged or elite women of 19th-century Spain
State of the News Media 2010
the electronic version of the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism. As one reviewer said, "Not quite a one-stop media shopping site, but useful."
The Swinburne Project
edited by John Walsh, who teaches digital libraries, digital editing, and other humanities technologies at Indiana University, oversees this site, which is critical for those interested in Swinburne, to make sure it is continually updated, expanded, and improved. Thorough and scholarly, the site is marked by great depth of analysis. The pages load quickly, navigation is simple, and the site is searchable in the customary ways (keyword, browse, bibliographic information, title, volume).
What's Out There [American Landscape Architecture before 1976]
from the Cultural Landscape Foundation, a nonprofit, preservation advocacy group founded in 1998. This is an ambitious, comprehensive Web site with a broad educational scope and a great deal of technical sophistication. What's Out There includes a glossary of typological and stylistic terms and an advanced search/browse capability. The advanced search is effortless, allowing queries by designer, design type, landscape style, region, or state.
World Oral Literature Project
University of Cambridge; this is a new repository and clearing house for oral literature projects and collections worldwide. Linguist List maps and other available resources, such as recordings, are included for each language. The site also features extensive links to related projects and initiatives, including other oral literature projects, endangered languages projects, and digital archive and library resources. The World Oral Literature Project shows promise of becoming a go-to site for scholars and students, provided it continues to receive the financial support necessary to develop.
MacWorld AppGuide
see also MacWorld AppGuide : Essential Collections
Writing Center Handouts
This Web site offers users an in-depth look at both the elements and challenges of academic writing. The site addresses common errors, stages of the writing process, and even the forms and conventions of specific disciplines. In terms of breadth, however, the collection does not challenge Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) which has become the standard....the site is still a great resource for writing centers and instructors implementing writing across the curriculum.