Google introduced its Art Project website today, which allows users to explore hundreds of works of art from some of the finest museums in the world, all in incredible detail.
Already some journalists and bloggers have commented that this takes away the serendipitous experience of discovering a work of art on their own. As a librarian, I think it will have the opposite effect. I believe that allowing people to virtually explore galleries will draw them into the physical galleries.
Some thought that technology, especially the internet, would be the end of libraries. Why would anyone actually go into the library when everything is available online? But the opposite happened; demand for library services has increased. Libraries are the place to explore new technologies, discover new books and movies, take classes, and have your challenging questions answered.
I think Delawareans get it. I previously blogged about how we worked with the Delaware Public Archives and Government Information Center to make the entire Jackson and Sharp Co. photo collection accessible online.
Our public libraries have also been digitizing some of their great photographs and postcards.
And, unrelated to library-land, the Delaware Art Museum has had an interactive Pre-Raphaelite website up for over 3 years which is similar to Art Project.